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What gets Austria going II?

1. December 2010

Commitment to innovation and above average investments in research and development has made the electrical and electronics industry in Austria a power to reckon with. In the second part of our ongoing segment on the leading industrial sectors in Austria, the Austrian Trade Commission will discuss the electrical and electronics industry

The contribution of the electrical and electronics industry to the Austrian economy has been commendable. The 2008 report of Association of the Austrian Electrical and Electronics Industries (FEEI) goes on to say” Like artists, entrepreneurs have an obligation to innovate. Both are creators, or innovators. Their main task is not to invent something new but to create innovations by reinterpreting the old or the familiar and/or placing it in a new context(Boris Groys). Thus the result of innovations is something “novel” that is markedly different from the previous state. This novelty must be recognised, must be consciously perceived. The novelty ultimately consists in the fact that ends and means
are connected in a form that was previously unknown(Jürgen Hausschildt)
Constant renewal is therefore the lifeblood of both business and art. Whether in the form of continuous further development of products, processes or structures; through the modernisation of standards; or by the use of new configurations, new materials or new technical levels. New values are created through innovation – in business as well as in art and culture.”

It is this innovation that the electrical and electronics industry boasts of. On an average, 80% of EEI companies regularly bring innovative products to market or implement noticeably improved processes which have major effects on the Austrian economy.
But innovations alone does not make the electrical and electronics industry the second largest industrial employer in Austria, with about 300 industrial companies and around 57,000 employees. Another significant reason for the impressive success of the electronics industry in Austria is the above average investments devoted to research and development. It is these investments that has led several multinational companies such as Alcatel Lucent, Hewelett Packard to Siemens to set up their international R & D competence centres as well as production plants to manufacture quality products in Austria.
The electrical and electronics industry accounts for 34 per cent of all R& D investments carried out by Austrian industry. Some 7000 research and development specialist ensure that companies such as Alcatel or Infineon Austria have selected Austria as the strategic hub for their R & D activities.
Other initiatives taken by Austria should also be taken into account. The Austrian province of Burgenland intends to strongly expand its work in the field of optoelectronics over the next years. Burgenland has already set up its own technology centre in Jennersdolf, located in the south of province. At Present, three companies conduct research and work in daylight lighting systems, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and traffic lighting systems. The focus of the investment drive will be the promotion of optoelectronics research and development.