Archive for the ‘Austria’ Category

EFP Brief No. 263: The Future of Aging in Upper Austria

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

The foresight study aimed at exploring what technological solutions and social innovations for ambient assisted living (AAL) can offer widest coverage in a demographically-challenged rural area such as the Mühlviertler Alm (Upper Austria). To increase the acceptance of the identified findings among the local population and the success of the implementation of the AAL solutions in a potential follow-up project (e.g. as a model test region), strong emphasis was put on the integration of potential users and other stakeholders throughout the whole study.

Active and Assisted Living (AAL): Intelligent Technologies for the Elderly

The social foresight was part of the project
“WEGE2025: Our ways to an age-appropriate region 2025 – Living independently in the Mühlviertel” as part of the Austrian national funding programme “ICT of the Future: benefit – Demographic change as a chance” (project no. 846222).

For the last decades life expectancy has been increasing continuously throughout Europe due to improvements in life conditions and healthcare. Meanwhile, the share of elderly people (aged 65 and over) among the total population has reached an average of 18.5% across the EU-28 and 18.3% in Austria (EUROSTAT 2015). For 2050, it is expected that these numbers will double. This demographic change often goes along with changing family structures (e.g. reduced family sizes with fewer potential family carers for the older people at hand) and limited numbers of available local care facilities. Consequently, new and innovative solutions are necessary to ensure an independent living of the elderly in their own home for as long as possible.

Intelligent technical solutions have a huge potential to meet the upcoming healthcare challenges of aging societies and become an important pillar in the personal healthcare and care of elderly people in the years to come. Active and Assisted Living (AAL), an emerging multi-disciplinary field, specifically aims at providing technical aids and technology-assisted services to the elderly as well as care givers by exploiting information and communication technologies (ICT). However, the overall success and acceptance of AAL systems in practice will crucially depend on how well the new technological solutions can address the needs of the elderly and maintain or improve their quality of life. Therefore, it is vital to know the specific needs of the elderly in their respective living environments and how innovative solutions can be tailored to both the needs and the living environment.

AAL in a rural region

So far, AAL solutions have mainly been developed for users with a focus on specific indications, independent of their place of residence and hardly ever for an entire region. In particular, for rural areas there are hardly any visions on how to improve the attractiveness of the region for an independent life for senior citizens and their needs in their third and fourth phases of life. Rural areas and the people that are growing old there have to cope particularly with the rural depopulation of young people and are confronted with a general decrease in public utility infrastructure.

Mühlviertler Alm

The Mühlviertler Alm is an association of ten municipal communities situated in the north-east of Upper Austria. Agriculture is the predominant economic sector. Each community consists of between ten and 20 villages, each of which consists of a densely populated village centre as well as numerous individual, scattered farmsteads far from the village centres. Consequently, the region is characterised by long supply routes and require high mobility in the daily life of the residents.

The Mühlviertler Alm is currently undergoing a process of demographic change. An increasing number of elderly people is opposed to a decreasing share of younger people. The highest pressure is expected in the coming decades when the baby-boom generation retires. At the moment, about 18.000 people live in the region Mühlviertler Alm. Some 4.000 of them are already older than 60 years. Until 2030, it is expected that this number will rise by 50%.

Active and independent aging is an important topic in the region. Since 2010, the communities have been actively facing the demographic change with local projects. They consider the demographic change a chance for a new social interaction.

Aiming to Become Model of the Future

The project WEGE2025 analysed what AAL solutions can offer the widest coverage in a rural area such as the Mühlviertler Alm. The major question was therefore what AAL technologies and social innovations can be implemented for a maximum of end-users and will also be applied by secondary users, such as managed care organisations.

As a result of the project, the region Mühlviertler Alm is expected to become a model for the future development of a test region for active and assisted living solutions.

Exploring the Potential for AAL in a Rural Region

A major focus of the project was on the methods used for the exploration of AAL test regions. While ongoing test region projects in Austrian are mainly technologically driven, the WEGE2025 project pursued an interactive stakeholder approach. Within a comprehensive future-oriented stakeholder process, both project partners, AIT and Verband Mühlviertler Alm, together with some 100 stakeholders (end users, medical staff, and providers of services in the general interest and other stakeholders) from the region worked together to explore future needs for an attractive life during old age and to assess by means of scenarios, a roadmap and a vision of the future the potential for implementation of the suggested solutions in real life. The interactive approach included personal interviews and large group settings (workshops) with stakeholders and was preceded by a qualitative background research.

This project provided the unique opportunity to include a whole region in the preparation for a test region and to make allowance for the needs and views of their residents on active and independent living and aging. This approach should increase the success and the participation rate in the follow-up test region.

Exploring the Framework Conditions of the Region

A series of qualitative interviews with 15 residents of the Mühlviertler Alm working either professionally or as volunteers in healthcare and care for the elderly were made to explore the framework conditions and major needs of the region. The interviewees highlighted the following key challenges of the region Mühlviertler Alm:

  • Peripheral geographic location
  • Demographic change
  • Lack of awareness of the aging
  • Increasing number of people suffering from dementia
  • Increasing professional activity by all family member (resulting in a lack of family member carers)
  • Increasing need for new forms of neighbourly help
  • Lack of social activities for people with physical impairment
  • Decrease in the public transport
  • Lack of comprehensive provision of medical care (e.g. medical specialists)
  • Lack of available places in institutional care and support facilities
  • Lack of a network of providers of care and nursing institutions
  • Lack of a central contact point for information (e.g. regarding healthcare and other care)

With respect to the potential implementation of AAL solutions in the region, the interviewees expressed reservations as regards technologies in general and pointed out the lack of suitable infrastructure (e.g. poor mobile phone coverage, lack of access to high-speed broadband services).

Future-Oriented Stakeholder Process

To identify the needs of the elderly in the region and to define the requirements for AAL solutions, a foresight exercise was implemented. In four workshops, potential end-users, representatives of companies, for services of general interest, and research organisations discussed together what it needs to be able to lead an independent and age-appropriate life in a rural region such as the Mühlviertler Alm.

Stakeholder Workshop I – Visioning

In this workshop the participants worked on the megatrends of the future and developed a common vision 2050 of the Mühlviertler Alm. Megatrends are influential, global developments with long-term effects, which can change the future and should therefore be considered in strategy and policy development processes. Among the megatrends discussed in the project were climate change, demographic change (aging), social and cultural inequalities, urbanization, digital culture and knowledge-based economy. Guided by these megatrends, relevant external factors (drivers), which impact the living at Mühlviertler Alm were discussed for five areas: social, technological, economical, environmental and political developments (STEEP factors), and the most important influencing factors were identified. The findings were summarised in seven fields of actions:

  • Autonomy and health
  • Occupation, education and recreation
  • Communication (social, ICT)
  • Accommodation and public space
  • Mobility
  • Infrastructure (traffic, energy and ICT)
  • Environment and resources

For the development of a common vision of the Mühlviertler Alm for 2050, the workshop participants worked in small groups on the fields of action as well as on additional “disaster” fields of action and drew together representative pictures. In follow-up discussions, objectives were derived for each field of action and prioritised. A visual facilitator compiled the most important objectives in a new picture, which now depicted the common vision 2050 for the Mühlviertler Alm.

As a preparation for the second workshop, small groups developed three different types of scenarios: a) business as usual, b) sustainability, and c) disaster. To anchor the scenarios in daily routine activities the groups built their scenarios around a selection of different personas:

  • 35-year old top manager and mother of a handicapped child
  • 87-year old, wealthy widow
  • 53-year old, nursing male relative
  • 24-year old, female student in Cambridge

The project team subsequently added to the scenarios the trends and drivers that had been previously identified by the workshop participants.

Stakeholder Workshop II – Scenarios and Roadmap

Some volunteers among the workshop participants worked out the central turning points of each of the scenarios and presented them by means of improvisation theatre to the plenary audience.

Based on the visual and emotional impressions that the theatre play created in the audience, further objectives were derived and discussed within the frame of four key topics: health awareness, services of general interest & coordination office, diversity & inclusion and change process (politics & infrastructure).

As a result, for each key topic up to three main objectives were selected. The necessary actions for their implementation were defined and the most relevant actors singled out. These sets of measures were placed along a timeline and compiled to a roadmap according to the estimated time of implementation.

