International network: monitoring and evaluation report 2022-2023

The Scottish Government's international network monitoring and evaluation reports for the financial year from April 2022 to March 2023.


Context for 2022/23

The Scotland in Germany Network is a partnership between the Scottish Government (SG) and Scottish Development International (SDI) working towards strengthening Scotland’s political, economic and cultural links with Germany. Team Germany consists of 3 FTE members of SG staff in Berlin, and 10.8 FTE SDI staff, in Düsseldorf (9) and Berlin (1.8). Berlin-based staff work on the FCDO platform.

In Germany the reporting year was marked by Russia's war on Ukraine, concerns about energy supplies, ongoing COVID-19 infections and high inflation. Germany welcomed over a million people fleeing war in Ukraine. Children were integrated into schools and nurseries while adults were able to access the labour market. Local authorities worked with increasing urgency to find emergency accommodation as numbers grew.

Over course of the year Germany managed to end decades of reliance on Russian fossil fuels, including coal (down from c. 40% of total supply), oil (down from c. 40%) and gas (down from c. 60%), by embarking on a rapid drive to fill gas storage facilities, reduce public gas consumption by 20%, expedite the construction of new Liquid Natural Gas import terminals and conclude international gas supply agreements. It also brought German subsidiaries of Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom under state control and temporarily rebooted mothballed coal power plants.

With inflation soaring to over 10% driven by high energy and food prices, a series of government relief measures aimed to support citizens, including the introduction of a monthly 9 euro ticket for public transport across Germany in the summer months, subsequently superseded by a permanent 49 euro ticket offer.

Despite inflationary pressures, many of Germany’s major DAX companies saw sales and profits rise. However, the UK dropped out of Germany’s top ten trading partners for the first time, down from 5th place in 2016, and was ultimately displaced from the top ten in 2023 by German trade with Czech Republic.


Long-term engagement and the strong working relationships built with a number of German regional governments in the previous reporting year generated a steady stream of ministerial and parliamentary delegations from Germany to Scotland, with a particular focus on Scotland’s hydrogen sector. While extremely welcome, this created pressures on teams in Germany and Scotland in terms of advising on and developing bespoke visit programmes and supporting the increasing number of international ministerial engagements. Dedicated resource for supporting inward missions to Scotland, in particular with a thematic focus on renewables and hydrogen, may be required to service this growing demand from Germany in future.


  • 33 Ministerial engagements
  • 3 Statements of Intent
  • 10 Trade Missions to Germany
  • 11 Inward Missions from Germany supported
  • 17 Cultural Events
  • 11 events or activities in support of Climate Objectives
  • 30 events or activities in support of Inward Investment
  • 32 events or activities in support of International Trade
  • 7 events or activities in support of Research & Innovation
  • 21 events or activities in support of Scotland’s Reputation
  • 25 events or activities in support of Scotland’s Interests


Much of the Germany team’s media engagement in the reporting year focussed on showcasing Scotland’s distinctive cultural offer with the strategic aims of helping Scottish artists and festivals to get back into the international spotlight after the Covid-19 pandemic, and developing the emerging German market for contemporary Scottish music. Media successes included:

  • Jun 2022: Media coverage of a “Scotland Special” at Rudolstadt Folk Festival , facilitating participation by BBC Scotland in the European Broadcasting Union coverage of the festival
  • Sep 2022: Feature on Scottish bands placed in German music magazine “Folker”
  • Dec 2022: An interview and live session with Orkney band Fara on Deutschland Radio
  • Dec 2022: An interview on Scotland’s music festivals and contemporary music scene with the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture on Deutschland Radio
  • 3,703 Twitter followers as at 31 March 2023 – 222 new followers
  • 2,098 likes and 631 retweets over the year
  • 268,500 Twitter impressions over the year
  • 3.6% Twitter engagement rate
  • 2 ministerial interviews in German media
  • 3 national radio interviews
  • 330 Scottish Interest articles in German media – 33 of which proactive
  • “Friends of Scotland” Newsletter sent to c. 1000 stakeholders and diaspora/affinity diaspora

Case study: Showcase Scotland Expo

Working closely with Showcase Scotland Expo, a programme of events aimed to further the live export opportunities for Scottish based artists in the genres of folk, traditional, Scots, Gaelic, world and acoustic music, as well as promote Scotland’s festivals in Germany and forge relationships with overseas music trade events. The programme included:

  • Support to and participation in “The Visit 2022” - an inward mission music for music industry delegates from Germany and other Northern European countries to Scotland;
  • A “Scotland Special” event at the 2022 Rudolstadt Festival, Germany’s largest Folk, Roots and World Music festival, as part of its 2022 country focus on Scotland;
  • Launch of CEÒLAS: Scottish Music Nights in Germany around St Andrew’s Day, with the aim for this to become a regular touring concert series showcasing contemporary Scottish bands;
  • Launch of a German-language website providing details of Scottish bands touring in Germany.

New German-language website now provides a one-stop shop for details of Scottish artists touring in Germany. Website promoted extensively e.g. via radio interviews, “Friends of Scotland” newsletter, and invitations to events;

Contemporary Scottish artists showcased to German music industry and festival delegates through a programme of Showcase concerts in Scotland, including at the Orkney Folk Festival, leading to tour bookings in 2023;

Interview in German and Live Session with Orkney band Fara was broadcast to a nationwide audience on national radio on a popular cultural affairs programme;

Inaugural CEÒLAS: Scottish Music Nights concert with leading Scottish bands was attended by audience of c.120, including media, culture and music industry representatives;

Interest in Scotland’s artists and distinct cultural offer developed with cultural and music print and radio journalists, and with music promoters and cultural venues throughout Germany.

Mutually beneficial partnership with Showcase Scotland in support of cultural exports: “The aim of increasing Scotland’s visibility through cultural activities is mutual and we have been able to support each other’s work in a way that has not only enhanced, but increased activity. The close working relationship between the Hub and Showcase Scotland Expo has meant that additional government activities across Germany have also been able to programme artists already touring in the nation, again bringing mutual benefit.”

International Trade

Germany is Scotland’s 2nd highest priority country for trade, with opportunities for exchange and collaborative working in particular in the areas of climate change and low carbon, renewable energy, hydrogen and green technologies, industry 4.0, technology, space and life sciences. Trade successes in the reporting year included:

  • Sep 2022: Simple Online Healthcare based in Glasgow expanded into Germany following the acquisitions of the Kapsel and Dr Felix brands from Stark Healthcare. Kapsel provides primary care services across Germany.
  • Nov 2022: Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen, Europe’s largest B2B event for the Space industry, was utilised as an opportunity to highlight Scotland’s end-to-end space industry. 18 space firms from Scotland were supported in attending the exhibition and presented at a bespoke event Scotland’s full space value chain and capabilities to over 100 international delegates. A Scotland networking reception provided a platform for the international launch of the Scottish Sustainable Space Roadmap, with a German press release.
  • Feb 2023: AccelerateHER Virtual Mission to Germany, supported by SDI and Scottish Government, assisted nine Scottish companies led by female entrepreneurs seeking to access the German market, with one company supported in applying to a German Innovation Fund.
  • 152 companies supported
  • 85 trade opportunities identified in Germany
  • £181,700,000 forecast international sales in Germany as a result of SDI support

Case study: Minister-led Trade Mission to WindEnergy Hamburg Conference

WindEnergy Hamburg hosts more than 1,400 exhibitors annually, attracting 35,000 visitors from 48 countries. It focuses on major issues facing the international wind energy sector and provides a platform for planners, manufacturers, equipment suppliers, financiers and services providers to present innovative solutions in wind energy. In 2022 the main conference, opened by the Federal German Economy Minister, was augmented by a Hydrogen Expo where engagement by the Germany team enabled a significant Scottish presence:

  • Scottish Government Trade Minister gave the opening speech at the Hydrogen Expo, attended by c. 350 international delegates, and participated in two panel discussions and two interviews.
  • A Scotland networking reception was attended by over 200 international delegates, enabling discussions between companies and potential investors.

The Scottish delegation included 31 companies, 2 port authorities and the DeepWind Cluster, which has an agreement with Hamburg’s

Ministerial speech delivered key messages on Scotland’s significant offshore wind capacity and hydrogen production potential to c. 350 influential business and political stakeholders;

Ministerial discussions with senior officials from the Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate Change;

Business and political relationships further cemented with the regions of Lower Saxony and Hamburg, both key locations for future hydrogen import infrastructure;

Ministerial discussions with major investors in Scotland, including Germany-based investors in the Scotwind leasing round;

31 Scottish Companies, 2 Port Authorities and the DeepWind offshore wind cluster supported in attending the trade fair. Based on evaluations received, their participation is forecasted to generate:

  • over £184m of forecasted international sales;
  • 111 new green jobs with a further 75 green jobs safeguarded.

Research and Innovation

Germany is Scotland’s top scientific collaborating nation in Europe and second top collaborating nation globally.

