The programme “Technology, Innovation and Society"
The modern age is shaped to a large extent by the interaction between technology, innovation and society. Innovation, of course, is deeply linked to scientific and technological progress. However, this does not mean that progress will always lead to useful innovation. Exactly how specific technologies ultimately contribute to the resolution of societal issues and problems often depends on how these technologies interact systematically, as well as on societal factors such as political or economic conditions, public acceptance and ethical considerations. The mission of the Helmholtz Association is to develop solutions that address society’s most pressing and complex challenges. The Technology, Innovation and Society programme thus encompasses the systematic research of the many and varied interconnections between technology, innovation and society. The Helmholtz Association’s considerable expertise in areas such as systems analysis, technology assessment and scientific policy consulting is central to this new programme, focusing on fields that are both socially relevant and scientifically challenging – namely energy and key technologies – and usually in cooperation with related scientific and technological programmes. The Assessing Technologies programme topic focuses on investigating the impact of technology; here, not only the technologies themselves but also their associated innovation and implementation processes are analysed and assessed. The topic Renewable Energy and Material Resources for Sustainable Futures develops and analyses concepts for making the exploitation of renewable resources more sustainable, while the area of Assessment of Energy Systems comprises the interdisciplinary development of scientific methods for assessing the sustainability of energy systems, as well as strategic socio-political solutions for a sustainable energy supply grid.