Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)

Research for Sustainable Development develops decision-making tools for future oriented action and delivers innovative solutions for a sustainable society. With this third framework programme (FONA3), the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to support sustainability research in Germany.

In the next two decades important decisions will be made that will set the course for the future. We need to find ways of mastering challenges such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, land degradation and a lack of resources while at the same time securing social cohesion and our standard of living.

Research for Sustainable Development develops innovative solutions for these challenges and delivers decision-making tools for future oriented action. The spectrum covers everything from basic research to the development of application ready solutions. From 2010 to 2014 the Federal Ministry invested funds of almost two billion Euros in sustainability research, as part of the framework programme "Research for Sustainable Development" (FONA 2). Under the new framework programme FONA3 new funds will be made available, starting in 2015.

The new research framework programme FONA3

Collaborating with the fields of science, the economy, politics and civil society an agenda process refined the programme and identified new research priorities. The core of the programme will be made up of three flagship initiatives Green Economy, the City of the Future and the Energy Transition in Germany. BMBF will be working on these core elements together with other federal and state departments, allowing the results to have a direct effect on their decision making processes. The flagships are also designed to be application oriented, and will involve the inclusion of stakeholders, such as businesses and local communities, in research at defined points. The overall aim is to support implementation processes and, by doing so, to stimulate sustainable development.

In addition to the three flagships, the Ministry is also using FONA3 to support preventative research in three main areas: the global common goods climate, biodiversity and the oceans; intelligent use of resources; and the improvement of living standards and competitiveness in Germany. The challenges in these areas can only be mastered in the long term if we combine pre-existing, application ready solutions with advances in the individual fields of research. "Preventative Research" involves, among other things, the development of regional climate models, adaption to climate change as well as Earth observation and the monitoring of the environment. As the communication of new insights and the promotion of commitment are important, FONA3 will be systematically consolidating research and sustainability education.

FONA3 will also emphasise the role of international cooperation in sustainability research. German scientists will be working together with partners from around the world to develop globally applicable solutions.

More sustainability with FONA3

The FONA-Framework Programme represents the implementation of the German National Sustainability Strategy (2016 version) and the Federal Governments High-Tech Strategy. Under the sustainability strategy, the federal government has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 emission levels by 2020. In addition, the share of renewable energy is set to reach 18 per cent and primary energy consumption reduced by 20 percent compared to 2008 levels. This applies to resource productivity as well, e.g. land consumption will be reduced from 130ha to 30ha per day by 2030. The new high-tech strategy will serve to reinforce and strengthen Germany's position as a technological leader in the field of climate protection and adaption to climate change, sustainable resource management as well as innovative environmental and energy technologies. In this respect FONA3, and especially the flagship initiatives, will play an equally central role. Sustainable development offers unique opportunities to the economy: climate protection, resource efficiency and the supply of renewable energies will be the lead markets of the future.

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