Since the academic and research excellence of Scotland’s universities and colleges is already well recognised in Germany, engagement over the course of the year focussed on facilitating relationships and unlocking collaboration opportunities. Activities included close working with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and Connected Scotland partners, in particular the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), to develop frameworks for academic mobility and research cooperation with Germany following the UK’s decision to leave the Erasmus+ programme and continuing uncertainty over the UK’s association to Horizon Europe. Research and Innovation successes in the reporting year included:

  • Apr 2022: Joint Conference on Digitalisation with Universities Scotland and the German U15 Group;
  • Sep 2022: Skyrora, a Space start-up headquartered in Edinburgh, expanded to the immediate vicinity of Paderborn Airport to set up a R&D centre. Skyrora is cooperating with the Chair of Materials Science at the University of Paderborn to create points of contact in the field of innovative 3D printing, and was awarded NRW.Global Business Award for investments in 3D-printing;
  • Jan 2023: Workshop hosted by the RSE for the DAAD, DFG and Federal Ministry for Education and Research to explore collaboration opportunities and develop recommendations for academic exchange & research cooperation;
  • Jan 2023: Online and in-person information events for Scottish institutions on German research funding options.

Stats/ Figures

  • 8 events or activities in support of Research & Innovation
  • Ministerial visit by SG Higher Education Minister to Germany
  • Scotland-Rhineland-Palatinate Life Sciences Research Collaboration Fund extended for a further year with additional £15k funding secured

Case study: Life Sciences Collaboration Fund for Early Career Researchers in Scotland and Rhineland-Palatinate

The Scottish Government and the Government of Rhineland Palatinate agreed a joint Statement of Intent in March 2021 on closer cooperation in the areas of culture, education, higher education and research.

Under this agreement, a working cooperation was initiated between SULSA, the Rhineland Palatinate Ministry for Science and Health and the Scottish Government in Germany to support research collaboration on life sciences and biotechnology – areas in which both Scotland and Rhineland-Palatinate have complementary strengths and interests:

  • A joint funding call was launched in 2022 to support life sciences collaboration between HEIs and Research Institutes in Rhineland Palatinate and Scotland.
  • An online conference and networking event, hosted by SULSA and JGU-Mainz facilitated the funding call. Attended by ca. 80 participants the event brought together Early Career Researchers from Scotland and Germany.

The fund supported the following research collaborations in the reporting year:

  • University of Edinburgh and University of Kaiserslautern: Research project on producing the cyanobacterial chromophore in a marine strain
  • University of Edinburgh and Institute of Molecular Biology in Mainz: Research project on identifying common therapeutic targets for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • University of Aberdeen and University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern: Research project on molecular phenotypes in models of Parkinson’s disease
  • University of Glasgow and JGU Mainz: Research project on receptor activation in Alzheimer’s disease models


Pro-active inward investment activities focussed on areas where there is significant German investment interest, in particular: Healthtech, Energy Transition, Offshore Wind, Hydrogen, Decarbonisation of Transport and Low Carbon Heat. A particular focus was on offshore wind and green hydrogen (reported separately below). Inward investment successes in the reporting year included:

  • Jul 2022: Dräger Marine & Offshore, a subsidiary of Dräger, demonstrated its commitment to the North Sea energy industry with a multi-million-pound investment in a new facility in Aberdeen.
  • Aug 2022: BASF expansion in Lewis, with the construction of a new warehouse at its factory site, supported by HIE investment of ca. £1.8m.
  • Sep 2022: Freudenberg SE expansion (AquaBio) for a net-carbon zero project for Islay distilleries (sustainable filtration)
  • Mar 2023: Creation of up to 35 full time jobs in Scania (owned by Volkswagen Group)
  • Ongoing: A number of speaking opportunities raised awareness of Scotland’s proposition and generated Inward Investment leads, including at: the Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW); BWmeetsUK; British Chamber of Commerce in Germany; Industrie-Club Hannover.
  • 7 inward investment projects from Germany landed as a result of SDI support
  • 393 planned total jobs
  • 346 planned green jobs
  • 388 jobs created/safeguarded paying RLW
  • £117,513 planned R&D investment
  • £228,862,658 value of planned capital investment

Case study: IfTI Global Symposium and Germany-Scotland Forum: Managing the Green Transition in Times of Crisis

Active recruitment of a new Global Scot led to the opportunity to partner with the Institute for Trade and Innovation (IfTI) at the University of Offenburg for a major biennial international conference.