Stakeholder Workshops III & IV – Services & Action Plan

During an evening event the roadmap was presented to and discussed with regional service providers and other economic operators in order to add practical ideas for AAL solutions in the following areas: social interaction, information & education, occupation, mobility, health & wellness, hobbies, care at home, supply of everyday consumer goods & support with household tasks, and safety & privacy. Ultimately, four key topics could be identified as the core topics of Mühlviertler Alm:

  • Mobility
  • Social inclusion
  • Health incl. telemedicine
  • Comfort & living

In the fourth stakeholder workshop these topics were taken up and defined more specifically concerning objectives and contents in action plans. By means of “collaborative mapping” all relevant services and actors of the region that could be relevant for a follow-up project were gathered and visualized on a map.

Approaching the Needs of the Elderly

Mobility

Remaining mobile even in old age is of uttermost importance in rural areas that are characterised by long-distance ways for daily routines. Mobility is often also a prerequisite for social inclusion of old and impaired people and participation in social life. There is a need for a wide variety of individual transport for elderly and impaired people. Transport services need to be flexible in terms of booking services and availability, e.g. with short waiting times. Building up a network of transport service providers is therefore essential. Information on the availability of barrier-free busses, their timetables and existing boarding aids and wheelchair accessibility on vehicles as well as shared taxis for quick and flexible trips (e.g. to physicians or for leisure time activities) could be provided via mobile apps and ICT-supported lift-sharing exchange. All offers could also be collected on a simple internet platform for mobility offers.

Social Inclusion: Information Platform & Coordination Office

The local communities want to have access to and be able to exchange information in the best possible way. For issues concerning care and nursing, a coordination office (e.g. for multi-professional services) would ensure an optimal information transfer to the public, when needed. The office should be located centrally and could also serve as a hub for telemedicine services. A web-based platform could constitute another source of information for the population. It can serve as a market place for supply and demand of various sorts, e.g. meetings for senior citizens, midday meals organised as social events, or other cultural, sportive leisure time activities. Such an events calendar ideally embeds functions for registration for the events as well as for mediation of shared lifts in private cars or shared taxis and buses that offer also transportation of wheel-chairs, etc. It can also provide information and booking facilities for mobile care and nursing services, experts and delivery of goods. A crucial prerequisite for the acceptance of such a platform is the simple operation and intuitive handling of the platform by the users.

Health incl. telemedicine

Establishing structures which ensure the care and medical surveillance / monitoring of health data and alarm functions for threatening deviations is also important for the region. Such structures would particularly help people with chronic diseases to live longer in their own homes. To benefit of telemedicine services it will be important to develop a system that integrates already existing measuring devices such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucose meters or warning devices in case of falls. Simple operation of such telemedicine devices is again the key to widespread use. Tying in with the idea of a coordination office the residents of the region also wish for immediate help in emergency situations. A competent medical phone service with decision-making competency that is available around-the-clock and linked to a medical care network could be based in the coordination office and compensate for physicians off duty.

Comfort & Living

Autonomous living with comprehensive care in one’s own home is of major importance in the region. Medical care should be available across the region and flexible enough to cater for the needs of the residents. There is also need for social networks of neighbourly help, including support for household tasks and help in the garden. Supply of everyday goods should be ensured by means of service providers that could be contacted via mobile app. In addition, homes should be “smart” and provide a system of automatic components, such as door openers, automatic night lights, fall alarms, as well as assistance systems for automatic notification of attendants in emergency situations. IT professionals and other service providers should be available in the region to ensure installation, maintenance and repair work when needed.

Authors: Manuela Kienegger    manuela.kienegger@ait.ac.at
Sponsors: FFG – Austrian Research Promotion Agency
Type: Social Foresight as part of an exploratory study for a test region for ambient assisted living
Organizer: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Verband Mühlviertler Alm
Duration: 2015 Budget: € 126,000 Time Horizon: 2025 (2050) Date of Brief: August 2016

 

Download EFP Brief No. 263: The Future of Aging in Upper Austria

Sources and References

This foresight brief is based on the final report of the Project WEGE2025.

Kienegger, M. et al. (2016). WEGE2025 – Unsere Wege in eine altersgerechte Region 2025 – Selbstbestimmt leben im Mühlviertel. Endbericht zum Projekt Nr. 846222 im Auftrag der FFG. AIT-IS-Report, Vol. 119

EUROSTAT (2015). Population age structure by major age groups, 2004 and 2014 (% of the total population). [Accessed 28/07/2016]

EFP Brief No. 259: Austrian Materials Foresight

Friday, February 26th, 2016

The Austrian Material Foresight study was carried out in order (a) to underline and strengthen the awareness by the most important stakeholders for materials research and materials production in Austria, (b) to initiate and support innovative actions in structural material developments, and (c) to open new ideas and concepts beyond the already supported topics so that the research site and manufacturing base in Austria receive more foundation.

Challenges in the Austrian Manufacturing Industry

The Austrian manufacturing industry has been faced with off-shoring of production sites, low growth rates in Europe, limited availability of raw materials, and increasing costs of resources, with a simultaneous dumping on the domestic market. All these factors have been accompanied with changes in the value system of the society and with stricter legal regulations in recent years. To avoid these obstacles, a stronger focus on research and innovation is required.

Traditionally the Austrian economic power depends on the production and processing of materials, and a big share of the value chain is influenced by materials technology. Materials belong to the so called “enabler technologies” and lay the basis for innovations in automotive, aviation, machine engineering, ICT, medical technology and many other industries. Especially the steel industry plays a key role in Austria, represented through a highly specialized foreign trade with a focus on machines, production facilities and vehicles.

High-performance Materials  and Products in the Future

The Austrian Ministry for Transport Innovation and Technology initiated the study “Austrian Material Foresight” in order to examine possible strategies to support Austria’s position in the segment of high-performance materials and products in the future. Main objective was to develop future scenarios (horizon 2030) for the high-tech materials sector in Austria involving the expertise of universities, industry and organizations. Following aspects were particularly considered:

  • Identification of key factors and drivers for the progression of the materials industry and materials research in a national, European and global context.
  • Characterization of robust trends in the materials industry and research.
  • Illustration of Austria’s special role in future materials industry and research.
  • Building a basis for the co-creation of future European materials industry.

Future Scenarios as the Core of the Process

The Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials (ASMET), the Montanuniversität Leoben, and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH designed and accomplished the project “Materials Foresight” for developing scenarios for the manufacturing bases in Austria. The challenge was to address all four structural materials such as steel, non-ferrous metals, polymers, and ceramic each regarded together with their composites for high-tech technologies along the whole value chain.

 

The methodology for the project (see figure 1) was based on the organizational structure with the core project team, the advisory board, the expert team, the procedure for the whole project and the process applied in the workshops, and the involvement of a broader community via conference and the media.

Figure 1: Organizational structure of  „Austrian Materials Foresight“
259_Bild1

The work was organized in three phases. Figure 2 presents the main tasks in each phase. It shows the development of future scenarios as the core of the process, accompanied by an environmental analysis, by constructive discussions with the advisory board, and the future conference and constitutive work with stakeholders.

  1. The preparation phase contains the collection of future trends and challenges within an environmental analysis. The Austrian situation with terms of implementation, the results of a roadmap of high performance materials, the participation of Austrian institutions in the seventh EU Framework Program, and the current national funding program on intelligent production (FFG Funding Program Production of the Future) were described and key factors were identified. To structure the key factors of the project team works with a STEEP analysis. Based on the results of the preparation phase, the scenario workshops are designed.

 

  1. In the main phase, scenario workshops on steel, nonferrous metals, polymers, ceramics and their composites were conducted together with representatives from the materials industry, materials science, the economic chamber and clusters, and the government. The previously identified key factors with the highest value for influence and uncertainty were chosen for the projection process, where the workshop participants in smaller groups worked out the projection of the selected key factors for 2030. For each materials group, the future products and the research topics were derived from the scenarios. Additionally, measures necessary to achieve the future perspectives were suggested by the participants of the workshops.

 

  1. In the shaping phase, the results of the workshops were analyzed and summarized in order to prepare for the discussion with experts in the first Austrian Future Conference on Materials. More than 300 participants of the conference were informed and attended discussions, which helped to disseminate awareness, results, and new ways of thinking. A press conference aimed to create awareness of the problems and results in the media. In a last meeting with the advisory board and some further experts a plan for the next steps was worked out.

 

Figure 2: Three phases of „Austrian Materials Foresight“

259_Bild2

Key Factor: Energy

The assessment of the key factors as a summary of all four materials fields shows that energy (in availability and hence in price) is the most important factor for the materials industry. The cost effective availability is the second most important factor, which influences research and production of materials technologies. Rank three is a political issue, namely the public support in research. The next important factor is the value development of society. The values of a society have thus a big influence on the materials technologies. The fifth rank goes to economic growth, followed by factors like environmental legislation, qualification, financial market, globalization, and production and manufacturing.

 

The cross-section research topics play an important role in each of the four materials fields (steel, non-ferrous metals, polymers, ceramic). Advanced materials 2.0 means a next generation of materials with new features, also new hybrid materials with new applications. Advanced materials 2.0 presents the biggest share of all cross-section topics, followed by sustainable materials and recycling. The third rank goes to continuous materials improvement followed by innovative flexible manufacturing processes and then energy efficiency in production. Testing for materials and production and modeling and simulation are also important cross-section topics.

 

From Concept to Impact:Strengthening the Materials Community

 

Besides the long-term verified scenario planning, this specific foresight proves that a very well‐developed concept can be a key success factor for the whole process. The excellence in each of the three aspects of the concept, methodology expertise, materials expertise, and network and knowledge about the stakeholders in materials industry, in materials science, as well as in politics and how one can get support from the most influential people is one of the building blocks for the success of this project.

Figure 3: Scheme of project concept

bild3

The three aspects in figure 3 were well represented in the project with the Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials (ASMET) with focus on experts and stakeholders networks, the Montanuniversität Leoben with the competence in materials, and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology with methodology experience. However, the cooperation of all three organizations and the willingness to learn from each other made the project successful and strengthened the “materials” community.

 

Furthermore, the project could help to create awareness in this community as well as in the funding agencies and the ministry for what is already funded and supported by the national funding system, and also for what is still missing in the funding programmes. A follow-up project will be dealing in particular with working out and assessing research and project ideas with the potential for disruptive innovation. The addressed community during the foresight is also supporting the impact for disruptive innovation in the future.

 

Authors: Marianne Hörlesberger                      marianne.hoerlesberger@ait.ac.at

Bruno Hribernik                                bruno.hribernik@voestalpine.com

Brigitte Kriszt                                   brigitte.kriszt@unileoben.ac.at

André Uhl         andre.uhl@ait.ac.at

Sponsors: FFG (The Austrian Research Promotion Agency) on behalf of Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology
Type: National Foresight Project
Organizer: ASMET (Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials); Bruno Hribernik
Duration: 2013 – 2014
Budget: € 150,000
Time Horizon: 2030
Date of Brief: February 2016

Download EFP Brief No. 259: Austrian Materials Foresight

Sources and References

This brief is based on the following article, in which the findings are discussed in more detail:

Hörlesberger, M., Kriszt, B., Hribernik, B. (2015). Foresight for the Enabling Technologies Materials. In: Pretorius, L., Thopil, G., (eds.)  Graduate School of Technology Management, University of Pretoria, Proceedings of the 24th International Association for Management of Technology Conference, 08th – 11th June, Kapstadt, pp. 449-464.

Hribernik, B.; Kriszt, B.; Hörlesberger, M. (2014). Foresight für Hochleistungswerkstoffe zur Stärkung des Wissens- und Produktionsstandortes Österreich. Study on behalf of BMVIT. (http://asmet.org/austrian-materials-foresight/)

References

Cuhls, K. (2012). Zukunftsforschung und Vorausschau. In: FOCUS‐Jahrbuch 2012. European Foresight Platform (efp). ForLearn. http://www.foresightplatform.eu/community/forlearn/.

Geschka, H.; Von Reibnitz, H. U. (1983). Die Szenario‐Technik ‐ ein Instrument der Zukunftsanalyse und der strategischen Planung. In: Töpfer, A. und Afhelt, H. (Hrsg.): Praxis der strategischen Unternehmensplanung; Frankfurt/Main: Matzner; S. 125‐170.

Keenan, M. (2002). Technology Foresight: An Introduction, Institute of Innovation Research, University of Manchester, UK.

Martin, B. (2001). Technology foresight in a rapidly globalizing economy.

Martin, B., R. (2010). The origins of the concept of ‘foresight’ in science and technology: An insider’s perspective. IN Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 77, 1438–1447.

Miles, I.; Keenan, M. (2003). Overview of Methods used in Foresight, in [UNIDO 2003].

Von Reibnitz, H. U. (1992). Szenario Technik: Instrumente für die unternehmerische und persönliche Erfolgsplanung, Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag.

EFP Brief No. 231: FreightVision Austria 2050

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The project Freight Vision Austria 2050 (FVA2050) aimed at providing a foresight study of freight transport and logistics futures in Austria by 2050. The intention was to explore the future of freight transport and logistics in particular, looking at technological progress and future innovation opportunities. A second aim was to outline a shared vision of an Austrian freight transport system by 2050 that would achieve European as well as national environmental and transport policy targets. The project FVA2050 was structured similarly to the European project FreightVision Europe (FVE 2050). FVA2050 was commissioned by the innovation section of the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology. The objective was to set priorities and give a synopsis of key technologies and future innovation opportunities.

Coping with Increasing Demand for Freight Transport

Similar to economic growth, demand for freight transport in Europe is expected to double by 2050. As integration of the European internal market progresses and Europe represents one of the most competitive economic regions of the world, export industries all over Europe are expected to grow. This will particularly concern small, export-oriented national economies at the centre of Europe, such as Austria, which are strongly affected by freight transportation. Experts estimate that freight transport will increase across all transport modes.

Rising pressure on infrastructure capacity, an increasing environmental burden and upcoming conflicts over failing to achieve CO2 emission and noise reduction targets are likely. However, from a regional perspective, increase in transport demand might not affect the overall transport network in Austria apart from the main traffic axes. FVA2050 was informed by the general vision of the European Commission for a most competitive and sustainable transport system in Europe. This includes “growing transport and supporting mobility while reaching the 60% CO2 reduction target” (European Commission 2011, p.5). However, priorities from a regional perspective may differ from those defined at the European level. Other environmental policy targets, such as particulate matter or noise and vibration reduction, can be considered equally important.

Most freight transport in ton/kilometres is regional and not long distance freight transport. From a regional perspective, future scenarios revolving around reregionalisation are thus more feasible than scenarios based on internal market integration and globalisation. From a regional point of view, traffic congestion is a problem of infrastructure bottlenecks and not of the overall European transport network. The main challenge here is to coordinate environmental and transport-related policy targets across different policy levels and policy areas.

Stakeholder and Expert-driven Approach

The FVA 2050 project pursued an expert-driven, forwardlooking approach. Stakeholders and experts from different areas relevant to freight transport in Austria participated. Among them, in particular, demand-side actors from transport and logistics companies, but also researchers, NGOs and public administration representatives at the national and the state level (Länder). The aim of FVA 2050 was to explore possible futures of freight transport and logistics in Austria up to 2050. The participating stakeholders and experts outlined a shared vision and, in the process, blueprinted structural change in the freight transportation system to achieve the European CO2 emission targets and other transport and environmental policy objectives, such as minimising road fatalities, abating noise and particulate matter pollution and reducing congestion. Ideas and opinions on how to transform the current freight transport system towards this vision were discussed in detail, particularly ideas concerning technology and innovation pathways towards the future.

Scenarios and Socio-economic Trends and Trend Breaks

In the first workshop, the initial task was to outline framework scenarios describing possible socioeconomic futures that reflect the social and economic environment in which freight transport and logistics activities can be imagined to take place in the future. Four framework scenarios came out of this exercise: two scenarios reflecting current socio-economic trends and two scenarios taking potential trend breaks into account. Drivers, trends and trend breaks were jointly investigated. The experts drafted storylines for socioeconomic scenarios in group exercises and later developed them into coherent future stories:

· Trend scenario “Growth and liberalisation”
· Trend scenario “Growth and regulation trends”
· Trend break scenario “Oil & energy price shocks”
· Trend break scenario “Regionalisation & shrinking”

In the second foresight forum, the participants identified relevant technology and innovation pathways towards the future from a present point of view and perspective. They assessed options and obstacles of technological progress from the present to the future and opportunities for future innovations, considering the socio-technical context embedding and the socio-economic conditions shaping them. The final task of the second foresight workshop was to sketch out a shared vision of a structurally changed freight transport system for Austria that would allow to attain the different policy targets by 2050. The third foresight workshop was dedicated to further specifying the vision of a structurally changed freight transport system by 2050, including the main actions necessary to achieve it. However, in the end, the focus was mainly on technological steps towards this vision.

