Digitalisation Technologie IT
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Headline: GTI: Green Tech Digital Innovation Competition accompanying research


Digitalisation is driving a wave of innovation that could be game-changing for the green transformation of the economy - but only if it is geared towards achieving clearly defined ecological and social goals. The accompanying research for the German government's GreenTech Innovation Competition will be undertaken by a consortium comprising the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS), consultancy Prognos AG, public relations agency Zum goldenen Hirschen, the law firm Noerr and transfer agency TransMIT. The consortium will bring together expertise in industry, technology and sustainability to support 21 GreenTech innovation projects in developing green, digital technology systems through to market maturity.

Digital technologies have the potential to deliver sustainability gains across a range of applications, from the collection and analysis of environmental data to supporting socio-ecological business models. However, they also pose considerable environmental risks: In one (worst-case) scenario, digital energy consumption could increase almost threefold in Germany to 58.5 TWh by 2030, according to calculations by the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag.

Against this background, accompanying research for the GreenTech Innovation Competition will focus on identifying opportunities to leverage anticipated synergy effects between digitalisation and environmental protection and to mitigate the disadvantages of digitalization.

This research will track the efforts of 21 consortia that will receive funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate (BMWK) over three years for the development of digital innovation projects aimed at supporting efforts to achieve climate and environmental targets and boost the competitiveness of companies in Germany. The anticipated project outputs range from an AI-powered solution to identify recyclable materials in electronic waste, to technology to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of computing and streaming services, to the design and development of a data space that will improve sustainability in the forestry sector.

The accompanying research pursues several objectives:

  • Sustainability analysis of developments in the 21 innovation projects
  • Development of a network for green and digital innovation to support networking across participating projects
  • Development of frameworks and guidelines for communication between developers and users of digital innovation projects
  • Support of projects' public relations efforts in order to extend their reach and support the dissemination of project outcomes

The project will apply a variety of methods, ranging from scientific analyses and publication analyses through to interviews and surveys as well as co-creative workshop formats and networking events to support communication.

In doing so, this accompanying research for the GreenTech Innovation Competition will help to systematically close several gaps in knowledge and practice in research and business relating to the sustainability of (green and digital) innovations in addition to generating valuable insights for science, practice and politics.

Digitalisation Technologie IT
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