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Developing the technologies, methods and tools of tomorrow










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Systems expertise is the key term that best describes what makes the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology so unique.



AIT experts can ascertain both the geographic origin and the varietal purity of food of plant and animal origin using isotopes and DNA analysis.



In view of the everyday traffic jams and lack of parking spaces in our towns and cities, the bicycle has developed into a viable transport alternative in urban areas. AIT experts have developed technological solutions set to increase the attraction of cycling.



Research, technology and innovation are undergoing significant change due to advancing globalization, new forms of communication, and radical trends. AIT experts have developed a variety of scenarios for the year 2030 to provide a decision-making basis for future research policy.



The new AIT SmartEST Laboratory offers the technical infrastructure and scientific expertise needed to develop the smart grids of the future.



Border controls are generally an inconvenient and time-consuming business for air passengers. AIT has therefore developed an automated control system, which is designed to make future passenger processing significantly more efficient as well as user-friendlier.







Dear reader, This issue of TOMORROW TODAY has undergone what is known in the media world as a “soft relaunch”. Along with several haptic and design changes we have also altered the content structure of our magazine. You will also notice that we have included a new section on AIT corporate news – offering insights into strategic policy and economic measures, the AIT career model and the Alpbach Technology Forum, which we organize in collaboration with Austria’s ORF Ö1 radio station. The focus, however, remains as always on reports about our research projects, which are targeted to provide solutions to tomorrow’s key global infrastructure issues. Such projects are not only excellent evidence of our systems expertise but also serve as business cases for our research partners in industry. As you read through this issue you can’t fail to see how smart technologies are set to make life easier in a variety of ways. And the good thing about that from an Austrian point of view is of course that research approaches developed by AIT research staff are often providing much-needed responses to the global challenges of our time. If you take a look at page 12, for example, you’ll read that even food products have their own unique “fingerprint”, which can be used to verify a range of information – from geographical origin to production method. Anyone who travels regularly by air knows all too well how annoying and time-consuming the required security checks can be. Experts at AIT have therefore been looking at what can be done to speed up the process without compromising on security. They have developed an innovative system, which is already attracting considerable international attention – the article on the project “Future Border Control” starts on page 28. As always, our communications team is happy to provide further information or answer any questions you may have – contact details are given at the end of each article. Michael H. Hlava Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications

IMPRESSUM. The magazine Tomorrow Today is a media collaboration with the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. Editorial responsibility rests with Austria Innovativ. Media owner and publisher_Bohmann Druck und Verlag GesmbH & Co. KG., 1110 Vienna, Leberstrasse 122, phone: +43 1 740 95-0. DVR: 0408689. Management_Gabriele Ambros, Gerhard Milletich. Publisher_AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Tech Gate Vienna, Donau-City-Strasse 1, 1220 Vienna, phone: +43 (0) 50550-0. Publishing manager _Patrick Lehnhart. Editors-in-chief_Michael Hlava, e-mail:, Christian Klobucsar, e-mail: Editors_Margit Noll, Daniel Pepl, Victoria Reinicke. Authors of this edition _Alfred Bankhamer, Angelika Prohammer, Doris Griesser. Project management_Daniel Pepl. Graphic design_Anita Frühwirth. Layout_Markus Frühwirth (REPROMEDIA). Print_ Druckerei Odysseus, Haideäckerstrasse 1, A-2325 Himberg. Cover shot_AIT. Publication_4 times a year. All copyrights reserved, including Section 44 paras. 1 and 2 of the Austrian Copyright Act. ISSN 1994-5159 (print), ISSN 1994-5167 (online). Free subscription via Disclosure pursuant to Section 25 of the Austrian Media Act. Media owner: Bohmann Druck und Verlag Gesellschaft m.b.H. & Co. KG. Reg. office: 1110 Vienna, Leberstrasse 122. Purpose of business: the production, publishing and distribution of printed works of all kinds, especially specialist journals. Selling of books, journals, art and music. Trading in goods of all kinds. Event management. Managing directors: Gabriele Ambros, Gerhard Milletich. Shareholders: Dietrich Medien Holding Gesellschaft m.b.H. 90.91%, Bohmann Druck und Verlag Gesellschaft m.b.H. 9.09%. Executive shareholder: Bohmann Druck und Verlag Gesellschaft m.b.H.. Bohmann Druck und Verlag Gesellschaft m.b.H. & Co. KG has shareholdings within the meaning of § 25 of the Austrian Media Act in: D & R Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. Nfg. KG, Reg. office in Vienna; purpose of business: the production, publishing and distribution of printed works of all kinds, especially specialist and service journals. Verlag Holzhausen GmbH, Reg. office in Vienna; purpose of business: publishing of non-fiction and technical books in the fields of: politics, economics, science, health and art, architecture and culture. Norbert Jakob Schmid Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H., Reg. office in Vienna; purpose of business: book and journal publishing. V & R Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H., Reg. office in Vienna; purpose of business: editing. Repro-Media Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. Nfg. KG, Reg. office in Vienna; purpose of business: advertising graphics studio, production of and trade in pre-production products. The fundamental aim of the publication Tomorrow Today is to inform the general public about current developments, successful achievements, innovations, new applications and concepts of the non-university, application-based, industrially relevant research of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.



