The Helmholtz Alliance ENERGY-TRANS is a research alliance comprising four centres of the Helmholtz Association, three universities and one non-university research institute. The Alliance is coordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The four Helmholtz centres jointly constitute the Helmholtz programme “Technology, Innovation and Society” (TIS) which has inspired the development and design of the ENERGY-TRANS Alliance.
The complexity and thematic scope of the issues addressed by the Alliance require a cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary approach. More than 60 social and political scientists, psychologists and philosophers, economists, legal scholars, engineers and systems analysts collaborate in five research fields, 17 projects and two horizontal tasks. Eight temporary guest professorships from Europe, the US and Asia, each based in one of the partner institutions, underpin the international nature of the ENERGY-TRANS research approach.
The spokespersons for the Alliance are Professor Armin Grunwald, Director of the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at KIT and Professor Ortwin Renn, Director of the Stuttgart Research Center on Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS) at the University of Stuttgart. An internal steering group and the expanded international advisory board of the Helmholtz TIS programme are the main drivers for assuring high quality of the research methods and results.
The Alliance research programme spans a time period of five years (2011 – 2016) and operates on a budget of 16.5 million euros. One half of the funds has been provided by the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association, the other half by each partner of the Alliance.
Helmholtz Alliances are supported by the Helmholtz Association as a means of meeting strategic research goals and promoting structural innovations. Their goal is the strategic development of the participating Helmholtz centres’ profiles and, where successful, implementation in a sustainable structure; for example a Helmholtz Association research programme.