The main mission of FVA 2050 was to identify relevant priorities for the upcoming process of setting the national technology research agenda for research and innovation funding. A final, rather normative exercise allowed to define more radical technological steps. The incremental key technology and innovation opportunities initially identified by an explorative method were thus complemented by a range of blue-sky and out-of-the-box technology and far horizon innovation opportunities. The foresight exercise created a vision for a structurally changed Austrian freight transport system by 2050 and drafted a range of socio-economic framework scenarios.

Finally, the major outcomes were a synopsis and a prospective assessment of key technologies and future innovation opportunities up to 2050 and beyond. Around 80 experts and stakeholders of the Austrian freight transport system participated in FVA 2050, an average of 30 participants in each workshop. The foresight was implemented by a consortium of six partners: the AIT Departments Foresight & Policy Development and Mobility, the Department of Logistics at the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria and the Department of Production Logistics Management at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna. ProgTrans AG from Switzerland delivered a transport demand outlook for 2050. Transver Gmbh delivered an environmental impact assessment referring to the transport demand trends of ProgTrans AG. Most partners had already been involved in the European funded foresight FreightVision Europe (2007–2009).

They were thus invited to propose a similar forwardlooking and foresight activity for Freight Transport and Logistics 2050 and beyond in Austria. The Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), the two major Austrian funding agencies (FFG, AWS) and the two major national rail and road infrastructure operators (OEBB, ASFINAG) assisted the foresight. They were all involved in an advisory board.

Shift to Rail versus Electrification of Road Transport

The foresight study Freight Vision Austria 2050 was performed during three large stakeholder workshops. Most of the stakeholders participated in all three workshops, which gave the exercise a particular continuity. Prior to each workshop a discussion paper was drafted by the consortium members and distributed among the participants. This discussion paper was based on desk analyses and outcomes of the preceding workshops.

The future dialogue started with an intensive discussion of the transport demand outlook presented at the first workshop. The prognosis anticipated a doubling of freight transport demand by 2050. This growth in freight transport demand can be expected to lead to a relevant increase in transport activities across all transport modes. An increasing shift to rail transport and even a bigger increase in road transport is estimated. Inland waterway transport is expected to remain at moderate levels due to exterior infrastructure.

The transport demand outlook and the projections of freight transport activities by 2050 were discussed controversially. On the one hand, the experts agreed that a significant increase in transport could be expected to come with economic growth. On the other hand, the experts questioned the anticipated doubling of trans-European freight transport, pointing out that a return to a regionalisation of production networks and supply chains could change the trend. However, the outlook gave definite alert that freight transport is expected to increase until 2050. Particularly on the main axes, transport infrastructure capacities in Austria may not at all be prepared to accommodate such growth.

The rather controversial discussion in the beginning motivated the preparation of four distinct socio-economic framework scenarios. At first, storylines were developed and elaborated into coherent stories of potential socioeconomic futures. In a second step, the scenarios were discussed regarding their overall feasibility. For example, the scenario on growth and liberalisation was assessed as less feasible than initially expected. The experts did not perceive it to be an option to leave freight transport futures to liberal markets alone; regulation and public policy were considered just as necessary to cope with increasing freight transport demand. Thus the second trend scenario on growth and regulation was seen as more feasible than the first scenario of full market liberalisation.

The experts anticipated a future of European freight transport where the primacy of the “free movement of goods” should no longer be interpreted as free choice among all means of transport along all European transport infrastructure axes. The Zurich Process for cross-alpine freight transport (CAFT) – a cooperation between the transport ministers of the alpine member states – was an example mentioned in this context. The experts pointed out that they explicitly expect a trans-European initiative to push the road to rail shift in the future.

Rising Oil Price as Moderate Driver towards New Technologies

Even more interesting was the dialogue regarding the two trend-breaking scenarios. The first of these socioeconomic scenarios was rather similar to trend break scenarios in other transport-related foresight exercises. None of the experts rated an oil price increase as a shock event but as a moderate driver towards technological alternatives such as the electrification of road transport or alternatively fuelled vehicles. Another discussion focussed on a return of regionalisation and local production networks. Instead of more European market integration, the shrinking of the internal market was seen as a potential socioeconomic future triggered by increasing global protectionism and global economic conflicts. By comparison, in 2009, such a socio-economic framework had not at all been envisioned in FreightVision Europe 2050.

In the second foresight workshop, the discussion focussed on relevant environmental and transport policy targets for freight transport futures. It was difficult to come to a conclusion. Although there are strong trends toward harmonising environmental and transport policy targets in the European multilevel governance system, there is obviously still an open debate whether these objectives ought to be seen as a planning horizon or as guidelines for the future. Policy targets at one policy level may conflict with policy targets at other levels. The involved stakeholder and expert group decided to take European policy targets in addition to national targets as a frame of reference while addressing this frame in a rather general way based on a shared vision of how to shape the Austrian freight transport system by 2050 (structural change) by taking into account an increase in freight transport demand by 30-40% by that time.

Towards a “Network of Networks”

As the core of this foresight process, a shared vision of the Austrian freight transport system in 2050 was blueprinted. The participants illustrated their ideas and visions in a group exercise and further discussed their ideas and expectations for the future. All illustrations were integrated in a single shared vision scenario. A European transport network will be achieved by 2050. European legislation will serve to drive and harmonise environmental and transport regulations. However, a single European transport network is expected to be achieved as a network of networks with a European main axes infrastructure network at its core, but tightly connected with inter-regional, regional and urban mobility networks. Communication and information technologies will progress and allow to more closely connect these networks while allowing for many alternative mobility patterns for travelling and transporting goods. In a far-distant perspective, private sector mobility and transport might decline since European industries can be expected to more strongly revolve around knowledge-based services.

In 2050, freight transport at medium (up to 300 km) and long distance (above 300 km) will be fully intermodal, with a considerable shift to rail transport. European infrastructure axes for all transport modes will be integrated into one single corridor network. Road transport (below 300 km) will be widely electrified with large numbers of charging stations providing the necessary infrastructure. However, electrification of road transport may not be feasible for heavy duty transport. Last-mile transport will still be mainly road-based and rely on individual transport modes. Automated systems and pipe networks are expected to be deployed in urban areas.

Logistics in 2050 will be organised rather centrally under strict rules and requirements set at the European level. Third parties are going to organise logistics in crossregional or regional and urban distribution networks. Large interregional distribution centres will be established on a European scale. Tri- and bimodal hubs will be situated along the main transport corridors near manufacturing sites and will profit from information and communication concentration and renewable energy clusters (smart grids). Significantly improved freight demand management will reduce empty and half-full trips; this will include alternative modes of operation, for instance so-called milk runs for circular distribution.

Another main exercise in the foresight FVA2050 was to sketch a list of technology trends in the near (2020), medium (2035) and distant future (2050). The main areas discussed in the transport-related technology and innovation debate were:
· Intelligent transport systems
· Green freight and logistics
· Intermodal freight transportation
· Innovative infrastructure technologies

In these areas, particular technology and innovation pathways were assessed. Communication and information technologies as well as alternative vehicles and new materials were introduced as enabling technologies.

Smart Technologies to Improve Capacity, Greening and Safety

From 2020 to 2035, supply and transport chains will be further “smartened” by ICT. Information management systems will enable systems that calculate ecological impact. Between 2035 and 2050, most infrastructure and freight vehicles will be equipped with communication modules enabling real-time multimodal transport information. Autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle systems are expected to increase capacity and safety by platooning. A similar revolution like the container will provide new opportunities for intermodal transport with swap bodies to serve the European internal market. Automated harbour and hinterland transport, including vertical and horizontal loading systems, is expected to allow 24-hour operation. A European transport network will include a Europe-wide network of intermodal transport hubs. Transport infrastructure will be connected to energy infrastructure as a smart mobility/energy grid. In a distant perspective, from 2035, distributive intelligence in command and control will give rise to decentralised robot systems: smart objects, pipe networks and other simple track systems.