➜ Interview

“An international reputation for systems expertise” /// AIT managing directors Wolfgang Knoll and Anton Plimon talked to TOMORROW TODAY about the challenge of seeking to expand after five successful years of consolidation. ///

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Last year at the Alpbach Technology Forum, Austrian Infrastructure Minister Doris Bures congratulated AIT on its outstanding success. If you look back to 2008 and the intervening years, what are the achievements you are particularly proud of? Anton Plimon: By strategically focusing on a few specialized areas in which we have the relevant expertise and critical mass, we have developed the systems expertise that has made us a leading point of contact for a wide range of research questions in the infrastructure sector – both at national and international level. As these issues are becoming increasingly complex, critical mass is essential and this is something which industry and even the majority of universities simply do not have due to a lack of resources. Of course, our participation in a wide range of EU and flagship projects is fundamental to extending knowledge in our research areas. They make an enormous contribution towards our systems expertise by helping in the correct interpretation of abrupt system changes. This means we can better understand the possible consequences, which makes us an even more attractive partner for industry. Companies need to ensure their products are excellent – and by working with us they can ensure that is the case.


cular in sectors where we have expertise at system level.

Does the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology – one of your two shareholders – use AIT in the implementation of general research strategy measures? Generally speaking, to what extent do you think the Austrian government’s intensified R&D initiatives contributed to the fact that Austria has coped relatively well with the economic crisis?

Anton Plimon: “Every four years we reassess our core areas of research. Experience has shown that we’re financially successful in particular in sectors where we have expertise at system level.” Plimon: We’re very pleased that AIT can contribute towards suppor ting the federal government’s R&D initiatives and we have certainly played a role in raising the profile of Austria as a research location. We are driving forward specific topics as consortium leaders in several EU projects, which is obviously of considerable benefit to Austrian companies.

By focusing on very few areas, doesn’t AIT run the risk of losing the necessary range of expertise?

●● anton Plimon

Wolfgang Knoll: We counteract that by forming strategic alliances in basic research. We look worldwide to find the particular expertise that we need. One good example is Anton Zeilinger, the world’s leading expert in quantum optics. The fact that we have him “on board” so to speak could also be interpreted as a form of risk management to ensure we’re on the right track in our quantum cryptography research activities. Yet it is not our aim only to follow trends in certain areas but also to pave the way for developing the technology of tomorrow today – which is of course our key mission. Plimon: The clear structuring of our research areas in five departments in alignment with the key infrastructure areas has also proved to be the right strategy with regard to targeting market needs. This restructuring has meant a return to profitable operation. Every four years we reassess our core areas of research. Experience has shown that we’re financially successful in parti-

Anton Plimon (55), born in Wolfsberg/Carinthia, studied Physics at Graz University of Technology, began his professional career as a specialist for optical fluid diagnostics and later worked in the field of numerical simulation technology at AVL List GmbH in Graz. In 1999, he joined Arsenal Research as head of the transport technologies division and became managing director in 2000. Anton Plimon was appointed managing director of Austrian Research Centers GmbH in 2008 and managing director of Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH in 2009. He is on the board of several scientific institutions and associations, member of the University Council at Graz University of Technology and chairman of the supervisory board of LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum-Ranshofen GmbH.

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Knoll: Internationally, Austria ranks in the top third among EU countries in terms of innovation strength. In my view, this is largely thanks to the combination of investments in innovation and intelligent measures introduced to the labour market, which were made by both the federal government and companies.

Wolfgang Knoll: “Many research areas are being worked on by so many different players that it only makes sense to invest time, money and effort in such topics if it can be done in collaboration with other institutions.” Plimon: Many Austrian companies have, despite economically difficult times, been highly successful in securing a good position with regard to international competition, mainly because they decided against merely cutting costs during the crisis, which started in 2008. They realized that they can only benefit from economic recovery by retaining their qualified research staff in this difficult period. These companies have used the slow period to work on their internal research and development projects. Their good recovery is

●● Wolfgang Knoll Wolfgang Knoll (64), born in Schwäbisch Hall/Germany, studied Physics at the University of Karlsruhe. In 1976, he completed his PhD at the University of Constance. Wolfgang Knoll held several academic posts and in 1986 completed his habilitation at the Munich University of Technology. In 1993, he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. In 1998, he was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville and in 1999 Adjunct Professor at Hanyang University in Seoul/Korea. Since 1999 he has also been Temasek Professor at the National University of Singapore. Wolfgang Knoll was appointed scientific director of the Austrian Research Centers on 1 April 2008 and managing director of Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH in 2009.

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proof that this was indeed exactly the right strategy. Their recipe for success: strategic action pays off.

But haven’t most of the other countries in the EU meanwhile started to focus on research and development too? Knoll: That’s precisely why being able to compete at international level will mean combining existing expertise at appropriate interfaces in order to both build up systems expertise and generate new knowledge. We’re noticing in particular that in those areas where we have enhanced our systems knowledge in addition to our technological expertise, we are well positioned to take on a role in major international projects – and indeed often assume the position of lead partner in such projects. This systems knowledge enables us to gain new perspectives on what can be achieved with technologies away from the well-trodden research routes. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything that can be done should be done. The market acts as the regulating factor here.

What are the main factors that are important with regard to participation in large international projects? Knoll: Well, it depends how you look at it really. For a comparatively small country like Austria, for example, one of the key factors is of course collaborations. Many research areas are often so large or are already being worked on by so many different players that it only makes sense to invest time, money and effort in such topics if it can be done in collaboration with other institutions. Plimon: As far as AIT is concerned, I would say our systems expertise is the biggest factor here. It is undoubtedly an ever more valuable asset in the global market.

Along with the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, your second shareholder, the Federation of Austrian Industries, also recommends that AIT launches an internationalization drive. Last year there was even talk of fresh money being made available. How high would the additional budget need to be to cover such an initiative?

