In which Ways do Universities React to New Technologies? The Case of Photovoltaics
Universities can be conceived as actors in regional innovative systems with the functions to make available new knowledge for a region, to contribute to the human capital formation by teaching, and to the extension of the knowledge by research. These functions are in particular important concerning the adaptation of new technologies, e.g. photovoltaics. 89 German universities – amongst them 65 universities of applied sciences – meanwhile offer 171 full-time study courses with a degree oriented to photovoltaics. Each federal state has at least one university location offering such degrees. A certain spatial concentration of courses can be shown for Saxony, for the Ruhr Area and for the Rhine Main Region. Almost 90% of the degrees are offered by faculties of engineering. 43% of the universities with degrees in photovoltaics have successfully applied for research grants from the photovoltaics research programs of the federal government. These numbers show a spatial concentration of research in the South whereas the photovoltaics industry is concentrated in the East of Germany. This distribution indicates that the research opportunities tied to the photovoltaics industry are not in the Eastern part of Germany. Further research will have to pay more attention to the role of research institutes.