New Alternatives for Distances above 300 km

One of the key questions raised in FVA 2050 was if electrification of road freight transport might also be viable at medium and long distances in the future – a measure that is thought to play a significant role in achieving future European CO2 emission reduction targets. Experts believe that a shift to rail freight transport for distances above 300 km and even below 300 km for regional distribution will be a significant option in the long term. However, additional measures are required, for instance, regional rail/road distribution centres serving the first and last mile by an electric fleet. This has direct implications for future mobility and transport as well as transport-related technology and innovation policies.

Download the brief: EFP Brief No. 231_FreightVision Austria 2050.

Sources and References

COM(2011) 144: White Paper. Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2011:0144:FIN:EN:PDF

Seibt, C., Rath, B., Wilhelmer, D., Zajicek, J., Toplak, W., Hofmann-Porkopczyk, H., Starkl, F., Bauer, G., Stefan, K., Schmiele, J. (2012): Freight Vision Austria 2050. Final Report. AIT Report No. 42, Vienna, see www.ait.ac.at/fva2050

EFP Brief No. 206: Future Strategies for Ageing Management in the Working World of Salzburg Province

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The projected demographic change and the resulting necessity of a longer working life represent considerable challenges for (1) the individual quality of life and work of employees, (2) the innovative capacity and productivity of companies and (3) the negotiability of the welfare state. As its goal, the foresight project set out to analyse the concrete situation and development potential of the working world in the Province of Salzburg and depict the options for taking action at the micro-level (individual), meso-level (organisations) and macro-level (socio-political actors) in the form of scenarios. The project placed particular emphasis on transferring research results into practice.

Demographic Change in Salzburg Province

As in all of Europe, Salzburg Province also conforms to the population development trend that has been evident now for decades: a rising number of older people in retirement in contrast to a consistently sinking number of younger people of employment age. Because of this, a longer term of employment is required in order to secure the social systems and to maintain economic strength.

Simultaneously, the employment-related difficulties are increasing for those in the workforce, for instance, through more rapid and increasingly complex work processes, time pressure or the devaluation of professional qualifications over time. In addition, a lack of professional specialists is expected, which is heightened further by the demographic development.

In order to meet the challenges arising from the change in population structures and the workforce, it is important to become proactive and take determined measures in a timely fashion.

In research and politics, the need for action is recognised in principle; however, there are deficits in implementing large-scale and in-depth problem-solving options in practice. Therefore, the project begins with sensitising and supporting actors in implementing age management in the working world.

Flaws in Existing Concepts

Existing concepts…

… neglect the holistic perspective, are attentive exclusively to the target group of employees who are already older at present, and focus only on certain fields of action;

… do not give enough attention to individual actors whose interests often contradict each other and result from short-term thinking;

… presuppose that companies have a certain resource potential. These concepts are therefore not suitable to the general conditions of the smaller companies characteristic of Salzburg Province.

In addition, many actors appear to be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem and the numerous recommendations of how to tackle it. They often react to this by postponing necessary measures or even refusing to take action.

A Holistic View on Ageing in the Working World

Against this background, a two-part project structure emerged. First of all, it was important to grasp the specific situation in Salzburg Province in a basic research phase and to analyse the developmental stages to be expected in each of the topic areas and fields of action at the different societal levels (individuals, organisations, socio-political actors) that are significant for the further development of the regional labour market. Parallel to this, the project sought to identify the factors so far preventing employment appropriate for an ageing workforce. A further emphasis of this research phase was how age management concepts should be conceived for small companies to be able to apply them.

On the other hand, the focus was placed on attempts to put the research findings into practice in an implementation-oriented transfer phase. Particular attention was paid to the enterprise and branch structure of Salzburg Province. The transfer phase involved an awareness-raising process regarding age management in the working world. The target groups here were both the companies as well as their employees – from the apprentice on up to the senior employee.

The aim of the project “Future Strategies for Ageing Management in the Working World of Salzburg Province” is to set impulses for a working world in which companies facilitate the work capabilities of employees and societal structures are created to enable longer employment with a high quality of work life for everyone. In the process, it is important to take the diverse fields of action into consideration that together form a working world appropriate to ageing (Fig. 1).

Innovations for Demographic Change in Work Life

The target variables in the basic research phase were (1) the individual quality of life and work of employees, (2) the innovative capability and productivity of the companies and (3) the negotiability of the welfare state. With an eye to these main target variables, we analysed the challenges resulting from the ageing of the population for individuals, companies and socio-political actors and determined the measures to be taken to establish a living and working environment appropriate to ageing and the barriers in the way of implementing urgently needed measures. The complexity of the problems was described from multiple perspectives using the scenario technique in which the potential consequences of successful or, in some cases, unsuccessful age management was systematically varied on several levels.

Methodical Procedure

In an initial step, we reviewed the findings in the relevant research literature and of previous projects. In a second step, we conducted interviews with regional and supra-regional experts who were able to give a first overview of the relevant factors regarding developments in the working world.

Expanding on the analysis of research to date and the explorative interviews with the experts, a total of four extensive structural analysis workshops (MICMAC) were organised for the central fields of action (education, health, business operations and society). These structural analyses were conducted by involving regional actors who were noted for their positions of authority and professional competence in each particular field of action.

Based on the workshop results, influential factors decisive for the working world of Salzburg Province were identified and their reciprocal effects were described in a consistency analysis. Systematic variations allowed projecting numerous potential paths of development in the Salzburg working world. The three most plausible and significant development tracks were then compactly designed as scenarios.

In this way, the first project track led to differentiated scenarios that illustrate the complexity of the topic while allowing to integrate the individual research results. Thus, the scenarios primarily enabled formulating the comprehensive and complex connections resulting from the demographic changes for the company context and beyond. They were meant to create awareness for the problem and were used as the basis for a second, practice-oriented project track, involving a maximum diversity of actors across all sectors. This second step was aimed at devising ways of giving higher priority to the necessary long-term structural and behavioural changes over short-term planning horizons.

Scenarios: Creating a Working World Appropriate for Ageing

The scenario process revealed that the degree of activity on the political and operational level is significant for establishing age management in the working world. Political and operational activity thus form two axes along which the scenarios vary, leading to three conceivable scenarios. The fourth scenario in this scheme based on active political and reactive operational activity was excluded as implausible.

Scenario 1: Everyone for Him/Herself

In the first scenario, neither political nor company actors are actively involved in age management in the working world. Everyone struggles on his or her own and is driven by the demands prevailing in the modern working world.

Scenario 2: Leader of the Pack

The second scenario depends on high initiative within the company itself. With persistence and readiness to make investments, a few succeed in mastering the challenges of a changing working world. The political initiative is missing that is necessary to push the less innovative and strong enterprises towards appropriate management of ageing.

Scenario 3: Salzburg Gets Busy

In this scenario, the political and organisational actors take collaborative action and establish suitable working structures. Step by step, they create a working world appropriate to ageing.

Involving Older Employees, Young Workers & Socio-political Actors

The second line of the project centred on putting the research results into practice. Three scopes of application with different priorities were realised in order to make use of the lessons learned from the scenarios in the working world.

  1. The first module was to develop a model for age management in small and medium-sized businesses. Considering the particular situation especially of small-sized businesses, we developed instruments for assessing the current situation and sensitising actors to the problem of demographic change and devised measures to address the challenges. In a scenario workshop, employees were able to expand on what they expected regarding their own future career.
  2. A second module aimed at sensitising young workers. The apprentices were given opportunities to become familiar with the topic of “Labour and Age” in a creative way. They received information about the demographic change and its consequences for the working world and were instructed in a theatre workshop about preparing for the future challenges to be faced.
  3. The third and most important use of the scenarios was to sensitize socio-political actors. The scenarios provided a means of demonstrating to politicians, social partners and public institutions the underlying factors and connections and allowed to derive recommendations for action to establish age management in the working world.

The practical experience modules were carried out in close collaboration with the Salzburg Occupational Health Services Centre for healthful employment, which plans to implement the project results in its future work with companies and their employees.

