DWIH Focus Topic 2022: Sustainable innovations

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The German Centers for Research and Innovation (DWIH) have chosen “Sustainable Innovations” as their focus topic for 2022 and will be highlighting how these are promoted in a process of international exchange.

Are there “limits to growth” when it comes to innovation? Under this title fifty years ago, the Club of Rome published its widely acclaimed study on the dangers of excessive economic development. According to this study, “more and more” growth and production cannot be the solution; more sustainable, environmentally friendly approaches are needed. It is increasingly no longer enough for innovations simply to be new and more productive.

As drivers of innovation, science and research-based industry are called upon to work sustainable. Innovations can promote sustainability in very concrete ways, for example with new solutions in the fight against climate change or resource-conserving production methods. At the same time, the question arises as to how politics, business and science can create a climate for innovation that will continue to produce groundbreaking developments in the long term.

The US is in transition. Extensive investments in infrastructure, in the growth of sustainable energy to create jobs, but also in basic and applied research are intended to prepare the country for the future. The political and social agenda includes major energy issues such as reducing C02 emissions through innovative approaches to energy generation and storage and increasing energy efficiency in mobility. Climate change presents a challenge, just as achieving resilience and sustainable social justice do.

A network for long-term exchange

“Sustainable innovations” is the 2022 focus topic of the German Centers for Research and Innovation (DWIH) in  San Francisco, New York, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo. In their programmers, the DWIH demonstrate the value of international exchange for innovation drivers in Germany and the respective host countries.

Further information about the choice of the DWIH focus topic for 2022 can be found on the DWIH network website.

California is familiar with both pressing social issues, such as widespread homelessness, and the great opportunities offered by innovations and policies that specifically support them. As the most populous US state, the government of California has invested in climate protection in recent years. Beyond the outstanding innovation powerhouse Silicon Valley, new developments in areas such as cleantech, health research or the digitization of education are being pushed ahead on the American west coast.

Connecting different innovation cultures

The DWIH San Francisco is based right at the heart of California’s innovation culture. There are many opportunities for cooperation with top universities, global technology companies or start-ups in topics such as climate protection, artificial intelligence or pandemic research. Numerous German expats at research-intensive institutions favor the German-American exchange on all aspects of innovation. While Germany still enjoys a particularly good reputation in the US for its research landscape and as a pioneer in the energy transition, American innovation drivers are often role models due to their creativity and great willingness to invest. DWIH San Francisco will bring the two approaches closer together in the coming years – and will start in 2022 with, among other things, a series of events on the key topic of “Sustainable Innovations”.