Innovations for Sustainable Development

e-scooter, innovation

CDE’s Innovations Cluster studies and supports processes of innovation that advance social justice, economic well-being, and environmental integrity. We focus on a range of topics, from sustainable energy supply and rural development in East Africa to the adoption of electric vehicles in Switzerland. We investigate these issues from different disciplinary perspectives, using combined spatial and ecological analyses, sociological studies, and participatory approaches.

Supporting innovation for sustainable development

CDE’s Innovations Cluster studies and supports innovation for sustainable development together with partners in the global South and North by 1) examining the roles and interaction of psychological, social, economic, institutional, technical, and environmental factors that foster or hinder such innovation; 2) facilitating communication, learning, and evidence-based negotiation among stakeholders, including policymakers; and 3) providing higher education at the University of Bern and elsewhere that offers conceptual and practical knowledge about innovation for sustainable development.

These three lines of activity are best explained by three examples. In East Africa, we are investigating from a social science perspective why households adopt or reject efficient cooking stoves or biofuel crops. In Madagascar, we are developing an online tool to map and help coordinate the activities of different conservation actors in the country’s northeast. And at the University of Bern, we are teaching students about the spread of electric vehicles in Switzerland and how it can be further promoted.