Individual and Structural Adaptation Strategies

Demographic changes take place over relatively long periods of time. Seen from one angle, this enables projecting demographic trends relatively reliably, but it also makes it more difficult to influence them in the short- and medium-term. For the actors in Salzburg Province, this means two things: they can influence the process of demographic change only to a very limited extent, and in shaping the working world, the task consists mostly of adapting to future developments with expectancy and efficiency. Against this background, the research process brought forth the following findings:

  1. Structure:

Successfully surmounting the challenges of demographic change requires that the actors in Salzburg Province coordinate their efforts. A particular responsibility falls to the political actors who are in charge of the general structural conditions providing the framework for the job market in Salzburg Province. Due to the complexity of the topic and the economic structure of the region with its many small businesses, it is hardly realistic to expect any comprehensive initiative on the organisational level, or as the case may be, independent initiative on the individual level. Decisive factors for the formation of age management in the working world in Salzburg Province are closely linked with the amount of political action, on the one hand, and with the amount of involvement at the company level, on the other. Individual behaviour in the working world in Salzburg Province can be viewed as a consequence of action at higher levels of social organization and cannot be expected to act as a major force in initiating change.

  1. Actual age at the onset of retirement:

The workforce must adapt to a longer working life. The political goal is to prolong working life and delay retirement. Early retirement based on exceptional circumstances and in cases of hardship is now more difficult. What measures are taken at the level of legislation and implementation will be decisive as to whether the extension of working life will be cushioned by welfare state regulations in socially responsible ways or whether the additional burden must be carried by each and every individual alone.

  1. Working capability:

The prerequisite for a longer working life is maintaining the ability to work. This poses a problem particularly in professions defined by hard physical labour and mental stress. Here it is rarely possible to remain healthy and motivated until legal retirement age. Thus, the primary goal must be to retain the individual ability to work. This pertains most of all to physical and mental health but also to skills and motivation.

  1. Skilled workers:

It is worth considering that a shortage of qualified workers in the wake of demographic change could lead to competition for the “best and brightest”, a situation already found today to some extent within some companies. Companies as well as the Salzburg Province itself are well-advised to shape the economic and other framework conditions so that the region remains an attractive economic location.

  1. Qualification and job market:

Not every group in the job market can be expected to live up to the demands of life-long learning. For this reason, we can assume that there will be stronger polarity in the job market between a group of well to very well qualified workers and a group of rather poorly qualified ones.

The better qualified will be highly sought after in the future and will perform challenging tasks whereas the rather poorly qualified workers will be left with the simpler and fairly stressful activities. The situation of the less qualified will worsen in the future due to the fact that certain qualifications will probably be required even for simple jobs. The demands in regard to knowledge, skills and proficiency will tend to rise even for positions requiring lower qualifications. Initiatives will thus be required in order to profitably integrate this part of the workforce in the working world throughout their entire working life.

  1. Women:

More strongly integrating women and retaining the ageing population in the job market would contribute to better utilising the potential workforce and better distributing stress in the working world. A very effective measure to that effect is improving structures for childcare.

  1. Attitudes and values:

Less concrete but no less effective than welfare state and company regulations are the ideas entertained throughout society about the working world. The images of the working world in the minds of the general population have a considerable influence on behaviour in the labour market, for instance, concerning job preferences and choice of profession. Deficit-oriented perceptions of ageing, stereotypical gender roles or assumptions about the stages in an employment biography strongly affect individual working behaviour. Changes in the “labour market culture” in the service of age management in the working world could be one of the most powerful influences of all.

Authors: Katja Linnenschmidt   katja.linnenschmidt@fh-salzburg.ac.at

Dirk Steinbach             dirk.steinbach@fh-salzburg.ac.at

Elmar Schüll               elmar.schuell@fh-salzburg.ac.at

Sponsors: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
Type: Regional foresight project covering a single issue
Organizer: Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Centre for Futures Studies
Duration: 11/2008–10/2011 Budget: € 400,000 Time Horizon: 2030 Date of Brief: Dec 2011

EFP Brief No. 206_Future strategies for ageing management in Salzburg Province

Sources and References

Ilmarinen, Juhani; Tempel, Jürgen (2002): Arbeitsfähigkeit 2010 – Was können wir tun, damit Sie gesund bleiben? VSA Verlag, Hamburg.

Steinbach, Dirk; Linnenschmidt, Katja; Schüll, Elmar (2011): Zukunftsstrategien für eine alternsgerechte Arbeitswelt – Trends, Szenarien und Empfehlungen. LIT-Verlag. Vienna.

www.fhs-forschung.at/zfz

EFP Brief No. 205: Technology Roadmap High Performace Metals 2020

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

To establish a basis for informed decision-making, the BMVIT, the Austrian ministry for traffic, infrastructure and industry commissioned the creation of a technology roadmap for high performance metals. The project was carried out by the Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials, ASMET, and its two project partners, the University of Leoben and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT former ARCS Seibersdorf). More than 100 experts from 80 institutions, mainly from industry, participated in preparing the technology roadmap. The breadth of contributors facilitated looking at and analysing trends and technology development from many viewpoints. The outcome is a representative picture of relevant trends and technological developments to be expected in the future in high performance metals.

Inter-institutional Technology Roadmap Approach for High Performance Metals

Austria, with its companies and research foci, puts an emphasis on materials and materials technology. Among the materials, high performance metals play a crucial role for the Austrian economy and its future development. In terms of technology policy, the questions to be answered by the development scenarios and the measures to be taken represent a generic challenge for a national technology strategy.

For Austrian businesses and research institutions, the very turbulent economic developments of the last years clearly show that focusing on technological and systematic development of these strengths can be seen as an essential contribution to economic survival. Operating in a field of tension between suppliers, competitors and customers, they must be well prepared for future technological scenarios.

We can assume today that new technologies have to be developed by 2020. For the study of high performance metals, a variety of development challenges will appear in advance of these future technological developments. In order to seize these industrial developments as an opportunity for innovation, materials development has to start significantly earlier in time. All new high-performance metals require an at least ten-year period for development before an innovation finds its way into practical applications. Even for incremental improvements of high performance metals, we must expect a development period of three to five years. It is therefore very important that industry and technology policy together work out development strategies beforehand.

To lay the groundwork for informed decision-making, a cross-technology roadmap for high performance metals processing has been developed, supported by BMVIT funding. The project was carried out by the Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials, ASMET and their project partners University of Leoben and ARCS Seibersdorf. More than 100 experts from 80 institutions were actively involved in creating the technology roadmap. The breadth of contributors made it possible to look at and analyse trends and technology developments from many different angles, giving a picture of the relevant developments in the future of high performance metals from the participants’ perspective.

The Roadmapping Process: Expert Opinions and Scenario Workshops

Methodically, the roadmapping process consisted of two major phases. A first phase was concerned with determining whether action is needed for creating a national inter-institutional technology roadmap for high performance metals in general. The key issues to be addressed in the roadmap were also defined. During this exploratory phase, more than 30 Austrian experts and managers were interviewed. It clearly showed that there is massive demand for an inter-institutional roadmap.

In order to place the need for action identified in the exploratory phase in a comprehensive overall context, the second phase of the technology roadmap considered industry-oriented technological developments and developed actions and necessary measures for advancing high performance metals. The leading industries investigated ranged from power engineering to the mobility industry, with the sub-sectors aerospace, automotive and railway, and from the metallurgical sector to mechanical engineering. In addition to the sector specific perspective, technological trends in the crosscutting field of environment and resource management were addressed. In a detailed analysis beforehand, existing technology roadmaps in similar areas were examined, especially from English-speaking countries. The analysis determined what the lasting changes in the respective industry were and what had led to these changes.

Participation and Workshops

In a series of workshops, we identified the relevant developments and measures that have to be taken. The workshops were attended by representatives from industry and research in the field of high performance metals and representatives of companies downstream in the supply chains of a particular industry.

A total of eight workshops were conducted, involving between 10 and 20 participants each. Each workshop was structured such that relevant trends were verified in the beginning and discussed in a first phase. Subsequently, the changes expected in the market by 2020 were identified.

In order to highlight the relevant developments, the selected challenges were prioritized. In a next step, the developments expected in the field of high performance metals and their production and processing technologies were worked out. The workshops concluded by prioritizing these developments.

The last part of each workshop was devoted to developing individual measures suited to meet the challenges. Written reports of the individual workshops were compiled to inform the participants about the results.

Subsequently, the results of all the workshops were condensed into a single report. This condensed report was then sent to all participants in the roadmap process for further comments. At the same time, the report served to clarify whether or not further experts needed to be consulted to answer additional questions or further expert meetings were required to address identified knowledge gaps.

