Transitions to New Technologies

The strategic goal of the Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program is to further the understanding of the drivers, constraints, impacts, and dynamics of technological change, particularly in the areas that are key for global sustainability. The program also disseminates policy-relevant research findings through high-level global fora and participates in major international cross-cutting research projects and assessments.

Objectives

Technological change arises from the spatial and temporal diffusion of individual innovations all the way up to the emergence of new technological combinations that could fundamentally redefine products, services, and even entire markets. Technological interdependence and interrelatedness, along with knowledge and technology spillovers, and the increasing globalization of research and development (R&D) and technology firms, explains why technological change can no longer be understood or steered from an isolated perspective, or in a piecemeal fashion.

TNT’s research strategy consequently focuses on the systemic aspects of technological change and draws on systems theories of innovation, empirical case studies, and novel modeling approaches, as well as scenario studies and robustness analysis, to inform technology policy choices from a systemic perspective. An integrated systems perspective characterizes the policy domains studied by TNT, in particular the Sustainable Development Goals and the nexus (water, energy, land, and air) resource interdependencies that are the subject of two major cross-cutting research initiatives at IIASA. These are The World in 2050 and the Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land initiatives that the program helped to co-design and to which it is actively contributing.

Finally, given its comparatively modest size, the TNT Program aims to maximize the visibility and impact of its research through participation in a few key international assessments and major collaborative activities in a joint effort with other IIASA research programs and key international partners. Through its data documentation, dissemination of software, and database tool development, the program also provides a highly valued open data and software service to the international scientific community.

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Selected highlights

Modeling sustainable transport options

Modeling sustainable transport options

Novel methodological concepts to simulate pervasive policy-driven transformations were for the first time tested in a real-world case study application to analyze policy targets associated with the city of Shanghai’s goal of having more electric vehicles on its roads...

Systems solutions for sustainability transitions

Systems solutions for sustainability transitions

The Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program focuses on the systemic aspects of technological change and draws on empirical case studies, novel modeling approaches, as well as scenario studies and robustness analysis to inform technology policy choices from a...

In search of viable pathways for sustainable development

In search of viable pathways for sustainable development

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) is a global multi-year, multi-partner research initiative launched by IIASA with international partners that involves almost all research programs at the institute. The main focus of the initiative is on deriving viable pathways for...

Reaching out to the IIASA constituency

Reaching out to the IIASA constituency

The Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) Program’s strategy for engagement with the IIASA science and policy communities include a focus on a few high-level international science and policy initiatives and the dissemination of results from its research activities on...