Digitainable: Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit

  • Titel:
  • Digitainable: Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit
  • Projektdauer:
  • 2 Jahre
  • Kontakt:
  • Dr. Mahsa Motlagh, Dr. Shivam Gupta
  • Förderer:
  • Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
  • Partner:
  • Bonner Allianz für Nachhaltigkeitsforschung



Digitainability – eine Verschmelzung der Begriffe „Digitalisierung“ und „Nachhaltigkeit“, die sich auf die gegenseitige Befruchtung zwischen den Prozessen der Digitalisierung und der nachhaltigen Entwicklung bezieht. Der Wortlaut ist im Rahmen des Projekts digitainable entstanden, das von der Bonner Allianz für Nachhaltigkeitsforschung/ Innovations-Campus Bonn (ICB) durchgeführt wird. Das Ziel von digitainable ist es, den Einfluss von D&AI auf die nachhaltige Entwicklung zu verstehen, indem die Expertise von naturwissenschaftlicher, technologischer und sozialwissenschaftlicher Seite genutzt wird. „Digitainability“ charakterisiert etwas, das sowohl positive Aspekte der Digitalisierung als auch der nachhaltigen Entwicklung verbindet bzw. sowohl die Digitalisierung als auch die nachhaltige Entwicklung erleichtert.


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The Project at a Glance

Digitalization is a major driver of change in many aspects of our lives, and there is an intense debate whether it impacts sustainable development positively or negatively. It is the principal goal of „digitainable“ to shed light onto this question. The most systematic formulation of our current understanding of sustainability is provided by the UN Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN member states in September 2015. With its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specified by 169 targets, and more than 200 indicators, the sustainability landscape is charted comprehensively, including such diverse domains as improving health, eradicating poverty, gender equality, climate change and many others. To achieve these goals in the planned time, they require a breakthrough in terms of speed and degree of progress. It is believed that with the help of Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence (D&AI), the progress in the achievement of the SDGs can be boosted significantly. However, it is still unclear how well D&AI are helping in managing and monitoring the complex interlinkages of the broadly defined SDGs and their indicators, and where they might even inhibit progress. “Digitainable” aims to uncover these complex relations between the indicators of the SDGs and to understand the influence of D&AI on the SDGs‘ progress by utilising the expertise from the natural and technological side as well from the social side.

Considering the framework, it is crucial to take an integrated approach to seek and scale up the synergies, mitigate tradeoffs existing between goals. The task is complicated by the fact that D&AI are hardly addressed explicitly, neither in the SDGs nor in the targets and indicators. Therefore, the connections are mostly of an indirect nature. The project’s approach to answering the identified questions is divided into the following phases:

Phase 1: The project will identify the influence of D&AI at indicator level both at the individual level as well as over the interlinkages. In order to explore the influence of D&AI, the project will, among other approaches, use the Theory of Change (ToC) as a method to realise the possible ways in which D&AI can interact with the indicators.

Phase 2: It is well known that there are numerous synergies and trade-offs existing between indicators. The project will investigate possible impacts of D&AI on these interrelations, and particularly seek to identify options where D&AI can enhance synergies
and alleviate trade-offs.

Research Questions
The research questions “digitainable” aims to answer are as follows:
RQ1: How are D&AI contributing and how can they contribute to the implementation of the SDGs, and where could they even inhibit progress?
RQ2: How efficiently are D&AI used for the achievement of the SDGs considering the complex synergies and tradeoffs between indicators?
RQ3: What are the current best practices and gaps in D&AI for the SDGs?
RQ4: What new approaches do we need in D&AI to foster digital cooperation, and who should be involved in the transformation required to timely achieve the SDGs?

The natural and technological aspect of the project is covered by Dr. Shivam Gupta and the social aspect is covered by Dr. Mahsa Motlagh.

Die Projektbeschreibung gibt es auch zum Download (PDF).

Der Förderer

Das Forschungsprojekt „Digitainable: Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit“ wird gefördert vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF).