Sustainable innovations

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How can societies around the world embark on new paths? What can science, business and politics jointly contribute to sustainable developments? These are the questions that the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) will be exploring in their focus topic for 2022 – pursuing interdisciplinary approaches in international networks.

Everyone is talking about sustainability these days. Be it the global fight against climate change or the far-reaching consequences of the corona pandemic: all over the world, new opportunities for cost-effective growth and sustainable development are the responses that are being sought. Experts in science, business and politics have declared the 21st century the “century of sustainability”. According to the title of its coalition treaty, the new federal government that was elected in Germany in 2021 introduces itself as the “alliance for freedom, justice and sustainability”.

If sustainable goals are to be lastingly achieved in different contexts, what is needed is continued innovative capacity. Germany has long been promoting this through its Sustainable Development Strategy and the follow-ups to the Federal Government’s High-Tech Strategy . The Sustainable Development Strategy also highlights the importance of education, research, and innovation, while the High-Tech Strategy includes among its “missions” aspects such as “Creating sustainable circular economies”, achieving greenhouse gas neutrality in industry, and developing “safe, networked and clean mobility”. Both the High-Tech Strategy and the Sustainable Development Strategy particularly stress the value of international collaborations.

"Innovations come about at the interfaces between supposedly unconnected areas – like labs on the one hand and production lines on the other. That’s why it is important to keep rethinking the ways in which research and industry, science and business are related and to learn from one another. However, reciprocal learning always requires one side to know more than the other at any given time. Sustainable innovations therefore rely on the advances achieved in curiosity-driven and application-oriented research."
Professor Katja Becker, President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

Great potential at DWIH locations

The German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) in New York, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi, and Tokyo plus, from this year, also the new DWIH in San Francisco, provide valuable opportunities for far-reaching exchange on a cross-border and interdisciplinary level. This allows new perspectives to be opened up. And it offers great potential, especially in view of the global challenge of fostering sustainability in various areas of life.

The DWIH‘s   has therefore chosen “Sustainable innovations” as the DWIH focus topic for 2022. Under the umbrella of the DWIH, drivers of innovation from Germany and international institutions will take advantage of this focus to blaze new trails together – with particular emphases at their respective locations and the linking advantage of a joint network.