Aggressive Research Needed for Austria to Maintain Position

All industries showed the same crossover scenarios. The problem of future energy availability is turning into a major driver of development. Global scenarios predicting social and economic growth outside of Europe dominate the critical paths of development for the business location Austria in the field of high performance metals. An essential result of the roadmap is that we can expect growth only in sectors where aggressive research efforts are combined and focused on technology for innovative processes and products. However, this will only happen in favourable niches or at least in areas where it is possible to defend the current position in the field of high performance metals. Basically, the proposed measures recommended in the technology roadmap can only succeed if Austria remains committed to being a production site for high performance metals. Regardless of the sector considered, the technology roadmap shows that a positive image for high performance metals and related production technologies must be built in order to attract appropriate human resources, to train junior staff and to increase the pool of knowledge workers significantly.

Mobility

Progress in the whole area of mobility is linked most intensively and significantly with innovations in the field of high performance metals. The technology roadmap focused on the automotive industry, aviation and railways. All three sectors are generally expected to grow by 2020 although the current economic crisis will reduce the growth rate. The pressure to innovate by creating new products and processes is growing, driven by international competition based on established research resources.

Dominant development issues in the field of mobility are lightweight, energy conservation and new drive concepts. The need for lightweight construction leads towards a unique competition of materials by substitution in the field of high performance metals. Considering the high performance metals only, those will be favoured that have low densities or perform with extremely high strength and stiffness properties. Life cycle assessment and the possibilities of recycling high performance metals after the use phase will gain much more importance than today in the selection of materials.

High performance metals, required to achieve new economic goals and technological solutions, are still in the basic research stage. Within the period considered in the technology roadmap, high performance metals have to be developed and optimised across all process steps in the value chains. Areas of development mentioned are metallurgy, metal forming, casting techniques, joining and surface technology. Solutions for technological problems will be increasingly coupled with a focus on cost-efficient production technologies. Today’s technologies are often limited by an increasing lack of technological development potential. The development of new breakthrough technologies would be required to implement innovations in the field of high performance metals.

The measures proposed aim at reaching a stronger interdisciplinary integration of research and technical areas and pursuing important systemic research issues in supercritical and visible international research units based on a sustainable and topic-oriented research funding landscape.

Power Engineering

The energy industry is characterized by strong growth in demand combined with inadequate availability and uneven global distribution of energy resources. Development scenarios show both an investment boom in the area of high performance power plants as well in the area of more local, autonomous power supply units. Performance and efficiency gains in thermal power plants are only possible with an increase in operating temperatures, pressures and in the dimensions of the major components and assemblies. Today’s materials solutions based on high performance metals do encounter limits in terms of fatigue, creep and corrosion resistance and can only be extended further by intensive materials science advancements. Innovation challenges are the development of customized materials solutions combined with a reliable and reproducible production technology. The increasing size of critical parts such as valves, turbine rotors or casings set technological limits to currently used technologies, such as casting or forming.

In the field of renewable energies, which will likely allow an autonomous energy supply, Austria’s development potential and thus the need for developing high performance metals was not rated very highly by the participating experts and companies. An issue that will gain even more importance in the future is energy transport and energy storage. The participants assessed them to be very user- and market-oriented already now.

Measures to promote high performance metals in the field of energy technology require a concentrated effort at developing knowledge about already known materials, including the development and optimisation of manufacturing technologies, such as casting, forming and joining technologies, and the structural design and testing of large components. This development must be aligned internationally and performed within major international networks to develop efficient and economically viable solutions. This also requires aligning research funding and grants accordingly. The subject of energy technology and high performance metals must in general be given more room and attention and must receive more sustainable funding in the Austrian research promotion and funding landscape because of its national strategic importance.

Metallurgical Engineering

The trends of development in metallurgical engineering again reflect the developmental needs and the developmental orientations of other industries. Thus, metallurgical mechanical engineering is faced with increasingly larger magnitudes of processed materials, growing demands on strength and difficulties in processing high performance metals. Due to the required heavy investment in development units, it is not expected that a breakthrough technology can be realized within the time frame of the roadmap. Improvements will rather have an incremental character; development potentials for high performance metals are identified where an increase in process efficiency and effectiveness can be realised or the lifetime of production facilities can be increased at higher levels of utilisation. Measures recommended are again intensified networking of metallurgy research with the metallurgical and downstream industries, as well as the increased use of modelling and simulation based on a sophisticated database. This will lead to better process control and knowledge-based further development of technological standards.

Environment and Resources

Environment and resource protection in the production of high performance metals is clearly a very important crosscutting issue, which no group of high performance metals can escape. The rising global demand for raw material resources raises questions concerning the availability and accessibility of raw materials by 2020. As demonstrated in the days before the economic crisis, volatile commodity prices are a serious problem, which cannot be solved by technological measures alone. From a technological perspective, the use of recycled materials in the production of high performance metals constitutes a major factor in relaxing this problem. The use of secondary metals to produce high performance steels has been successfully practiced for a long time already. However, in the field of high performance non-ferrous metals, there is still a lot of potential but also a correspondingly great need for research both in materials as well as in technology development.

Strong Stakeholder Interest in a Common Strategy

The revised report was submitted to the BMVIT for authorization. After the BMVIT released the results of the technology roadmap, they were presented to the general public and especially to the key players in the field of high performance metals as well as to all members of the ASMET association.

The stakeholders showed strong interest in the results of the process and appreciated the formulation of a common strategy document, which can be considered an informal effect of the project in the sector. The policy recommendations developed in the roadmapping process have been partially implemented in the context of targeted measures and individual projects.

Furthermore, in 2011, a project consortium, consisting of ASMET, the University of Leoben and the Austrian Institute of Technology, proposed a follow-up foresight to succeed the roadmapping process. The aim of the suggested foresight is to highlight the societal context of future developments in the materials sector on a global scale to go beyond a narrowly technological perspective in the roadmapping process. In addition, the submitted foresight proposal aims at identifying relevant framework conditions in order to facilitate political decision-making, not only in the field of high performance metals but for the Austrian materials sector as a whole.

Authors: Dr. Erich Kny                         erich.kny@ait.ac.at

Dana Wasserbacher              dana.wasserbacher@ait.ac.at

Sponsors: Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
Type: Single Issue
Organizer: ASMET – The Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials
Dr. Heimo Jäger                    heimo.jaeger@asmet.at

Montanuniversität Leoben
Dr. Brigitte Kriszt                   brigitte.kriszt@unileoben.ac.at

Duration: 07/2008–11/2009 Budget: € 150,000 Time Horizon: 2020 Date of Brief: Nov 2011  

 

Download EFP Brief No 205_Technology Roadmap High Performance Metals 2020

Reference

Jäger, H. (2009): Technology Roadmap High Performance Metals 2020. Final report, 1st issue. Leoben: ASMET– The Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials.

EFP Brief No. 141: Research, Technology and Innovation Policy in Vienna

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

In 2006, the City of Vienna initiated a far-reaching, open strategy process on the orientation of its future research, technology and innovation (RTI) policy. The aim was to develop, in a participatory process, a comprehensive strategic framework and concrete proposals for municipal RTI policy actions until the year 2015. By then, Vienna is aiming to be among Europe’s leading metropolitan areas in research, technology and innovation, as the hub of a network of research locations in the Central European Region (CENTROPE). The objectives, challenges and fields for action to be tackled in order to reach this position were translated into a set of concrete measures, some of which are to be started in 2008.

Vienna as a Centre of Science and Research in Central Europe

Vienna is the key centre for science and research in Austria as well as in the wider central European area to which it belongs. With its “twin capital” Bratislava being only 60 km away, it occupies a unique position in Central Europe. As mirrored in international benchmarks, the Austrian innovation system has gone through a phase of fast growth of R&D expenditures and internationalisation. Austria is increasingly recognised as one of the leading European countries in research. Austria has accomplished major structural reforms, affecting universities as well as research funding bodies, many of which are located in Vienna. Simultanously, several Austrian regions have initiated or reinforced their RTI policies. Vienna already launched an active RTI policy in the early nineties and was now confronted with the necessity to revisit the institutional and RTI policy landscape.

At the same time, new challenges were identified that would have to be tackled in order to keep pace with the international developments in science, technology and innovation, with new employment patterns and with the need to further upgrade research and innovation performance. In 2006, it was therefore decided to initiate a process of strategic debate, bringing the growing number of diverse actors together in an open and selfcritical debate.

