SFL researcher contributes to Horizon 2020 proposal INNOPATHS


The European commission has honoured the proposal INNOPATHS: Innovation pathways, strategies and policies for the Low-Carbon Transition in Europe. Dr. Friedemann Polzin as part of U.S.E. and the Sustainable Finance Lab (SFL) will investigate the financial dimension of this transition. The proposal with a volume of 6 million euros had been submitted in March 2016 by a consortium of leading European Universities in the field of innovation studies. It hinches on extensive stakeholder engagement for research and dissemination.

As of early 2017 Friedemann will start his 4-year research on financing the low-carbon transition, mainly working together with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. The consortium as a whole consists of University College London (Coordinator of this project), Euromediterranean Center on Climate Change, Italy, Aalto University, Finland, Warsaw University of Technology (WUT), Poland, Sciences Po (SPO), France, Science Policy Research (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK amongst others.

Summary of the project

The EU has long had decarbonisation ambitions, but there remains considerable uncertainty as to precisely how these ambitions will be achieved, or what the impacts of such achievement will be on the EU economy and society more generally. INNOPATHS will resolve this uncertainty to the extent possible, will characterise and provide a quantification of the uncertainty which remains, and will describe in great detail a number of possible low-carbon pathways for the EU, together with the economic, social and environmental impacts to which they are likely to lead. Therefore INNOPATHS develops an understanding the challenges of decarbonisation and the (technological) innovation needed to address them, present a detailed assessment of low-carbon technologies, their uncertainties, future prospects and system characteristics. Finally INNOPATHS researchers propose policy and innovation system reforms that will help the EU and Member States meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Contribution of SFL researchers

Based innovation financing literature and sector-specific modelling, the contribution of Friedemann (SFL/U.S.E.), ETH Zurich and PIK lies in the quantification of past and current investment flows to both incumbent high-carbon technologies as well as new low-carbon alternatives as well as funding sources. In addition potential finance gaps unaccounted for in existing pathways are identified by translating technology-specific investment/divestment demands into likely demands for different kind of finance. As a central piece, public-private sector risk-sharing as means to facilitate private sector finance and address demand-supply mismatches will be studied and finally instruments and conditions through which the financial sector could play an enabling role in the transition towards a low-carbon economy will be derived.

About Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.