Photos: Peter Rigaud c/o Shotview Photographers, Pawloff


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Plimon: We aim to grow by 20 per cent within the next five years. Generally speaking, growth in the research sector is, however, limited less by money and more by human resources. If the aim is to be one of the top players in the research sector then it automatically means facing global competition for human resources. Knoll: In the scientific champions league we’re talking about only a few individuals who are enormously mobile. These top players will choose to perform research wherever they consider there are the most interesting research topics and the most attractive career opportunities. That’s why we put a focus on career development and have developed a clearly defined career model. However, since we are unable to find relevant experts for some of our research fields in Austria or even in Europe, we have of course extended our search worldwide. We are also keen to have a growing influence on academic education. AIT has, for example, initiated the first bi-national graduate programme in bio- and nanotechnology in collaboration with the Technical University of Nanyang in Singapore. This exchange programme for doctoral students also has the added advantage that some of the students will stay on at AIT as junior research staff and it will also prove helpful in extending our international network.

Photos: Peter Rigaud c/o Shotview Photographers, Pawloff

The recruitment of so-called “best heads” naturally presupposes an internationally compatible salary for research staff. Can AIT compete with the large research institutions when it comes to salary? Plimon: In this context I always like to quote a line from a meeting of our Strategic Research Advisory Board held last year: “The most expensive option is not employing top people and then ending up in the wrong league.” Of course, we offer reasonable salaries. But the recruitment of excellent people doesn’t just come down to salary. What makes jobs of this kind attractive to “best heads” is being able to offer relevant career prospects. Knoll: Of course there may be jobs where our staff could earn more. But under different conditions. After all, there are only a few institutions which can offer research projects running over a period of several years. Word has also clearly already spread throughout much of the global research community about AIT’s carefully develo-

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ped career plan and we’re receiving an increasing number of spontaneous applications from abroad.

What are AIT’s goals for 2013? Plimon: Our strategy is focused on longer term goals. We seek, for instance, to play a pioneering role in our specialist research areas, to take the lead at system level, to act as a network hub for industry as well as remaining a research partner of choice for public institutions. Knoll: We’ve already seen plenty of indications that our image in Europe has changed considerably. A prime example is AIT’s membership in the European Energy Research Alliance – a group that plays a leading role in shaping the energy future of Europe. The same goes for our involvement in other key areas such as Urban Europe or in European security research. ///

Anton Plimon: “The recruitment of excellent people doesn’t just come down to salary. What makes jobs in research attractive to “best heads” is being able to offer relevant career prospects.”

Further details: Michael H. Hlava, Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications, Phone: +43 505 50-4014, e-mail:, Web:

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➜ Inside

Structure follows Knowledge follows structure /// Systems expertise is the key term that best describes what makes the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology so unique. It is also a major leveraging factor enabling the identification of new research approaches and leading to radical innovation. /// Yet these dramatic new advances come as no surprise. They are the result of a research environment which is itself in flux and which through the creation of new structures and levels enables progress at a rate that would have been quite unattainable using the conventional applied research approach employed for decades.

Structuring of systems

Low energy buildings that feed more energy into the grid than they actually consume. Smart energy meters that communicate this energy transfer to the energy provider who instead of charging for electricity actually pays its former “consumers”. This is of course just one of many different scenarios – just one example of how our lives will change or in some cases indeed already have changed. Similar examples can be found in just about all areas of our lives. Take a look at the articles in this issue of Tomorrow Today and you’ll see reports of projects currently being carried out at the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology which not all that long ago would have belonged in the realm of science fiction.

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“Vision AIT-2020”, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology’s strategy paper, which was developed in collaboration with its two shareholders, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Federation of Austrian Industries, certainly makes exciting reading. “Structured freedom” in research could become the new mantra for radical innovation in applied research. In concrete terms, AIT aims first and foremost to focus its research activities at the point where the value cycle of an innovation starts to flatten out and therefore needs to be replaced by another innovation. However, these new responses require a new approach, an entirely new setting, the modular basis for which is described in the strategy paper. Leading the way

A successful example here is of course smart grids research, which is taking (green) energy generation to a new level. In this area, AIT has influenced an entire industry by being alert and picking up on the initial and rather vague questions that started to be asked by companies. AIT used this input in combination with its existing energy

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systems expertise to develop a structured approach. In addition to in-depth scientific expertise, being on the relevant European committees also proved essential as did building up awareness among industry partners for possible solutions, extending existing networks with unconventional new nodes, starting pilot projects and above all – as the biggest challenge – overcoming the scepticism that existed on the part of energy suppliers. If we compare this holistically planned approach where – at least on a structural level – as little as possible is left to chance, with contract research as it was performed until only very recently, it is immediately clear that the R&D landscape is in the midst of a period of radical change. Systems expertise leads to breakthrough innovations

Structuring of systemic research with regard to sustainable development means that increasingly complex contexts need to be recognized and understood. However, knowledge geared towards global R&D processes is highly complex and requires a system-oriented approach. Expertise in dealing with and understanding complex system environments is therefore a key element in AIT’s research strategy. AIT is excellently positioned to offer such systems expertise with five research departments focusing on tomorrow’s global infrastructure challenges: Health & Environment

AIT scientists from the H&E Department conduct research activities within the wide range of issues in the fields of health and environment, focusing on “Resource Exploitation & Management” and “Biomedical and Biomolecular Health Solutions” with the primary objective of providing relevant responses to the challenges posed by an aging society and the increasing shortage of natural resources. In both of these areas, the Health & Environment Department is part of national and international scientific networks. As well as collaborations with universities such as ETH Zürich (CH), the University of Cambridge (UK) or the University of Saskatoon (CAN), further important strategic partnerships are formed on an ongoing basis. In the research field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL), for example, research staff from the H&E Department take a holistic approach to develo-

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ping solutions aimed at supporting older or disadvantaged people and enabling them to continue living at home. These solutions involve the use of user-centred technologies such as “smart home sensors”, which are subtly integrated into the person’s home and make an important contribution to safer living. With many years of experience in the development of AAL technologies and processes, AIT plays a leading role in this research field in Europe. Energy

The AIT Energy Department is working in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology on efforts to establish the European “Member States Initiative Smart Cities”. The aim is to develop a clear position on this topic on the part of the EU member states in order to provide a sound basis for targeted funding programmes for sustainable urban energy supply systems. Another goal pursued by

Structuring of systemic research with regard to sustainable development means that increasingly complex contexts need to be recognized and understood. the Energy Department is the strengthening of Austria’s position within the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Smart Cities and Communities, where future research strategies will be coordinated at European level in order to drive the development of smart urban technologies. Progress was also made in the EERA Joint Programme Smart Cities, in which AIT is responsible for scientific management and coordination. Last year saw the launch of the first smart city project “Transform” in the 7th EU Framework Programme. The aim of the project managed by AIT is to support cities in achieving their climate goals. Following the successful development of a Low Carbon City Action Plan for the Chinese city of Nanchang, which has a population of five million, the strategic cooperations formed are to be continued. More recently, the Sutong Eco Park project was launched – a Chinese-Austrian eco park close to Shanghai, which is expected to serve as a role model for the whole of China. AIT was contracted with developing an energy con-

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Around 1,100 AIT research staff in seven locations are working on the development of tomorrow’s infrastructure solutions.

cept for this showcase project. The main focus here is on providing scientific support in the planning of a sustainable building and energy infrastructure including relevant adaptation to local climatic conditions. Mobility

From a research perspective, mobility is very much a cross-cutting field involving key global challenges. The goal of the Mobility Department is therefore to take a systemic approach to developing new and sustainable mobility solutions. One of the research focuses is on developing solutions in the field of e-mobility. AIT research staff in the Mobility Department have core expertise in this area. Over many years, they have built up a wealth of e-mobility systems knowledge, ranging from electric drive technology and lightweight construction used in such vehicles through to comprehensive infrastructure solutions and expertise in their integration in co-modal transport systems. AIT’s expertise is in international demand as reflected in the active involvement of the AIT Mobility Department in numerous European umbrella organizations such as EARPA (European Automotive Research Partners Association), ECTRI (European Conference of Transport Research Institutes),

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FEHRL (Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories) and ERTICO (Intelligent Transport Systems and Services for Europe). Safety & Security

Over the last year, the Safety & Security Department has been successful in consistently pooling technological expertise in key application domains of safety and security research, ensuring it is even more closely aligned with the strategically defined market goals. This has further secured the Department’s successful positioning as an excellent R&D player within the European safety and security research community. With 50 per cent of its submitted projects successful in a recent call for proposals under the European Security Research Programme (FP7), the Department has the highest success rate among the European research centres in this field. The “FastPass” project, which aims to provide a “harmonized, modular reference system for all European automatic border crossing points” is a prime example of successful interdisciplinary research (see the article on page 28 in this issue). AIT, in its role as consortium leader, is responsible for managing one of the largest security research projects in Europe with a total of 27 European partners.

Photos: AIT Austriain Institute of Technology, Krischanz & Zeiller, Pawloff, 123rf


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Foresight & Policy Development

Over recent years, the systems examined by the Foresight & Policy Development (F&PD) Department as part of its innovation and sustainability research activities have become increasingly complex. This is due, for example, to globalization of research and development, European liberalization, increasing numbers of stakeholders with new functions and continual differentiation in society. Current research activities are therefore primarily focused on the necessary (further) development of theoretical concepts, methods, models and tools required to describe, model, simulate and strategically align complex social and natural systems. Along with Austrian government ministries and private organizations, an increasing number of Directorates-General of the European Commission rely on the AIT Department’s research expertise. Over the last year, the Commission’s interest in AIT’s expertise was seen, for example, in the conclusion of framework agreements with five F&PD consortia.

Photos: AIT Austriain Institute of Technology, Krischanz & Zeiller, Pawloff, 123rf

1 + 1 is more than 2

While AIT and its five departments are well positioned internationally (as testified by the financial success over the last few years), it is increasingly clear that technical solutions to the key global infrastructure challenges can only be met by working on an inter-departmental basis, as both current and future systems are increasingly addressed in more than one department. Three key international research topics were thus identified in the AIT strategy, which will be addressed on a targeted inter-departmental basis. These are: n Smart Grids involving the Energy, Mobility, Safety & Security as well as the Foresight & Policy Development departments, n Ambient Assisted Living Systems involving all five departments and n Urban Systems also involving all five departments. The value of inter-departmental systems expertise is particularly clear in the research area Urban Systems. With its strong interdisciplinary profile, AIT positions itself as a systems provider in the development of long-term strategies for the sustainable improvement of quality of life – particularly in cities experiencing rapid growth.

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Public authorities need solutions to meet the ever-growing demand for housing and adequate energy supply, efficient transport management as well as solutions to issues related to security and health. Such challenges can only be properly addressed with a comprehensive range of measures. The focus on research activities in infrastructure, energy, mobility, information and communication technologies, environment and governance enables the development of system approaches leading to the targeted reorientation of urban structures. The inclusion of stakeholders including public authorities, housing and project developers, infrastructure operators, industry, research etc. enables greater use of synergies from the various different infrastructure fields. Detailed analysis of city districts or urban development areas is carried out at a conceptual level. A key focus

Technical solutions to the key global infrastructure challenges can only be met by working on an interdepartmental basis. is placed on thematic integration of thermal and electric energy infrastructure, noise and air emissions, sustainable transport systems, building management, security and data protection for IT networks and energy grids as well as on transport and water infrastructure. ///

Further details: Daniel Pepl, Corporate and Marketing Communications, Phone: +43 505 50-4040, e-mail:, Web:

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➜ Health & Environment

ISOTOPIC FINGERPRINTS FOR FOOD CHECKS /// AIT experts can ascertain both the geographical origin and the varietal purity of food of plant and animal origin using isotopes and DNA analysis. ///

●● In a nutshell Scientists at AIT use isotope and DNA tests to obtain exact data on the origin of foodstuffs, the animal or plant species contained in them as well as on their organic or conventional production. AIT can draw on the largest scientific isotope laboratory in Austria to establish the “isotopic fingerprint” of animal and plantbased foods, which provides information about their geographical origin. The other hot lead in the quest to reveal the truth about our food comes in the form of DNA analysis, which is used to determine the animal and plant species contained in foodstuffs. Researchers carry out this analysis at the AIT Gene Resource Centre in Tulln where already half a million DNA samples are stored.

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Consumer trust in food quality had already been shaken – even before the recent horsemeat scandal. The numerous quality labels, which are meanwhile handed out by a variety of institutes, do little to help. In fact, consumers can only be protected against falsely labelled food through consistent testing using verified methods. Yet how can it actually be proved that what is labelled as “genuine Styrian

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Health & Environment

pumpkin seed oil” does in fact originate from Styria? How can it be proved that what is labelled as “Austrian beef” hasn’t actually come from a pony that used to graze in a meadow somewhere in Romania? How do we know that the expensive “Ayurveda Spice Mix” doesn’t contain cheap additives? The good news is that there is in fact a whole range of new methods available, which are able not only to trace the origin of foodstuffs but also to identify any processed animal or plant species they may contain. Scientists at AIT specialize in the profiling of natural traces such as isotopes and genetic markers in order to provide the retail food sector with a reliable control tool.

to the losses amounting to millions of euros suffered by the food sector and agriculture on a regular basis as a result of various food scares or scandals”.

Isotopes reveal origins

A counterfeit-proof method

Isotope analysis provides a reliable method for establishing the regional origin of foodstuffs because the composition of chemical elements in a food product is influenced by local environmental conditions and cultivation systems. This means that each agricultural product from a certain region has its own distinct isotope distribution. In order to identify such isotopic fingerprints, AIT scientists can draw on Austria’s largest scientific isotope laboratory. “For isotope analysis you need a comprehensive database in the background in order to compare a particular isotopic fingerprint with as many other fingerprints as possible,” explains Felix Steyskal, Head of Business Unit Environmental Resources & Technologies. In order to find out where a piece of meat or a radish comes from you therefore need to have reference samples from many different regions. This collection of isotopic fingerprints is currently being established: “Within just a few years and with an investment of around three million euros,

So how exactly does isotope analysis work? The analysis of stable isotopes in foodstuffs is based on so-called bioelements, which are hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and sulphur. “Several isotopes occur in nature for each of these elements. Isotopes are atoms of an element, which have the same number of protons but varying numbers of neutrons. So the mass varies depending on the number of neutrons,” explains biologist Andrea Watzinger. “The relationship between these isotopes is, amongst other things, uniquely affected by the climate, the soil characteristics or the geological qualities of a particular region.” The unique qualities of each region mean its isotope signature is also unique, which enables reliable determination of the origin of animal and plant-based foods. “Even if an animal is transported half way around the world to be slaughtered its isotopic fingerprint remains unchanged,” says the AIT scientist, pointing out one of the main advantages of this method. However, isotope analysis helps not only to establish the geographical origin of foods and non-food products such as wood or the authenticity of pharmaceutical products. It can also be used to verify if a product has been produced according to organic or conventional criteria. An organically-grown radish, for example, absorbs the naturally occurring nitrogen from the soil, which is reflected in the specific isotope ratio in the plant. This ratio is completely different if artificial fertilizer has been used.

Felix Steyskal /// Head of Business Unit, Health & Environment Department “Isotope analysis requires a comprehensive database in order to compare a particular isotopic fingerprint with as many other fingerprints as possible.”

we can establish a top database for our isotope laboratory in Tulln, which will enable the origin of a wide range of foodstuffs to be verified,” says Felix Steyskal. “That’s not really much compared

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Silvia Fluch /// Senior Scientist, Health & Environment Department “Ultimately, the consistent use of reliable food detectives like isotopes and DNA will be necessary to restore consumer confidence in our foodstuffs.”

Natural and “nature-identical” flavourings

Apart from being used to test animal and plantbased foods, isotope analysis is also used to check the authenticity of flavourings. Although

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Health & Environment

DNA analysis is used to determine the animal and plant species contained in foodstuffs.

the chemical structure of a “nature-identical” flavouring found in pineapple yoghurt may be the same as that found in real pineapple, artificial flavouring has nothing at all to do with the actual fruit. “This may not necessarily have any health implications but here too the labelling needs to be correct,” says Felix Steyskal. “Since ‘natureidentical’ flavourings are much cheaper than their natural counterparts, incorrect labelling by the competition can in fact be commercially damaging for reputable suppliers.” The number of diverse applications for isotope analysis has only been fully realized by trade and industry as a result of the food scares of recent years. Previously, these methods had mostly been used in hydrology. “Of course, we still carry out groundwater analysis and exploration but the method is now being increasingly used in the food sector,” says Steyskal. With its decades of experience in isotope analysis and its cutting laboratory in Tulln, AIT has taken on a pioneering role in this area. It therefore came as no great surprise that the AIT isotope experts were again successful in this year’s ANIP call (Austrian Network on Isotopes in Precipitation) organized by the Environment Agency Austria.

