Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI
More innovative together than alone
Press Release 2/11/2009
Many raw materials are becoming scarce. In order to safeguard Germany's location as an industrial nation, it is important to utilize raw materials efficiently. Besides the economic importance, they also have an ecologic component, for the efficient use of raw materials contributes towards environmental protection. The programme "r²: Innovative Technologies for Resource Efficiency – Resource-intensive Production Processes" promotes networking among the resource-intensive industries with the aim of exploring the efficient utilization of raw materials. As part of this funding programme, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI heads an integration and transfer project for networking and accompanying research. The programme homepage www.r-zwei-innovation.de is going online now.
Industries which use raw materials intensively, as for example the chemical industry, building materials and metal and steel production, are the main focus of this research programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and supervised by the Project Management Jülich. To date, 16 research institutions and 18 universities have joined forces with 46 companies to form 16 consortia. Each individual consortium – composed in each case of companies, research institutes and universities – pursues a research project, inter alia to recover metal from scrap, to manufacture chlorine more efficiently or to dezincify steel scrap. Jointly, the members of the various consortia explore how they can achieve a more efficient utilization of raw materials. Through networking and communication between the consortia as well as with firms and branches not participating in the funding priority, their innovative capability can be increased – the substantive exchange is more beneficial to each participant than if he were to pursue his ideas alone.
The primary goal of the r² Integration and Transfer Project is to promote networking among the consortia, in order to create a continuous exchange. Events are on offer to facilitate this networking process: the kick-off conference took place with a presentation of all associations on 23 June 2009 in Bonn, annual status seminars serve to intensify personal contacts and make possible a continuous exchange of information.
The second goal is to provide scientific assistance to the consortia. Fraunhofer ISI and its partners – Fraunhofer ICT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT and the University of Stuttgart – help the companies by means of accompanying research, the transfer of these results to the consortia as well as through methodological training. One workshop series aims, for instance, to encourage knowledge generation on cross-cutting issues and support knowledge transfer among the consortia. Thus the participants in the "Workshop Sustainability Assessment" exchange information about methods and tools for evaluating sustainability, learn from each other and compare their practices. This enables the consortia to improve the comparability of their ecological assessments and economic analyses. Furthermore, roadmaps and service models are developed for the participants to facilitate planning of the future development of the new technologies and their subsequent commercialization. Information about events of the funding priority as well as its thematic environment can be found on the homepage www.r-zwei-innovation.de.
At the end of the project, the impacts of the research programme on sustainability and innovation as a whole will be analyzed and recommendations for action developed for its continuation, in order to keep an eye on and promote resource efficiency in German industry in the future.
Relevant to industry, relevant to society – the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI investigates how technical and organizational innovations shape industry and society today and in the future. A trademark of the systemic approach is the integration of research disciplines and the construction of a network for innovations, together with clients and interested parties. With its expertise, experience and reports, ISI as one of the application-oriented research institutes in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft makes a contribution towards strengthening European competitiveness. For this reason, politicians, associations and enterprises utilize Fraunhofer ISI as a foresighted and neutral intellectual mastermind able to convey visions for decisions.