The Germany-Scotland Forum and IfTI Global Symposium took place on 24th -25th May at the campus of the University of Offenburg. Organised by SDI, the Scottish Government and the Director of the IfTI, the 2022 symposium focussed on responsible green growth in support of trade, investment and climate priorities.

7 Scottish companies/institutions and the Managing Director of Scottish Development International attended in person and participated in panel discussions on:

  • Sustainability, hydrogen and renewable energy
  • Data & digitalisation towards sustainability
  • Fostering Green Innovation

Attendance by the Scottish Government Minister for Europe and the Managing Director of Scottish Development International enabled strategic engagement with senior business and political stakeholders, including at ministerial level with the Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate and the Baden-Württemberg state government;

100+ participants attended from 25+ countries;

The conference provided an international forum to deliver key messaging on Scotland’s climate and net zero goals, generate trade and investment, and showcase Scotland’s Net Zero technologies expertise, key projects and investment opportunities;

A Scotland-themed reception and networking dinner co-hosted with showcased Scottish food and drink, including Scotland’s growing network of sustainable distilleries.

Scotland’s Interests

There is a broadly positive emotional attachment to Scotland within Germany, often based on people’s positive experiences of having visited or studied in Scotland. In the Nation Brands Index Survey 2022, Germany ranked Scotland 12th overall, and 5th for Tourism (compared to average ranking of 12); 9th for People (compared to 13); and 7th for Culture (compared to 11). Anecdotally, Scotland’s landscape, values, welcoming approach, universities, music and literature resonate particularly well in Germany. This attachment is furthered in particular by the large number of “affinity diaspora” in Germany – people without a direct family or personal connection to Scotland, but with a passion for and interest in Scotland. This affinity for Scotland and its traditions, culture and values was leveraged to build enduring relationships with stakeholders, using Scotland’s attractiveness to influence relationships to benefit T&I outcomes and further areas of strategic interest to Scotland.

Scottish Connections

Scotland in Germany works closely with existing networks to support the development of people-to-people connections and promote Scotland’s unique culture and heritage and strengths as a location for innovation and investment, including with:

Case study: Scotland in Focus at the European Cultural Days from the Museum of European Cultures (MEK)

The MEK’s annual summer “European Cultural Days” presents a European country, region, city or heritage community through a month-long cultural festival. The Germany network worked closely with the MEK to develop its 2022 programme focussing on contemporary Scotland’s European identity and culture, accompanied by a photo exhibition from Document Scotland collective: Reflections on a Changing Country. The programme presented Scottish musicians, artists and academics, and Scotland’s indigenous languages, including:

  • An opening event with a concert by award-winning Scots singer Scott Gardiner, attended by c. 150 guests including media, political, academic and cultural stakeholders;
  • Exhibition Tours and Artist Talks with Document Scotland
  • Introduction to Scottish Gaelic language, history and culture, with traditional Gaelic songs
  • Panel discussion on Scotland’s European identity with academics from Germany and Scotland
  • Finissage and Ceilidh with Whisky Kiss, attended by c. 120 participants

Press releases by the MEK and Document Scotland, and an advance press briefing for German media by the Director of the Berlin Office, generated positive media coverage in German regional and national papers;

Opening remarks by Director of the Berlin Office and the Director of the Berlin State Museums Foundation raised the profile of the Scottish Government Office in Germany and highlighted Scotland’s distinct culture and interests in retaining strong relations with Europe;

Media engagement led to a feature in the Berliner Tagesspiegel on the Director of the Berlin Office and Scotland’s interests in Germany;

Strong working relationship developed with the Museum of European Cultures creating an opportunity for future joint events with an important cultural partner.

Hydrogen: Developing the German market

Germany has taken the strategic decision to focus on hydrogen for its decarbonisation needs, in particular for its extensive industrial base. Its significant future import requirement for green hydrogen, and Scotland’s considerable future export potential for green hydrogen, are well-matched. Since this represents an important long-term market opportunity for Scotland, significant effort was expended on this area though the impact of this engagement will only be measurable in the longer term. Hydrogen engagement successes in the reporting year included:

  • Apr-Sep 2022: Inward hydrogen-focussed ministerial and business missions to Scotland by North-Rhine Westphalia, Baden Württemberg, Lower Saxony, and Bavaria. Statements of Intent on Hydrogen signed with Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, both key future off-takers for hydrogen, and partnership agreements facilitated between the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and the Center Hydrogen.Bavaria H2.B and Hamburg Renewable Energy Cluster, EEHH.
  • Mar 2023: Field trips to Scotland by two successive Green Hydrogen Commissioners from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, as well as the Green Hydrogen Envoy for the Federal Ministry for Economy and Climate, demonstrated Scotland’s considerable expertise and export potential to the German federal government: “Scotland's ambitious yet very prudently designed plans for the hydrogen economy call for us in Germany to seek to take advantage of this great opportunity for transformation and joint innovation, including at the Federal Government level.”
  • Mar 2023: Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association expert discussion on How to Build a Hydrogen Ecosystem in Scotland at Germany-based Mission Hydrogen online workshop, attended by c. 200 international participants.