Systems Research in the Urban Area: Groundwork for RTI Policy

The strategy process was built on solid ground. In addition to a number of specific studies, it drew on the results of the largescale research programme “Systems Research in the Urban Area” that provided the analytical groundwork and took first exploratory steps towards identifying future challenges to the RTI policy of the City of Vienna. The results of the programme later on served to fuel the debates in the different expert panels in the strategy process phase. The goal of this comprehensive research programme was to identify scientifically founded observations and analyses to underpin the development of an integrated, future-oriented urban research and innovation policy.
Initiatives in this urban policy area were expected to contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of firms in the city, thus fostering the socio-economic development of the Vienna metropolitan area by giving those impulses a regional government can specifically provide. Central to the research programme was the combination of different perspectives on the current situation of the urban innovation system.

Strategic Development in Four Scenarios

The preliminary results from the various analyses from different perspectives were brought together during a forwardlooking integration phase in spring 2006, i.e. before the start of the actual strategy process. In this phase, four scenarios were developed, which served as a backdrop for later elaborating elements of an RTI policy strategy for the city of Vienna. The essence of these four scenarios is captured in their titles:

  • Innovative niches: application potential of science
    and technology;
  • Fast second mover: exploitation in the focus;
  • Multi-centric excellence: leveraging complementarities;
  • Excellence4me: Vienna as a centre of science.

From Fragmentation to Strategic Action: “Wien denkt Zukunft“

Following this preparatory phase, which was initially not even intended to lead to a participatory strategy process, the main phase of the project “Wien denkt Zukunft” started in November 2006 with a major kick-off event attended by over 500 participants. The title “Wien denkt Zukunft” is actually a wordplay, which is not fully captured by the English translation “Vienna Looks to the Future – knowledge means change“. Over the following twelve
months, a broad participative debate on RTI policy strategies for the city was conducted. Many players coming from various units of the municipality, from universities and other research institutions,
from the education sector, and from (high-tech) business contributed to the process. The discussion was intended to develop a comprehensive strategy and vision for municipal RTI policies by both identifying areas for action and implementing adequate policy measures until the year 2015. The figure below shows the course of the described process:

141_bild1

Inspired by the preparatory research, four core themes were identified on which experts panels focused their work (see Figure 1):

  • RTI in business;
  • Research priorities and knowledge transfer;
  • Science and society;
  • Urban development for research.

Each of the panels was chaired by a leading actor in urban RTI policy, coming either from a municipal department in charge of research agendas or from a public research funding agency in charge of research agendas, in order to ensure the ownership and link with current policy initiatives. In addition, four crosscutting topics were included in the work of all panels:

  • Gender aspects;
  •  Human resources;
  • EU-policy;
  • Networking.

Viennese RTI Strategy Goes Public

The process started with a kick-off event (opening session) at City Hall with prominent proponents from politics, academia and business and several hundred participants. After the opening session, the panels established themselves and each panel met between three and five times over the following months. In addition, regular inter-panel meetings and meetings with the supporters were held throughout the whole period. A website served to document the discussion and also offered the public an opportunity to contribute to the process with own ideas and proposals throughout the whole period. The participatory nature of the strategic process is demonstrated by involving more then 100 players from various areas in the panelwork. Additionally, major public events were organized at the beginning, half-way through and at the end of the process in order to gather further input from a broad range of stakeholders, complemented by interactive tools made available on the accompanying website (www.wiendenktzukunft.at).

Identifying Ambitious Objectives

One of the goals of the strategy process was to identify targets and objectives for optimising the process of research and innovation with the help of the multi-level RTI policy measures used in Vienna. The identified targets and objectives for developing the RTI strategy for the city can be summarized as follows:

  • increase Vienna’s research expenditures to 4% of the gross city product;
  • 22,000 individuals employed in the R&D sector;
  • 800 companies engaged in R&D;
  • 20% of the population having a university degree;
  • 200 SMEs taking part in projects of the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7);
  • rate of female researchers in the business sector is to increase by 100 per cent.

Five Main Challenges

A cross-panel analysis revealed five main challenges that would need to be tackled over the coming six to ten years:

  • Making effective use of the potential for research, technology and innovation by creating adequate conditions for young people, irrespective of their origins, to pursue a successful career as scientists and researchers.
  • Enhancing RTI quality and visibility with respect to international competition for investors.
  • Embedding RTI into society: providing space and occasions for public discussion about RTI, its opportunities and challenges.
  • Accelerating the dynamics in RTI by creating adequate infrastructure.
  • Integrating Vienna RTI within European networks and strengthening co-operation within the CENTROPE region in order to create a common RTI area that will successfully compete in Europe and in the world.

Addressing the Challenges

Within its jurisdiction, the City of Vienna can provide stimuli for achieving the identified goals. Options for translating these goals into specific measures can be conceived along the lines of the main determinants of innovation ranging from push factors in the area of science (e.g. R&D subsidies, selective subsidies complementary to national subsidies), through acceleration of the transfer process (selective measures such as licensing initiatives, venture capital), to pull factors in the area of socio-economic demand or application potential on the demand side.

141_bild2

Bearing in mind this broad spectrum of options, the RTI process “Wien denkt Zukunft” identified five key fields for action on which the City of Vienna will concentrate its RTI policy in the next years:

  • Human resources – Bright Minds for Vienna: The goal of activities in this field is to make better use of the city’s enormous human resource potential. Various activities will serve to improve the prospects and conditions for highly qualified young scientists, with a special focus on gender issues and populations that have been neglected in the past (e.g. university graduates with a migration background).
  • Key areas – profile and relevance: Specific thematic areas that are both relevant and visible are to be supported, building in particular on the existing key areas of life sciences, information and communication technology and creative industries. In addition, the development of a number of new avenues of research and innovation is being promoted.
  • Research and the city – communication, learning and public awareness: The three terms form a catchphrase to express the serious interest in strengthening the critical public dialogue about RTI, both within Vienna and on the international stage. By means of a new set of measures called “Vienna research in dialogue”, a critical and continuous exchange of knowledge about RTI with the citizenry is to be fostered.
  • Vienna as a hothouse for research and innovation – facilitating new developments. Further improvement of working conditions for scientists and creative individuals are called for by providing local networks as breeding grounds for invention and creativity.
  • A European location for research and innovation – Vienna as a hub for international networks: Vienna is to be established as the centre of international research networks, and of networks in the CENTROPE region in particular. In this context, Vienna’s network-based location of research and innovation will be further strengthened.

The Schedule for 2008

Based on the objectives, challenges and measures identified during the strategic process “Wien denkt Zukunft”, several concrete proposals for new projects or initiatives were developed in the five fields of action. Six of these projects have been prioritised (“kick-off projects”) and are likely to be implemented in the coming two to three years (see Figure 2). For the year 2008, the initial three projects have been endowed with approximately 14 million euros.

  • Under the title of a “Keynote Programme” for the specific fields of research in the humanities, the social and cultural sciences (on the side of the already well established programmes for life sciences, information technologies and the creative industries) will be actively promoted. One of the first calls in this area was scheduled to start March 31.
  • Expansion of the “Research and the City” campaign. Under the slogan “Vienna research in dialogue”, the City will address essential contemporary and future issues in the field of science, research and technology. Communication between the various special interest groups and organisations will be encouraged and strengthened.
  • In revising the City of Vienna business promotion principles – “ZIT 08plus” – more attention will be given to crosscutting issues of RTI policies, such as promoting innovation in the service sector, encouraging research cooperation and gender mainstreaming.
Authors: Barbara Grunewald                                            barbara.grunewald@arcs.ac.at

Matthias Weber                                              matthias.weber@arcs.ac.at

Sponsors: City of Vienna
Type: Urban participative process, Focus on RTI
Organizer: Municipal Department MA 27, Christian Wurm  christian.wurm@wien.gv.at; www.magwien.gv.at/forschung
Duration: 2006-2007
Budget: n.a.
Time Horizon: 2015
Date of Brief: March 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 141_ RTI Policy in Vienna

Sources and References

More Information is available at :

  •  http://www.wiendenktzukunft.at
  • wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_lang.pdf
  • wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_kurz.pdf

An English summary is available at:

  • http://www.wiendenktzukunft.at/downloads/strategie_eng lish.pdf

For information concerning “Systems Research in the Urban

Area” visit

  • innovationspolitik-wien.ac.at

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