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From our energy supply to the industry and the Paris climate targets, from individual sectors to the big picture: a network of leading research institutions is now starting an unparalleled research process focused on shaping the German energy transition. The Ariadne project aims at improving our understanding of the impact of different policy instruments in order to develop sound strategies for change. From the very beginning, a comprehensive dialogue between decision-makers from politics, business, and civil society will be a core part of the project.

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"Climate targets alone do not guarantee success; concrete measures are needed to achieve them. This is precisely where Ariadne comes in, providing an overview and pointing out pathways to navigate through the complex challenges of the energy transition," explains Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), and head of the Kopernikus project Ariadne. "By bringing together the unique expertise of 26 research partners, we can provide an overarching perspective, analyse the impact of policy instruments, and identify a whole range of possible policy options. In short – we'll be providing decision-makers with vital knowledge on the way to a climate-neutral Germany“.

The Ariadne project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a budget of 30 million euros over three years, and is part of the Kopernikus research initiative. Ariadne is the fourth Kopernikus column, complementing the projects ENSUREP2X and SynErgy. Together, the Kopernikus projects form one of the largest German research initiatives in the field of the energy transition.

Joint creation of action-relevant knowledge for decision-makers

"Power generation, heat, transport, or industry – Ariadne will develop detailed sectoral knowledge in order to show targeted measures and pathways, while always keeping in mind the big picture", explains Gunnar Luderer from PIK, deputy head of the Ariadne project. "This overarching perspective is pivotal to the project to ensure we obtain an overall picture with regard to the effectiveness of technologies and policy instruments, but also with regard to the effects of the energy transition on, for example, distributive justice, international competitiveness, and the conservation of nature and the environment.”

From the very beginning, representatives from politics, business, and the public will be actively involved in the project. At the heart of Ariadne, a policy unit will moderate this societal dialogue. "The energy transition can only succeed as a joint learning process," emphasises Brigitte Knopf, head of the project’s policy unit and Secretary General of the MCC. "With Ariadne, we will be able to respond decisively to decision-making problems in politics, while at the same time initiating targeted debates with politicians, change makers of the energy transition, and citizens.”

Ariadne findings and results will be made available continuously over the entire three-year duration of the project, with policy briefs, dossiers on particular topics, background papers, visualisations, and interactive platforms.

Weblink to Kopernikus project Ariadne: