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ITA monitoring – identification of new topics for the innovation and technology analysis of the BMBF

ITA monitoring – identification of new topics for the innovation and technology analysis of the BMBF
Project team:

Decker, Michael (Project leader); Christopher Coenen; Torsten Fleischer; Michael Rader; Michael Reuß; Christine Rösch; Jens Schippl; Nora Weinberger (Project coordination)


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Project management agency: VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH (Berlin)

Start date:


End date:


Project partners:

Zukünftige Technologien Consulting (ZTC) of VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH (Düsseldorf) (Axel Zweck, Dirk Holtmannspötter, Norbert Malanowski, Waldemar Baron, Matthias Braun, Eva Cebulla, Sabine Korte, Wolfgang Luther)

Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

The BMBF innovation and technology analysis (ITA) approach is aimed at providing the different actors in the innovation process with information to support decisions regarding research, technology and innovation. Innovation and technology analyses can contribute to the identification of possible chances and risks, the acknowledgment of potentials and options and the early recognition of possible restraints and supporting factors for innovations.

This identification of strategic topics for the innovation and technology analysis and the elaboration of their respective specific issues were the goals of the research project ITA-Monitoring. To this end, a systematic and continuous monitoring process has been established over the duration of the project that enabled the identification of relevant ITA topics both from the technology and the demand perspective. This process was marked by three selection steps. At first, an intensive literature and desktop research was conducted to search for sources of information that refer to new and relevant technological developments, as well as citations that describe a need for a technological solution. In the first relevance decision this raw data was assessed with respect to different dimensions of evaluation (e.g., technical-scientific, ecological) in which a topic had to display a special relevance to at least one of those dimensions. Then, in a second step, it was examined whether the topics were relevant in regard to the other respective "search path" as well. That means, topics that were identified through the technology development path also had to be adjudged to be relevant in satisfying social demands and vice versa, a potentially satisfying technological solution had to be found for any identified social demand. The next relevance decision was reached in the context of a workshop by experts of TA, which were tasked with the assessment of the topics from the perspective of the ITA, and additional experts, which were to act as so-called "advocates" and represented one of the relevant dimensions. This search process was performed three times - one each year.

Short studies were prepared for the selected topics which comprise not only the transdisciplinary problem description but also recommendations for a problem-adequate, methodical approach for the development of problem solutions. Among others, these were short stories on "electromobility", "smart grids", "sticky information", "non-medical applications of neuroscience", "fresh in the trash", "reduction of food waste as an approach to improve the global food situation", "service robots in care arrangements" and "social conditions of aspirations regarding the technical enhancement of human capabilities". However, these short studies are not innovation and technology analyses, they are only methodical preparatory works (preparatory projects).

Publication on this project:

Decker, M.; Fleischer, T.; Schippl, J.; Weinberger, N.
Zukünftige Themen der Innovations- und Technikanalyse. Methodik und ausgewählte Ergebnisse. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing 2012 (KIT Scientific Reports; 7605)
full text



Prof. Dr. Michael Decker
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Phone: +49 721 608-23007