Research services Isotope chemistry can be used to analyse the influence of environmental conditions on plants and animals. This makes it possible to trace the origin and authenticity of foodstuffs and to verify the cultivation and management practices used in their production. AIT’s accredited isotope laboratory can draw on decades of experience of providing high-quality analysis and sophisticated solutions: verifying geographical origin of high-quality foodstuffs in terms of place of production/producer, country of origin, protection of trademarks and quality labels; analysis of food quality, e.g. illegal addition of water, sugar and/or aroma (adulteration), authenticity of foodstuffs (e.g. honey, aromas, domestic rum); verifying cultivation and management practices, e.g. organic versus conventional agriculture, and method development. The AIT Resource Centre stores a wide range of DNA samples of plant and animal origin, thus giving scientists online access to decoded genetic material from across Europe. The AIT Resource Centre houses a comprehensive collection of DNAs for comparison with samples under investigation. The genetic fingerprints required for certification still need to be further developed and improved. Services include DNA analyses to verify the animal and plant species processed in foodstuffs; verifying the local origin of foodstuffs on a genetic basis; and extraction of DNA from various tissues (plant: fresh/dry leaf, root, bark; animal: blood, sperm, tissue). ///

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Whereas stable isotopes can be used to establish geographical origin, DNA analysis provides reliable information about the animal and plant species contained in foodstuffs. As with isotope analysis, this also requires a database for comparison with many different genetic fingerprints. Scientists at AIT are able to make use of facilities at their own Resource Centre, where half a million DNA samples of plant and animal origin are stored under quality assured conditions. Work is also currently underway on a certification system for foodstuffs as well as for plants and seeds, which will enable identification of local origin at genetic level. So why, we might ask, is isotope analysis not used here? “Whereas isotopes have a connection with a particular area, the genetic fingerprint relates to a specific individual,” explains Silvia Fluch from the AIT Resource Centre in Tulln. “Particularly in the case of regional specialities, which may be based on materials such as wild growing herbs from the region, DNA testing can be used to ascertain if wild plants have in fact been used. This would not be possible using isotope analysis if both plants

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, 123rf/greggr

Our food’s genetic fingerprint

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Health & Environment


Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, 123rf/greggr

Half a million DNA samples are stored at the AIT Resource Centre in Tulln.

have grown in the same region.” This can also play a role in the case of imports of cheap plants: “Although these may have grown in Austria over several years and therefore also have the relevant Austrian isotope signature, they often die sooner because they are not really suited to the new environment.” Another important field of application for DNA analysis in the food sector are expensive spices: “Saffron, for example, is a very expensive product and it isn’t uncommon for consumers to be deceived,” says Silvia Fluch. “Time after time, we come across cheaper substances that have been added to the saffron powder.” As the original plants for these diluting fillers are mostly from the same region as the saffron itself, isotope analysis isn’t all that helpful in such cases. “It is only possible to detect such adulteration with DNA testing,” says Fluch. Ultimately, de-

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pending on the issue in hand, the targeted combination of isotope and DNA analysis and the consistent use of these reliable food detectives will be necessary to restore consumer confidence in our foodstuffs. ///

Weitere Infos: Health & Environment Department, Zlata Kovacevic, Phone: +43 505 504406, e-mail: zlata., Web: health_environment

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➜ Mobility

Biking 2.0: THE FUTURE OF CYCLING /// In view of the everyday traffic jams and lack of parking spaces in our towns and cities, the bicycle has developed into a viable transport alternative in urban areas. AIT experts have developed technological solutions set to increase the attraction of cycling. ///

AIT experts use electronic data feedback to improve bike routing by analysing waiting times at traffic lights.

●● In a nutshell More and more Austrians regularly ride a bike, regarding it not only as a piece of sports equipment but as a way of getting from A to B as quickly and as easily as possible. In view of the everyday traffic jams and lack of parking spaces in our towns and cities, this environmentally-friendly mode of transport definitely has its advantages, particularly in urban areas. Experts at the AIT Mobility Department have set themselves the goal of further increasing the attraction of cycling by combining modern communication technologies with complex scientific methods. The solutions developed are designed to increase the efficiency of bike sharing schemes, guide cyclists to their destinations using individually optimized routes and provide the basis for greater road safety for e-bikes.

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As the bells rang in the New Year in Vienna, they also marked the launch of the Year of the Bicycle 2013 in the Austrian capital. Numerous events, campaigns and special offers will be used to put cycling in the spotlight, heighten people’s awareness for cycling and encourage them to make greater use of this healthy and environmentally-friendly mode of transport. In view of the traffic congestion in our towns and cities it is clear that the bicycle is

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set to play an increasingly important role in comodal transport systems of the future. Using cutting-edge technologies, the AIT Mobility Department therefore aims to increase the attractiveness of travelling by bike – through improved logistics for bike sharing schemes, personalized navigation, optimized planning of cycling infrastructure and greater safety for new generations of bikes such as e-bikes. Bike Sharing

Citybike Wien operates a bike sharing system in Austria’s capital with around 100 stations and more than 1,200 bikes, which were used to travel a total of 2.3 million kilometres last year. The bikes can be rented out from and returned to any one of the stations, which depending on the time of day, the weather or the proximity of public transport leads to uneven utilization rates at the rental stations. “The major challenge lies in redistributing bicycles in such a way that both sufficient bicycles and spaces for incoming bicycles are available at all times at all stations,” explains Markus Straub, expert for dynamic transport systems at the AIT Mobility Department. These redistribution trips are currently done by cars with trailers and the drivers plan their routes based purely on previous experience. The project BBSS (Balancing Bike Sharing Systems) aims to optimize the redistribution logistics using mathematical-statistical methods in such a way that the effort invested in redistribution has the biggest possible impact towards a well-balanced system. Optimized route planning

