Karliczek: We want to be at the cutting edge of 6G

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Press release: 140/2021: BMBF to fund the establishment of four research hubs for research into 6G technology of the future with up to 250 million euros

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has selected four hubs across Germany for research into 6G, the technology of the future. Starting in August 2021, the participating scientists will advance research on the upcoming 6G mobile communications generation. Each 6G research hub is being created under the coordination of the Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Open6GHub), the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI (6G-RIC), the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (6GEM) and the Technical Universities of Dresden/ Munich (6G-Life). A total of around 50 research partners from science and industry are involved in the four hubs, laying the foundation for the 6G research initiative in Germany launched by the BMBF.
Commenting on the selection decision, Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek said:
“6G will be the mobile high-performance data technology of the future and will revolutionize our communications once again in the next decade. In this context, 6G is expected to form the central nervous system of our connected lives as early as 2030, enabling data to be transmitted more than 100 times faster than with 5G, while at the same time offering greater energy efficiency and resilience.
With the 6G research hubs, we are now taking this major technological leap toward the next sixth generation of mobile communications. In this way, we also want to lay the technological foundations for 6G and its application here in Germany today. Our digital future and our control over the data transmitted in the network depend crucially on our being at the forefront of the development of communications technologies right from the start. We need to be technologically sovereign in this area in particular, so that we do not become dependent on others.
As a central anchor point for 6G research in Germany, the research hubs that have now been selected will pool expertise and also drive rapid transfer to applications. They are thus a first important milestone on the way to a 6G innovation ecosystem in Germany. We are supporting this with substantial funds from the German government’s Future and Economic Stimulus Package: up to 250 million euros will go toward setting up the four 6G research hubs. Further measures under the 6G initiative will follow this year.
I am certain that the 6G research hubs will generate numerous innovations for the communications technologies of the future and train the experts of tomorrow. They give us a unique opportunity to become world leaders in the next generation of mobile communications, 6G.”


The 6G initiative is a key part of the recently published research program on communications systems, which will see the BMBF invest up to 700 million euros in funding for innovative communications technologies over the next five years.

6G Research Hubs:

The 6G research hubs build on scientific excellence. Innovations for the communications technologies of the future are to emerge from research alliances between outstanding research institutes and universities. The aim is to establish collaborations in which research institutes and universities work together in the field of 6G.
This involves not only wireless transmission, but also fiber-optic-line based networks. For this reason, the 6G research hubs will pool outstanding expertise from both worlds across the board.
Experts from all technology levels will be involved in the research networks: The application of new materials and the development of components such as antennas and amplifiers will be addressed, as will complete modules, e.g. radio cells, and software for 6G components. In combination, the research hubs represent the research landscape on 6G technologies in Germany very well, so that they can integrate all important players in the future 6G ecosystem as central instances.

The research hubs in detail:


The research hub “Digital Transformation and Sovereignty of Future Communication Networks (6G-life)” will drive cutting-edge research for future 6G communication networks with a focus on human-machine collaboration. To this end, 6G-life provides new approaches to sustainability such as new information-theoretical approaches to decouple the relationship between data volumes and energy consumption as far as possible. In 6G-life, the partners also want to significantly stimulate industry and the start-up landscape in Germany through positive showcase projects and thus sustainably strengthen digital sovereignty in Germany.
Project coordination: Dresden University of Technology/ Technical University of Munich


The hub “6G Research and Innovation Cluster (6G-RIC)” pursues the goal of developing mobile communications systems with open interfaces across all technology boundaries. In addition to the actual technology development, the focus is on setting up a high-performance test infrastructure. The test infrastructure is intended to enable the testing of new technology components under realistic and open conditions in order to accelerate direct exploitation and support the establishment of a new ecosystem in the medium term.
Project coordination: Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI


Researchers in the “6G Research Hub for Open, Efficient and Secure Mobile Communications Systems (6GEM)” are developing a holistic 6G system – from hardware to software – that provides a flexible network infrastructure. The goal is to guarantee resilient, adaptive system operation with extremely low latency and maximum reliability. These newly developed technologies will be used to enable promising future applications such as safe road traffic, port logistics, intralogistics, rescue robotics and the digital operating room by means of digital twins.
Project coordinator: Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University Aachen


The “Open 6G Hub” designs a holistic 6G system that meets the requirements of users and society after 2030. The goal is to provide contributions to a global 6G harmonization process and standard in a European context that takes into account German interests in terms of societal priorities while strengthening business competitiveness and technological sovereignty as well as Germany’s and Europe’s position in the international competition for 6G. Initially, the project partners involved are looking at application scenarios in the networked factory, rural areas and agriculture.
Project coordinator: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH (DFKI).

6G Research Initiative:

The BMBF’s funding measure “6G Research Hubs; Platform for Future Communication Technologies and 6G” is part of the BMBF’s 6G Initiative as part of the German government’s Future and Economic Stimulus Package. With its research on 6G, Germany is setting itself the goal of assuming a leading role as a technology provider among the world’s leaders and helping to shape technological change at an early stage. This also contributes to the implementation of the German government’s High-Tech Strategy 2025.
The funding measure consists of two parts: the 6G research hubs and the “Platform for Future Communication Technologies and 6G” (6G Platform). The latter is intended to strengthen the networking of players and bundle 6G activities in the future. The 6G platform is to act as an umbrella project from which development is continually driven.
Further support measures for the 6G initiative are already being planned to ensure the rapid transfer of 6G technology into innovative products as the next step. These funding measures are also to be published before the end of 2021.

BMBF Press release: Karliczek: Wir wollen bei 6G an der Spitze sein (June 29, 2021;  available in German)