On behalf of the Climate and Energy Fund, the ITA is further developing a model that enables a detail-oriented assessment of the maturity of innovations for climate-neutral cities.
The Smart Cities Initiative of the Climate and Energy Fund supports practical solutions for sustainable urban development. The goal is to test innovative products, services and processes in real urban environments, to improve and subsequently roll them out on a broad scale. In this way, the initiative aims to provide decisive impulses for the transformation of Austrian cities and municipalities towards climate neutrality.
In urban spaces, a multitude of technical systems intertwine. These include - to name just a few - electricity and gas grids, sewage systems, district heating networks or public transport systems. But which technologies promise particularly great potential for making cities truly climate-neutral in the future? How mature are the solutions being developed? Which research and development will define the next decade?
New research model for more flexibility
Decisions on the development, promotion and financing of innovative solutions and applications also depend to a large extent on assessments of their maturity. The Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Michael Ornetzeder, developed a model for assessing the maturity of socio-technical innovations back in 2015 on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMVIT). The original model deliberately went beyond the common models for assessing the maturity of technologies and considered innovations in the urban context as comprehensive systems in which different technical and social elements are interconnected. Although this model enabled detailed statements to be made about the development status of systemic innovations, these assessments were associated with a high level of research and investigation.
The new model should be flexible enough to be used for different innovations, and take into account the specific challenges of the urban context. In order to ensure the applicability and user-friendliness of the model, both decision-makers from innovation policy and potential users will be involved in the development process. In addition to the content report, a user manual will be produced to support the practicality of the model.