Strengths and weaknesses in the "resource efficiency innovation system"

In order to achieve the strategic policy objectives in the field of resource efficiency, it is necessary to have a more precise understanding of the innovation dynamics in this field, its drivers and obstacles. Patent analysis was used to compare and contrast the innovation dynamics in three areas of resource efficiency – durability, material savings and recycling. Among other things, this revealed that recycling shows comparatively low dynamics (see Ostertag et al. 2010) and the possible reasons for this were examined (see Ostertag et al 2011).

Comparing patterns of specialisation and resource saving potentials showed that Germany has specialisation advantages in material saving technologies in one field in which high resource efficiency potentials can be exploited in many industrial contexts (see Albrecht et al. 2012). Additional information sources (conferences, publications) were also evaluated to characterise the innovation system. These were used as input to compiling the roadmaps for the individual r² project groups.

For environmentally-relevant innovations, regulation is expected to have significant influence on the innovation system. Particularly high relevance is attached to norms and standards promoting innovations in sustainable technologies. Norms and standards represent an important coordination mechanism throughout the entire innovation process. Standardisation can therefore enable important progress to be made in both basic and applied research. Special attention is therefore paid in the analysis to regulation and standardisation (see Peuckert 2011).


Dr. Katrin Ostertag
Fraunhofer Institute for Systems
and Innovation Research ISI
Breslauer Strasse 48
76139 Karlsruhe
Phone: +49 721 6809-124

Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Fona - Research for Sustainability
Project Management Jülich - Research Centre Jülich
Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research