The energy transition in Germany clearly demonstrates that technological innovation is no longer sufficient – it also requires social innovation. The interaction of these two components is a key element of the funding programme ‘Environmentally and socially compatible transformation of the energy system’, initiated within the BMBF socio-ecological research framework, which was designed in cooperation with the DLR Project Management Agency.
Firstly, together with partners in industry, the projects develop develop innovative concepts that allow citizens to contribute in the implementation of the energy turnaround and to help them understand the planning process – for example with regard to the electricity grid or new wind energy systems. Secondly, the projects demonstrate innovative ways in which individuals can reduce their energy consumption or produce their own electricity and heat. In keeping with socio-ecological research, which brings together numerous disciplines and partners outside the scientific community, the project involves representatives of society at large, like consumers, municipalities, businesses and the general public.
The DLR Project Management Agency has accompanied this funding programme from its inception, at first engaging in technical discussions with representatives from the scientific community and market representatives, to define the specific requirements for the main focus. We currently provide support to 22 research associations as part of our continuous funding.