Technology and Digital World Innovations

Technological advancements have the potential to bring us closer to the SDGs by providing new solutions to current problems.

Technology and the possibility of digitalization will be important factors and our research agenda concentrates on the following aspects:

  • New developments on high-precision and/or distributed sensing, data interpretation technology and autonomous actions will allow for a more detailed view of our environment, leading to improved model building capability, which in turn leads to improved planning, control and thus increased efficiency of using resources. Given such data, novel algorithmic approaches have the potential to fuse different types of information and to build models that increase our basic understanding of the phenomena in nature or society, allowing us to avoid detrimental effects before they even occur. Central aspects of this priority are monitoring and action execution in agricultural systems, especially full digitalization and phenotyping along the spatial and temporal dimension ranging from individual plants over fields to regions using ground and aerial vehicles up to remote sensing satellites. Such data also allows for automated intervention through improved computer-controlled machines, digital precision farming systems, and autonomous robots reducing the amount of needed agro-chemicals and impacts on the ecosystem. This approach will lead to methods improving crop and food production, resilience with respect to diseases and climate change, biodiversity, and optimizing the resource use efficiency and connecting to the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC) and PhenoRob.
  • Research for developing bio-friendly materials offers the great potential to reduce the future impact of humans onto the environment and in this sense support sustainable consumption and production patterns. This research priority includes new techniques to develop biologically safe products, to avoid the production of waste, to increase the amount of renewable material feedstocks and energy sources in production and reduce the amount of toxic substances.
  • New technologies that address the societal changes, risks, and resulting challenges towards long-term sustainability. This includes the automation of various tasks for humans in an aging society such as health care, personal transportation, and service robotics, but also techniques for maintaining privacy in a digital and interconnected society. Sustainability does not only relate to human – environment and nature systems, but very much also to the fast emerging digital systems that influence our daily live. Addressing cyber risk through practical security and privacy as well as opportunities of a digitalized world and building resilience towards its failures will be essential for our future.
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