On July 11th, the interim evaluation of the Karlsruhe part of the Helmholtz program “Technology, Innovation and Society” (TIS), which started in 2010, has taken place. Besides KIT, Forschungszentrum Jülich (Research Centre Jülich – FZJ), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany's National Research Centre for Aeronautics and Space - DLR), and Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ) participate in the program. All research carried out by ITAS for the Helmholtz Association belongs to TIS. Beside ITAS, four technical institutes of KIT are involved in TIS. In the interim evaluation, Prof. Harald Rohracher (Graz, panel chairman), Prof. Josee van Eijndhoven (Rotterdam), Prof. Harro van Lente (Maastricht), Prof. Lorenz Hilty (St. Gallen), Prof. Anita Engels (Hamburg), Prof. Paul Burger (Basel), and Dr. Stefan Hirschberg (Villingen) have participated as evaluators.
The evaluators have testified a very good development to the program since 2010 and have applauded the commitment of the TIS scientists. Additionally, the diversity and the relevance of the research as well as the quality of the results were highlighted. The evaluators were impressed specifically by the international orientation of the program and by the enormous increase in acquisitions of external funds since 2010. The interdisciplinary integration was evaluated as of a very high level in most cases.
Questions around conceptual coherence and program identity were the focus of critical remarks. Some questions also referred to the identity of social studies in the context of technologically oriented research. The concept of applied social sciences was used and scrutinized in this context. An additional focus of interest and discussion was the integrative concept of sustainability developed by ITAS and HGF and its implementation in concrete projects. The recommendations of the evaluators will help to clearly structure and position the TIS program within the next two years.
The programme "Technology, Innovation and Society" (TIS)