Case study: Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) and official Scotland side event “H2 Export Scotland to Germany”

The BETD is a leading international annual forum for the energy sector, jointly hosted by the German Federal Government and national German energy associations, and attended by c. 2000 participants from over 100 countries, including c. 50 ministers and 100 high-level speakers. Advance engagement by the Germany network led to:

  • Official attendance by the Scottish Government Director for Energy and Climate Change in the main conference, with participation in a panel discussion on “Ports and Urban Areas” and a VIP networking reception with global energy leaders.
  • A Scotland hydrogen side event as part of the BETD’s official programme, co-hosted with the Federation of German Industry with c. 140 registered guests, brought together Scottish industry expertise with German policy makers, investors and future off-takers.
  • Demonstration of Scotland’s potential as a leading producer and exporter of green hydrogen to a wide audience of global decision-makers in the energy sector;
  • Recognition at the federal government level of Scotland as a significant potential import partner for Germany;
  • Promotion of Scotland as a strategic hub within Europe’s future hydrogen network, as part of a North Sea alliance;
  • Development of strategic connections with business, federal and regional governments, and other international partners through bilateral meetings;
  • Raised international awareness of the imperative of including Scotland as a key contributor within the upcoming UK-Germany Hydrogen Partnership agreement.

Medium to long-term impact

Hydrogen Partnership between Hamburg and Scotland

The State of Hamburg and the Scottish Government signed a statement of intent in 2021 with a focus on climate protection and innovation and the export of green hydrogen from Scotland to Northern Germany. 10 aims for cooperation were agreed, including the expansion of the green hydrogen economy, and the establishment of supply chains between Hamburg and Scotland. The following longer-term impacts were achieved:

April 2022: Joint conference “Scotland to Hamburg” with the Hamburg Renewable Energy Cluster (EEHH)

  • Presentations from six Scottish companies demonstrated Scotland’s unique hydrogen offer to key import partners, including H2Global and Hamburg Port. Activities are forecast to generate around £0.75m in short term sales and £5m in longer-term sales for Scottish companies;
  • The Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA) entered into a partnership with EEHH to develop supply chain links.

November 2022: BMBF Ports Workshop in Hamburg – Research into Port-Based Hydrogen Transport

  • Scottish hydrogen actors were invited to participate in a ports workshop in Hamburg hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), together with stakeholders from the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany, to identify common research needs and establish new contacts for the formation of research consortia. Discussions were underpinned by the findings of the Scot2Ger Study published in June, which revealed existing demand for Scottish green hydrogen if it were already available and highlighted the economic potential for Scotland from this faster growth in demand than expected.

Lessons learned for FY2022/23

  • In combination with the resource required for corporate and financial management activities (ca. 0.5 FTE in Berlin), the significant resource dedicated to development of the German hydrogen market over the course of the reporting year (ca. 2.2 FTE in Berlin across Scottish Government and SDI and ca. 1 FTE in Düsseldorf), while crucial in order not to lose strategic advantage as European hydrogen networks are being developed, meant that less resource was available to deliver outcomes in other areas such as activities to support and develop twinning and civic links and school partnerships; the provision of bespoke reporting and analysis on relevant German policy developments; and deeper engagement on climate and biodiversity. A potential future allocation of dedicated resource for German/European hydrogen engagement would enable the Germany team to dedicate greater effort to in-country engagement in support of the above areas.
  • The breadth and scale of activities delivered over the year meant that the Germany Team worked at high intensity almost continuously with little opportunity to take stock and reflect on the bigger picture, and no resilience in case of staff leave or sickness with a cumulative negative effect on staff wellbeing.
  • The effort required to try to ensure that Scotland’s interests were represented by the UK Government in Germany, in particular in the areas of hydrogen, education and youth mobility, was disproportionate to the marginal results achieved and diverted resource away from delivering the Scottish Government overseas network’s strategic outcomes.



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