Electricity grids and power plants, roads and drinking water systems are indispensable for the basic supply of European societies. In the future, such central infrastructures will not only have to be rebuilt in a climate-friendly way within a few decades, but also adapted to climate change, i.e. to increasing extreme weather events such as heavy rain, storms, ice or drought. The Paris climate treaty's goal of meeting the 2-degree target requires a massive transformation of our (economic and social) systems within this century. The phase-out of fossil fuels and the development of a climate-friendly economy require a far-reaching transformation of the central infrastructures. Roads, electricity grids, water and sewage systems, for example, are indispensable for society. They must not only be rebuilt, but also adapted to climate change, i.e. increasing extreme weather events such as heavy rain, storms, ice or drought.

On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, the project partners compiled an overview - a research map - of current European projects. The main topics included energy, transport, water and ICT infrastructures. Of particular interest was whether transdisciplinary methods were used in the projects and whether social actors from municipalities, companies or civil society were integrated. Further core questions in the study were:

  • Who are the important clients and beneficiaries of research in Europe?
  • Who are the central researchers/research groups in Europe?
  • What are innovative, exciting research topics and relevant research results for Europe and Germany?
  • How relevant is the research to implementation?

In this project, IZT examined research projects in the field of energy infrastructures. The focus was on projects that aim to adapt infrastructures to climate change and strengthen their resilience. Of particular relevance for the research map were projects that looked at other related sectors besides energy, such as tourism, water supply or transport infrastructures in cities (sector coupling).