DWIH Focus Topic 2023: The Resilient Society

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This year, the global network of German Centers for Research and Innovation (DWIH) will examine the multilayered focus topic: “the resilient society”.

The question of what constitutes resilience is not easy to answer – too complex and varied is the meaning it has gained worldwide. While most often understood as “the ability to recover from or adjust to challenges,” how does this change depending on the context or technical background? For example, we can discuss resilience in the face of crises in healthcare and other ecosystems, but also in the face of far-reaching changes such as digital transformation, whose dynamic is disrupting many establishments.

A “resilient society” must do justice to this complexity. It requires innovation drivers from a variety of subject areas to enable it to keep pace with these various challenges. And it needs formats and spaces for networking to discuss problems and pool forces.

Similarities at different locations

Aware of the extraordinary networking potential of the DWIH locations worldwide, the Board of Trustees of the German Centers for Research and Innovation has chosen “The Resilient Society” as its focus topic for 2023. The centers are exploring the importance of resilience in different regions of the world and bringing together actors whose work also increases the resilience of innovation systems. This includes considering topics of global importance, as well as questions with specific significance to each region.

For more information on the choice of DWIH’s 2023 focus topic, please visit the DWIH Network website.

What can a global city cope with? New York is seen by many as the symbol of a metropolis that refuses defeat. From the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to the COVID-19 pandemic, which particularly affected the city on the Hudson River, New York has remained an extraordinary center of innovation even after the dramatic setbacks of the recent past. Long before the U.S., under President Biden, began to focus more strongly on climate protection and an environmentally conscious restructuring of the economy, New York was already focusing on CO2 reduction and sustainable urban development.

Transnational networks

When it comes to actively preparing for the future, networks are crucial. This is true for cities as well as countries. New York is a member of the Resilience Cities Network, which addresses issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic response and environmental protection, as well as the importance of equity to societal resilience. The Global Resilience Institute at Boston’s Northeastern University and the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics have founded another network of resilience experts; the University of Freiburg in Germany is also a member of the network. At an international level, the G7 grouping of major democratic economic powers, whose members include the U.S. and Germany, emphasizes the importance of resilience in fields as diverse as democratic development, urban planning, and digitization.

The DWIH New York embraces the multi-faceted nature of the concept of resilience and addressed individual, societal and digital resilience with a panel discussion in March 2023 , to name just one example. In a metropolis that stands for diversity and international exchange like no other, the DWIH will continue to focus on the importance of resilience for individuals and society.