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Centre for Sustainability receives 1.33 million euros from BMBF to continue Ariadne Project

Building on insights from the first phase of the project, researchers at the Hertie School will analyse policy options and governance of the energy transition in Germany and Europe.

The Hertie School Centre for Sustainability, led by Professor of Climate Policy Christian Flachsland, has been awarded 1.33 million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) to carry out a second, three-year phase of the Kopernikus Project – Ariadne (Ariadne II). Ariadne II started in September 2023.

The grant is an extension of the Kopernikus Project Ariadne, an ambitious research project with 26 partner institutions in the fields of climate and energy policy, which began in June 2020 and concluded at the end of August 2023. Building on the work done in the first phase of the Ariadne Project, researchers will conduct analyses and propose evidence-based strategies that can help guide policymakers working on the net zero transition in Germany and Europe.

Addressing the key challenges of the net zero transition

The first phase of the Ariadne Project spanned the years of two major global shocks: the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. Against this backdrop, the first phase of the Ariadne Project revealed some of the key challenges for the success of the net zero transformation in Germany and Europe. These challenges include the need to accelerate and scale transformation, especially in the face of scarcity and technical constraints; the need for reliable and adaptable policy instruments; and the need to adapt to geopolitical upheavals and uncertainties. Policymakers must also keep in mind issues of social equity when planning for the energy transition.

Researchers at the Hertie School will lead research in two primary areas – the governance of the net zero transition and energy market design – in collaboration with other consortium partners. These research areas build on the expertise of the research teams at the centre. Ariadne Principal Investigator Christian Flachsland and the Climate Policy team will focus on conceptualising and analysing reform options for multilevel governance of climate policy in Germany in its international and EU context. They will also address the emergence of and options for a climate foreign policy strategy for Germany in the changing geopolitical constellation. The Energy Policy team, led by Professor of Energy Policy Lion Hirth, will focus on energy market design for a net zero emissions energy system.

Joint learning processes and active exchange with policymakers

The goal of Ariadne II is to illuminate the key challenges of the net zero transition and explore options for institutional and policy reform that can be used to meet these challenges. A key goal of the research is a shared and iterative learning process that engages with policymakers and other stakeholders in the development of policy insights. This learning process allows for research results to be shared, iterated and applied in real time. Given Germany’s goal to be climate neutral by 2045, the timely orientation, integration and transmission of sound scientific analysis is essential.


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