Function of the horizontal tasks

The horizontal tasks fulfil an important function in the Helmholtz Alliance. Their role is to create a common basis for the application of methodologies and data in sustainability analyses and foresight activities. The aim is to enhance the consistency between the respective projects and the comparability of the results achieved in them. Without these integration elements inconsistencies could arise especially i) as a result of diverging access to the sustainability assessment of technologies and possible developments and ii) as a result of the uncoordinated use of foresight data and methodologies.

The “Sustainability Monitoring” horizontal task is developing the tools for sustainability analyses and assessment for use in the individual research fields and projects. On the one hand, this involves developing a system of sustainability indicators and relevant target values for appraising conditions or development paths in relation to the energy system transformation; on the other hand, surveys and analyses of the sustainability awareness and conceptualisation of the players in the energy system are conducted. Furthermore, already existing or potential future sustainability-related conflicts of goals and interests are being identified, and a concept for addressing such conflicts is being developed. As far as possible, the results of this work will be visualised in sustainability maps showing spatial differentiation.

Photo: Stephanie Hofschlaeger/


The “Foresight Integration” horizontal task is organising a communications platform for all the Alliance projects which are using or creating foresight products in order to promote an intensive information flow on this issue between the projects. “Foresight Integration” is also developing harmonised datasets for general assumptions (such as population, economic and raw materials price developments) for use in the various Alliance projects. Approaches for methodological further developments in the field of foresight methodology continue to be developed in this horizontal task in cooperation with the projects. Furthermore, in conjunction with the “Sustainability Monitoring” horizontal task and with selected individual Alliance projects, GIS-based risk maps are being developed which illustrate the interaction of various infrastructure-related risk factors in a spatial breakdown.