The Robert Bosch Stiftung Hones Its Strategy: Three Social Challenges in Focus
Stuttgart, January 19, 2017 – In light of the significant challenges facing the world, the Robert Bosch Stiftung made changes to its strategic direction in 2016 and concentrated its work on three focus areas. Specifically, these are Migration, Integration, and Participation; Social Cohesion in Germany and Europe; and Future-Oriented Living Environments. During the past year, the Foundation spent around 107,9 million euros on charitable purposes.
"We asked ourselves the question of which social challenges we, as one of the large European foundations, need to take on and which approaches and methods are effective in doing so," says Joachim Rogall, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Uta-Micaela Dürig, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, adds: "With these three focus areas, we are addressing significant and relevant topics. With our collective experiences and knowledge from our traditional areas of support, we can make a sustainable contribution in these focus areas."
The two Chief Executive Officers presented the new strategic direction of the Foundation yesterday – January 18, 2017 – at the Robert Bosch Stiftung New Year’s reception in Berlin. As part of this, they also took a look back at the positive work done by the Foundation in 2016.
Enabling Integration – Strengthening Solidarity
One example of the Foundation’s focus on larger social questions was its commitment in regards to flight and refugees. At the beginning of 2015, even before the great waves of refugees, the Robert Bosch Stiftung convened the Expert Commission to Consider a Realignment of Refugee Policy under the chairmanship of Armin Laschet, deputy federal chairman of the CDU and former state integration minister in North Rhine-Westphalia. In spring of 2016, the commission published a total of 99 recommendations for reform in Germany’s refugee policy. The results of the work done over the course of a year by the Robert Bosch Expert Commission were presented and discussed at a forum together with German Federal President Joachim Gauck. Some significant ideas were even integrated into the integration legislation that has since come into effect. Moreover, the Foundation has supported various practical model approaches that demonstrate how social cohesion can be strengthened in communities and how refugees can be allowed to take part in education, society, and culture.
Increased Commitment in Africa
In 2016, the Foundation expanded its commitment in Africa, a continent where many global problems are particularly prevalent and pervasive. At the same time, rapid economic growth and developments in the sciences and in research also give the young generation hope for change. Through its work, the Foundation hopes to contribute to the improvement of prospects in these regions. To this end, the Foundation held a global scientific conference in Africa for the first time in March of last year together with the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), its African partner organization. The objectives of the Next Einstein Forum are to make the enormous potential of African researchers more visible, to establish Africa as a place for science on an international level, and to provide impetus for the development of the continent.
For More Quality Schools and Better Education
Education has been a core subject for the Robert Bosch Stiftung for more than 30 years. Its main goal in this field is ensuring that young people have fair starting conditions regardless of their background or social status. To do so, the Foundation develops and supports projects that serve to protect and further develop the quality of the school and child care system. One such project that has been able to provide especially sustainable impetus in this regard celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2016: The German School Award provides recognition for schools that are doing excellent work – regardless of location and size, financial means, and composition of the student body. Over the last ten years, the competition has encouraged plenty of imitation, which has in turn led to a movement of quality schools. The German School Academy taps this potential by using practical development opportunities to make the experiences of the currently more than 60 prize-winning schools available for other schools and private school operators.
Additionally, in 2016 the Robert Bosch Stiftung created the Forum on Digitizing Education along with five other foundations. The forum brings together experts from the worlds of industry, science, and administration so that they can make their experiences regarding the digital transformation useful for as many other educational institutions as possible.
For a Better Health Care System
Providing appropriate care for people with chronic ailments is one of the main challenges facing the health care sector today. Over the coming years, the number of people with chronic and multiple ailments will continue to rise. At the same time, the number of trained caregivers is decreasing, especially in regions with weak infrastructure. This is why the Foundation – with its new PORT – Patient-Oriented Centers for Primary and Long-Term Care program – supported eight initiatives in the past year in the development of concepts for local health care centers. These are intended to ensure the comprehensive basic care for the population of a given region, as well as the improved care of people with chronic ailments – all from a single source. In 2017, a jury of experts will select up to four recommendations from the concepts compiled, which will then be turned into model PORT health care centers over the next five years.
The number of cancer diagnoses is constantly on the rise, which is why – together with the Robert Bosch Hospital (RBK) and the Bosch Group – the Foundation decided last year to form an alliance against cancer. One central component of this is the new RBTC cancer research center at the RBK, which is a joint undertaking with the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum Heidelberg (DKFZ). The Foundation supports the organization of the RBCT with funding that goes beyond the existing endowment of the RBK for medical research projects: a total of 24 million euros will go towards targeted cancer research through 2020.
Impressive Evidence of Civic Commitment
In many areas of our society, citizens are increasingly taking responsibility, particularly in places where government institutions reach the limits of what they can achieve. These citizens play an active role in shaping their environment, help their fellow citizens, and donate their precious time to do so. Increasing this democratic involvement has been one of the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s main pursuits since its founding. The Land Reclaimers – Shaping the Future Locally program is a prime example of this. At the beginning of December, the Foundation accepted 20 new initiatives into the program that will receive a total of up to one million euros in funding over the next two years. Behind these local citizen projects are committed people from eastern Germany who want to improve the quality of life in their regions using unconventional ideas. Since 2013, the Foundation has already provided support for more than 50 projects from more than 1,000 applications.
Cohesion in Europe
In light of the flood of migration and growing populism in Europe, spaces are needed that enable constructive exchange about the future of the continent. In this context, the Foundation put on the program focus Europa21 in 2016 together with the Leipzig Book Fair: as part of salon discussions, dramatic readings, and author talks, writers, scientists, journalists, artists, and representatives of civil society from various European countries took on the question of whether, and how, cohesion in Europe can be improved in the future.
In addition to the “reprint” of the book fair focus area Europe21, the Foundation will publish the study titled “Contested Legitimacy” in spring of 2017 together with its partner Chatham House. Currently, research is being conducted in ten countries on why people view the European Union with skepticism or even reject it entirely. Moreover, the Foundation will also launch a strategic partnership in the spring with the renowned American think tank Brookings Institution. Together, they will tackle topics related to transatlantic politics and cohesion in Europe. The objective of the Transatlantic Initiative of the Brookings Institute and the Robert Bosch Stiftung is to establish reliable networks between the United States and Europe and to submit recommendations for some of the most urgent political challenges of our time.
Innovative Structures and Impact-Oriented Alumni Work
In order to more effectively carry out their work and make even better use of their employees’ potential, the Robert Bosch Stiftung modernized and further developed its internal processes and structures in the past year. Additionally, the Foundation established the International Alumni Center gGmbH (iac Berlin) in December 2016. The new company will commence operations as of January 2017. iac Berlin sees itself as a competence center for impact-oriented alumni work that brings together players in the transformation across all sectors. iac Berlin will build up and coordinate the Bosch Alumni Network on behalf of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.