Research is the institute’s central objective. Fields of study are involved in the research work that stipulate four specific long-term research areas of the institute. Within these fields of study and beyond their limits, research work is project bound and aligned with the topics of the Helmholtz program “Technology, Innovation and Society (TIS)”. Correspondent to the objective and the mission, a specific type of research has been developed at ITAS that is characterized as follows:
- Relevance for problems and practice: With its research, ITAS ties in with the need for consultation on the impacts of science and technology. The knowledge is developed against the background of societal problems, discourses, and upcoming decisions on technology.
- Relation to the future and reflexivity: As a basic principle, there is always a prospective aspect in the research work of the institute since it deals with the future impacts of human action and societal decisions.
- Normativity and sustainability: ITAS approaches the problem of technology assessment with scientific means. Ethical criteria and the general principle of sustainable development provide a stable guideline.
- Inter- and transdisciplinarity: The range of tasks of ITAS requires an interdisciplinary crossing of the disciplines’ borders and the transdisciplinary participation of stakeholders and citizens.
Two of the specific fields of study in the institute are linked to a research field of the Helmholtz Association, respectively:
- Research area “Knowledge society and knowledge policy” and Research area “Innovation processes and impacts of technology” are working on topic 1 of TIS in the research field Key Technologies;
- Research area “Sustainability and environment” and Research area “Energy - resources, technologies, systems” are working on topic 2 of TIS in the research field Energy.