Project partner Citybike Wien provided detailed historical data on customer routes in the system as well as on usage rates for the individual stations over the last three years. On the basis of this data, AIT experts developed a statistical model in order to predict how many bicycles will arrive and be picked up at a given station within the next few hours. Various parameters affecting rental behaviour are taken into account, including, for example, weather conditions, season, time of day, day of week and usage rates of neighbouring stations. “Based on this data, the aim is to establish the optimum combination of redistribution journeys from a huge number of possibilities,” says Straub, pointing out the scientific challenge invol-

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ved. Working in collaboration with the Vienna University of Technology, optimization algorithms are being developed to calculate the concrete route suggestions for the next few days, which are constantly adapted in line with changes in the situation. The drivers can easily access this service on their smartphones to help them plan their tours and make them more efficient. Following a trial period of operation in the summer, the system is due to become fully operational by the middle of next year. Markus Straub /// Junior Engineer, Mobility Department “The major challenge lies in redistributing bicycles in such a way that both sufficient bicycles and spaces for incoming bicycles are available at all times at all stations.”

Bikes as mobile sensors

Switching to using a bike can be encouraged not only through efficient bike sharing schemes but also through efficient routing. “The data available for bicycle traffic is, however, very limited,” says Straub. “The aim of the project Com-oVer was therefore to collect and analyse movement trajectories and subjective feedback from cyclists.” A number of test participants were invited to download an app to their smartphones so that they could be tracked via GPS as they travelled around the city. (It is still possible to register under and contribute further GPS tracks.) By analysing and evaluating this “floating bike data”, it was possible to filter out popular routes and use the information to make improvements to route suggestions. Test participants also had the opportunity to type in positive and negative remarks about their current position on the display – for example about the width of the cycle path, the number of bike parking spaces or the subjective potential risk. “This enables monthly reports to be generated, for example, highlighting hotspots identified in the cycle path network and providing a summary of user comments,” says Straub, who regards this as a valuable basis for an efficient complaints management system or optimized cycle path planning.

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Individual “green wave” of traffic lights

AIT experts also use the Com-oVer data and results in the project BikeWave in order to make bicycle routing more efficient by taking into account waiting times at traffic lights. In a first step, traffic light locations and traffic light intervals are filtered out of GPS tracks. “Using complex waiting time models, we can pre-calculate the waiting Peter Saleh /// Engineer, Mobility Department

The AIT project SEEKING aims at scientifically analysing safety aspects of e-bikes.

Research services Modern transport systems generate huge amounts of data – for example, from vehicles which deliver up-to-date positional information via GPS. AIT uses this data and its expertise in the areas of mode detection and user profiling to generate personalized travel time forecasts and routing suggestions. Mastering complex route planning tasks also necessitates the use of sophisticated mathematical-statistical methods. AIT applies the latest scientific findings and develops innovative optimization algorithms to ensure efficient and reliable transport planning. Many cities have introduced public bike sharing systems in the last few years to enhance the sustainability of the transport system. The Department supports operators of (e-)bike sharing systems in siting, maintenance planning and bike distribution in order to ensure sustained customer satisfaction. The analysis and simulation tools developed by AIT allow the correlations between road parameters, vehicle dynamics and accidents to be examined objectively. This provides the basis for simulation-based analysis of accident causes, detailed accident statistics, accident risk forecasting and targeted suggestions for effective accident prevention. ///

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times at the next set of traffic lights depending on current speed and position,” explains Straub. The goal pursued here by AIT together with project partners BikeCityGuide and mobimera is the introduction of a “Green Wave Assistant” app, which cyclists will be able to download and use on their smartphones. The assistance system offers the cyclist tailored routing suggestions and provides personalized tips about how fast he or she needs to be travelling to make it through the next green light. It enables cyclists to create their own personal “green wave” so they spend less time waiting at traffic lights and arrive sooner at their destination. Safe e-biking

Interest in electric bikes has grown considerably over the last few years, yet there is still a lack of empirical data on these new players in the transport sector. “In particular, it is not yet clear what the effects of biking with higher acceleration and at higher speeds will be on road safety and risk of accidents,” says AIT expert Peter Saleh, who analyses the safety aspects of e-bicycles and e-mopeds in the SEEKING (SAFE E-BIKING) project, which received the 2011 National Mobility Award. In vehicle dynamics tests, participants were given the task to ride bicycles and e-bicycles around a track featuring tight corners requiring critical braking and acceleration manoeuvres. Key vehicle dynamic data – acceleration in three axes, speed, pitch, roll and yaw – were recorded using commercially available smartphones, which

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, BOKU Wien, 123rf/auremar, 123rf/foottoo

“The SAFE E-BIKING project, which received the National Mobility Award in 2011, aims at analysing the safety aspects of e-bicycles.”

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come as standard with the necessary sensors and a video camera. The video recordings and subjective surveys conducted among the riders by experts from the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna were included with the measurement data in the vehicle dynamics analysis. Conflict studies on the Wörthersee

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, BOKU Wien, 123rf/auremar, 123rf/foottoo

The next phase of the project was launched in April: “By conducting tests on a shared pedestrian and cycle route that runs along the Wörthersee in Carinthia, we also want to examine the conflict potential in encounters with non-motorized cyclists and pedestrians,” says Saleh. The results from the vehicle dynamics tests and conflict studies will be used in the development of targeted prevention measures in collaboration with the Austrian Road Safety Board. It is already apparent that improvements are needed in certain areas: “After test participants had completed just two rounds of the track in the vehicle dynamics tests we noted a significant learning effect – it would therefore be useful, for example, for people to have a short training session when they buy an e-bicycle,” adds Saleh. There were also clearly

measurable differences between types of bike. Both objective and subjective driving safety depend to a large extent on the technical specifications and vehicle electronics, which is a clear indication of the importance of defining technical specifications and establishing minimum standards. Experts at the AIT Mobility Department are also convinced that targeted measures need to be introduced in terms of engineering, training and legislation to ensure the safe integration of electric two-wheelers in the transport system. ///

