Engaging in exchange

Centres for innovation

The German Centres for Research and Innovation bring science, business and politics together – this year’s focus is on the highly topical area of Sustainable Innovations.

Issue 2 | 2022

Text: Klaus Lüber

New York is one of the world’s leading fashion capitals, where trends are set and decisions are taken about how the fashion industry should produce. The US metropolis is the perfect place to discuss changes in the world of fashion – changes that are urgently needed. According to the United Nations, the industry is responsible for ten per cent of global carbon emissions, huge resource consumption and the environmental damage that is caused by ever shorter production cycles. So what options are there for taking counteraction?

“I believe that facili­tating inter­disciplinary exchange is the great strength of the DWIH.”

Dr Jan Lüdert, Head of Programs at the DWIH New York

The German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York addressed this question during a two-day conference in early October 2022. “FUTURE FORUM 2022: Fabricating the Future” was the title of the event that saw the DWIH New York explore new approaches in the fashion world – from fair trade to the sustainable use of raw materials. In 2022, Sustain­able Innovations moved into the spotlight for all the DWIH in New York, San Francisco, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo. At the “3rd Japanese-German-French Symposium on Artificial Intelligence”, which likewise took place in October, the DWIH Tokyo, for example, looked at how a society can be made sustainable in the Anthropocene. At the beginning of December, the DWIH New Delhi hosted a symposium entitled “International Cooperation for Green Hydrogen”. The potential of green hydrogen had already been the subject of an online talk staged jointly by the DWIH New York and DWIH São Paulo in April.

“The best ideas come about through intensive international exchange,” stresses Tabea Kaiser, Head of the DWIH Office at the DAAD. The basic idea of the DWIH, which are funded by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, is to raise the profile of German innovators and to bring them together with partners in the DWIH host countries. “Given the global challenges, however, it makes sense to expand the good bilateral collaboration to include a multilateral component.”

What makes the DWIH special is the close co­operation between science, business and politics. Besides the Federal Foreign Office and the DAAD, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action are also represented on the Board of Trustees of the DWIH network, as are the members of the Alliance of Science Organi­sations, the Federation of German Industries and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry. This variety of perspectives is reflected in the DWIH with their exchange on sustainable innovations, in which they also involve DAAD alumnae and alumni. “The DWIH recruit many of their experts from this network,” explains Tabea Kaiser. And talking about Fabricating the Future, DWIH New York Head of ­Programs Dr Jan Lüdert says: “Our goal was to bring really all actors from science, law, politics, design and development, as well as consumers, to the ­table. That worked really well. I believe that ­facilitating this interdisciplinary exchange is the great strength of the DWIH.” —