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A collaborative project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the lead of Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Eligibility period:  01 July 2020 - 31 June 2023

Research grant: 294.828,00 EUR

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Shaping the energy system transformation together: Start of the Kopernikus research project Ariadne

From electricity supply to industry to the Paris climate targets, from individual sectors to the big picture: With the Ariadne project, a network of leading research institutions is now starting work on an unprecedentedly comprehensive research process to shape the energy system transformation. The aim of the three-year project is to better understand the impact of various policy instruments in order to develop socially sustainable energy system transformation strategies. Political decision-makers, business representatives and citizens will be involved from the outset through a large-scale dialogue process. 

"Climate targets alone do not guarantee success; concrete measures are needed to achieve them. And this is precisely where Ariadne comes in, providing an overview and pointing the way through the complex and detailed questions of energy system transformation," explains Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Center on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) and head of the Copernicus project Ariadne: "With the unique pooled expertise of 26 research partners, we can create an overarching perspective, analyse the impact of policy instruments and identify a whole range of possible policy options - and thus provide important orientation knowledge for decision-makers on the way to a climate-neutral Germany. “

Ariadne is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a total of 30 million euros over three years and is part of the Kopernikus-Forschungsinitiative. As the fourth Copernicus column,  Ariadne  completes the projects ENSURE, P2X and SynErgie. Together, the Copernicus projects form one of the largest German research initiatives on energy system transformation.

Creating action-relevant knowledge for decision-makers through dialogue


"Power generation, heat, transport or industry - Ariadne will develop detailed sector knowledge in order to show target-oriented measures and ways, but always with a view to the big picture", explains Gunnar Luderer from PIK, deputy head of the Ariadne project. "This overarching system perspective is central: It is intended to provide a comprehensive overall picture of the effectiveness of technologies and policy instruments, but also of their impact on, for example, distributive justice, international competitiveness and environmental and nature conservation.
From the outset, representatives from politics, business and the general public will also be actively involved. This social dialogue process is moderated by a Policy Unit as the core of the project. "Energy system transformation can only succeed in a joint learning process," explains Brigitte Knopf, head of the Ariadne Policy Unit and Secretary General of the MCC. "With Ariadne, we will be able to address the decision-making problems facing policymakers, while at the same time initiating targeted debates in dialogue with politicians, energy system transformation actors and citizens. 
Findings and results of the Copernicus project Ariadne on energy system transformation will be made available continuously throughout the entire project period, for example in the form of policy briefs, topic dossiers, background papers, visualizations and interactive platforms. 

Who is Ariadne? In Greek mythology, the legendary hero Theseus succeeded in navigating safely through the labyrinth of the Minotaur by means of the thread of Ariadne. This is the guiding idea behind the energy system transformation project Ariadne, in which a consortium of 26 partners provides an overview and orientation for the design of the energy system transformation through excellent research in a joint learning process with politics, business and society. We are Ariadne:

adelphi| Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus – Senftenberg (BTU) | Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) | Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW) | Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) | Ecologic Institute | Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Integrated Energy Systems (CINES) | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht | Hertie School | Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Umwelt Nürtingen-Geislingen | Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln | Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilität | Institute For Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) | Öko-Institut | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK) | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung | Stiftung 2° - Deutsche Unternehmer für Klimaschutz | Stiftung Umweltenergierecht | Technische Universität Darmstadt | Technische Universität München | Universität Hamburg | Universität Münster | Universität Potsdam | Universität Stuttgart – Institut für Energiewirtschaft und Rationelle Energieanwendung (IER) | ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung