Innovation and Technology Analysis (ITA/INSIGHT)

Together with other foresight activities, the Innovation and Technology Analysis (ITA) makes up the foresight strategy of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). More recently, this has been renamed “Insight – interdisciplinary perspectives on societal and technological change”. In this context, Fraunhofer ISI regularly works on urgent questions of ongoing and upcoming sociotechnical developments.



The chronobiology project CIRCADIA explores how circadian rhythms, i.e., the daily cycles of human activity that are controlled by our “internal clocks“, are influenced by new technologies that can be combined in many different ways in everyday life. To an increasing extent, devices – especially digital ones – are invading our daily lives and disrupting circadian cycles with correspondingly negative effects on many people‘s biology and psychology. The project takes a short-term (five years) and a long-term (ten years and more) look at the potential impacts of an increased use of digital, often light-emitting devices and the associated opportunities as well as risks, e.g., for people’s health. Based on the results, the aim is to develop both preventive strategies and solutions to existing problems. 

Deepen Genomics – Opportunities and challenges of the convergence of artificial intelligence, modern human genomics and genome editing 

How do genetic differences between individuals determine their predisposition for common diseases? Understanding these relationships is a major challenge for modern genome research. Artificial intelligence (AI), especially in the form of deep learning systems, could potentially help here. This project explores the potential offered by the convergence of AI with human genomics and identifies realistic application possibilities with their opportunities and specific ethical, social, economic and regulatory challenges.

Transition in global value chains: Advancing social sustainability (SoNa-WSK)

In developing countries, which are often where our supply chains begin, working conditions are often precarious or even inhumane. This is neither socially nor economically sustainable. However, companies wishing to transform their global value chains to include these aspects face various challenges. The SoNa-WSK project investigates the conditions needed for the diffusion of socially sustainable value chains and develops transition scenarios. The goal is to discover which changes are necessary to advance more socially sustainable practices in global value chains.   

Implications of the economic rise of emerging countries for global technological innovation systems in environmental technologies (TITUS)

Emerging countries have huge potential to act as partners in solving upcoming global challenges in climate protection. The BMBF’s “International Cooperation Action Plan” already demonstrated this in 2014. Global innovation activities in the field of environmental technologies have so far concentrated heavily on industrial nations, but changes are now becoming apparent. The TITUS project explores what adjustments are needed within Germany‘s innovation landscape in order to advance the development of technology solutions that are better tailored to the specific needs of emerging and developing countries on the one hand, and to strengthen the links to dynamic innovation activities in these countries on the other hand.