Friday, January 26, 2007

Germany Boosts Research in Fight Against Terror

Germany plans to fund a multifaceted program for civil security research, to better position the country in the booming security-technology market.

Germany plans to earmark 123 million euros ($160 million) in the next four years for training and research in civil security.

Currently, Germany is one of the most secure countries in the world, Research Minister Annette Schavan noted. Further development of security technology aims to help it stay that way.

"We want to tap into the market for security technology and services," she said on Wednesday. "We want to promote the competitiveness of German companies, and we aim to become leaders in some specific security technologies.

Fast-growing market

The world security-technology market is growing at a rate of around 7 percent a year, and German companies are well positioned for the market, Schavan said. In Germany alone, sales reach some 10 billion euros per year.

In agreeing to earmark the R&D funds on Wednesday, the cabinet signaled its aim to improve networking between business, research and security agencies.

For example, the money could go toward helping various disciplines within the security field put their technologies together into a single product, therefore getting a boost in the world market, Schavan said.

Another aspect of the program is to help protect transportation and energy providers from terror attacks. And of course, the plan hopes to make civil security more effective for individual German citizens.

Benefits of technology

"Dogs cannot be trained to detect all dangerous materials," Schavan said. "They can't detect them from a distance, and they can't get around in subway shafts, for example. We want to develop electronic 'noses' that will be able to detect poisons, explosives, biological weapons and nuclear agents."

Because the term "security" covers a broad range of issues, including terrorism, criminality, and natural catastrophe, various ministries will be invited to bid on the funds, Schavan said. Bidding processes will begin in March.

Nina Werkhauser (jen)

Deutsche Welle 01/2007


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