19 Dec 2023 Updates

Green and Digital Transformation: This was the Zukunftskonferenz 2023


from the left: Mag. Michael Gerbavsits, Geschäftsführer der Wirtschaftsagentur Burgenland GmbH, Wirtschafts- und Wissenschaftslandesrätin MMag.a Barbara Eibinger-Miedl und JR-Geschäftsführer Dr. Heinz Mayer – Copyright JOANNEUM RESEARCH – Bergmann


The digital transformation is not only changing our lives, but also has great potential to shape a more sustainable future. Digital technologies enable us to rethink traditional working methods and processes, boost innovation and develop alternatives. Against this backdrop, around 650 interested persons met at Messe Congress in Graz for this year’s JOANNEUM RESEARCH Future Conference and Exhibition (Zukunftskonferenz).

The green and digital transformation is inevitable. In order to remain globally competitive, it is important to strengthen our region through future-relevant innovations. Putting innovations into practice and thus generating tangible added value for the economy and society works best in an agile network such as the one in which JOANNEUM RESEARCH operates. Cooperation between business and science leads to success: this is demonstrated by the 4 top-ranked sessions, the best performance projects and in the exhibition of the 7 research units.


Copyright JOANNEUM RESEARCH – Bergmann

Heinz Mayer, Managing Director of JOANNEUM RESEARCH, on the role of the research company in the twin transition process: “Digitalization plays a key role in our business areas of health and care, mobility, politics and society, production and manufacturing, security and defence, environment and sustainability as well as space, and it is driving sustainable ecological effects in many areas. Without the support of digital technologies, there can be no green transformation.”

As one of the keynote speakers at the conference, Karl Rose impressed the audience in the morning with his presentation “The future of the energy transition – development paths between necessity and harsh realities”. In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2040 and complete the green transformation, targeted technology development and system innovations are required. Transformative innovation policy focuses on the restructuring of systems in order to drive forward the circular economy, mobility transition, energy transition and climate neutrality in cities and municipalities, said Rose. We should seize the opportunities that crises open up. Rose is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Energie Steiermark AG, a professor at the University of Graz and Graz University of Technology and an entrepreneur.

Jacqueline Erhart, Lead of CCAD and Digital Infrastructure at ASFINAG, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of AustriaTech GmbH and Chairwoman of the ATTC – Austrian Traffic Telematics Cluster, invited the audience on a journey along the “digital highway”. The physicist painted a picture of intelligent mobility management for tomorrow, which is based on information and communication technology infrastructures built up over decades and whose foundation is the digital recording of real, static and dynamic traffic situations. Advances in sensor technology, digitalization and automation not only on the roads, but also in vehicles, as well as the targeted use of data science are the focus of this process. Erhart emphasized that both the human and the machine perspective must be understood and supported in digital twins.

“This year’s JOANNEUM RESEARCH Future Conference is dedicated to the major issues of our time. The digital and green transformation offer challenges as well as numerous opportunities that we want to exploit. Research and development are essential for this. The JR team in particular plays a key role here. It is a key driver of innovation in future topics and supports local companies with practical projects to successfully master the current changes,” says Styrian Minister of Economy and Science Barbara Eibinger-Miedl.

Gaby Schaunig, Deputy Governor of the State of Carinthia and Head of Technology: “Every year, the Future Conference provides an extremely exciting look at current research hotspots. The state of Carinthia also focuses its investments on the fields of green technologies and digitalization. JOANNEUM RESEARCH is an important partner for the state and our innovative companies. With the establishment of a Digital Twin Lab, we were able to expand the JOANNEUM RESEARCH site in Klagenfurt this year with another cutting-edge research and development topic that is essential for the green and digital transformation.”

Michael Gerbavsits, Managing Director of Wirtschaftsagentur Burgenland GmbH: “‘Green and Digital Transformation’ are the guidelines for the development of Burgenland’s new RTI strategy. By participating in JOANNEUM RESEARCH, we can draw on comprehensive expertise and an international innovation network and thus shape the catch-up process even better.”

One highlight was the company’s internal “Best Performance Award”. The 14 finalists from the online pre-selection (43 projects were up for selection) each presented their nominated projects in 2 minutes. Seven winners then emerged. For more information visit www.joanneum.at/news.

The recording of the event is available at https://zukunftskonferenz.joanneum.at.

JOANNEUM RESEARCH, headquartered in Graz, is an innovation and technology provider in the field of applied research. As a research company of the federal states and regions, we use our research expertise to shape the development of our modern society and economy in a sustainable and people-centered way. As a multidisciplinary team in flexible, innovation-friendly structures, we live up to the highest social and scientific standards.

JOANNEUM RESEARCH is owned by the provinces of Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland.



Gabriele Katz
Managerin Corporate Communications
JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Leitung Corporate Communications