Sandra Wegener from the Institute for Transport at the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna on the future of e-bikes and road safety issues. The SEEKING project focuses on the scientific analysis of the safety aspects of electric two-wheelers. What do you find so interesting about this project? What are the challenges? Exciting projects tend to be ones where there is a personal benefit. With SEEKING that’s very much the case. I tried out an e-bike for the very first time while working on the project and immediately saw the benefits. The practical orientation in the form of test rides with the ebikes and the direct contact with test participants are not only enjoyable but also mean that any problems that occur are immediately and highly tangible. The main challenge is in drawing the right conclusions from the data and in formulating joint recommendations for e-biking in the interests of road safety. How do you see future developments in this area? Sales figures for e-bikes in Austria show a clear upward trend. There is huge potential for e-mobility – in particular for e-bikes – in com-

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Further details: Mobility Department, Christina Pikl, Phone: +43 505 50-6322, e-mail:christina.pikl@, Web: www.

muter traffic, i.e. for getting to and from work in urban areas, but also among the older section of the population. The e-bike offers autonomous mobility providing an alternative to a car with the plus of having a positive impact on the environment, health etc. Of course, the relevant conditions for using an e-bike need to be in place; these range from improved cycling infrastructure and clear legal provisions through to e-biking campaigns and road safety training for the various target user groups. The focus of all these considerations must, however, be on road safety – more injuries or even deaths on our roads would be too high a price to pay for new mobility…

How do you see the cooperation with AIT? What are the synergies? The cooperation between AIT and BOKU is absolutely excellent. As the project coordinator, AIT ensures solid project management with a constant flow of information which enables the project to make rapid progress. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at AIT. Our areas of responsibility complement each other in that AIT is responsible for the technical implementation, i.e. for the test rides with the e-bikes and for the various measurements while we at the BOKU focus on the thematic orientation and the survey. Working on the various areas in this way and in cooperation with the other project partners (Carinthian Road Safety Board, Provincial Government of Carinthia and Strombike) has enabled successful completion of this comprehensive project. On a personal level, I particularly appreciate the mutual respect and open communication, and I’m already looking forward to working on a possible follow-up project in collaboration with AIT in the future. ///

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➜ Foresight & Policy Development

GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE RTI SCENARIOS /// Advancing globalization, completely new forms of communication, and radical trends such as „open innovation“: research, technology and innovation are currently undergoing significant change. As part of the EU project Research & Innovation Futures (RIF), the AIT Foresight & Policy Development Department is working together with international partners to develop a variety of scenarios for the year 2030 in order to provide a sound decision-making basis for future research policy. /// A little of the spirit that made Vienna’s coffee houses famous recently arose in one of the city’s traditional cafés. However, this time it wasn‘t writers or artists meeting in a coffee house to work, find inspiration or debate world events, but rather a range of representatives from Universities Austria, the EU, the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development, business and industry. Scenario visualization

●● In a nutshell How will innovation and research be undertaken and organized in the future? And what impact will this have on society? In the EU project Research & Innovation Futures (RIF), which runs from October 2011 to September 2013, the AIT Foresight & Policy Development Department is working with international partners to examine these questions. After identifying and analysing general trends, the experts use a two-step method for scenario development. In a first step, workshops were held to develop explorative scenarios which extrapolated from current developments to identify potential conflicts and dilemmas, both in society and the research system as a whole. These formed the basis for drawing up transformative scenarios, making it possible to think through even unexpected developments. The RIF results provide an important basis for decision-making, both for research policy as well as for other stakeholders in the research system.

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The RIF World Café Vienna workshop held in the Cafe Griensteidl on 22 October 2012 considered the possible futures of research, right through to the year 2030. The attendees were presented with a variety of scenarios, drawn up step-by-step in advance for further discussion and development. “The World Café Vienna workshop demonstrated the value of scenario development for the 30 or so participants who came from different backgrounds,“ says Philine Warnke, Senior Scientist in the AIT Foresight & Policy Department. One representative was so impressed by the methodology used and the necessity of considering various possible futures that, after the workshop, she immediately commissioned AIT to undertake a corporate foresight project for her company. The event was one of several held as part of the EU project Research & Innovation Futures 2030

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(RIF), which deals with the subject of science and society and their future development. The foresight project, coordinated by AIT, focuses particularly on the question of how innovation and research can be undertaken and organized in tomorrow‘s information society: the challenges that need to be considered during the change process, how they will affect researchers and other social groups, and what impact these transformations and changes have on Europe‘s research landscape. Other research partners include the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), the University of Twente, Manchester University and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The project runs from October 2011 to September 2013 and has already generated numerous findings. Sharpening the systemic view

“There are many change processes currently underway which have consequences for the research system,“ explains Wolfram Rhomberg, Expert Advisor in the AIT Foresight & Policy Development Department. „The RIF project focuses on assessing and analysing the science and research system as a whole, including all its stakeholders. We develop different scenarios and models for further discussion that enable the consideration of ongoing change processes.“ By taking a systemic view of the potential future of science and research it is possible to avoid the danger of narrow-minded thinking; the approach is targeted directly at helping break away from common logic, or „business as usual“. Scenario development also offers the opportunity to prepare for potential conflicts, frictions or trend reversals. Explorative scenarios

The international RIF project involves several systematic steps. The first was to identify and analyse the relevant general trends and driving factors before developing them into explorative scenarios in workshops. These scenarios describe the potential outcomes of current developments, and the conflicts, frictions and dilemmas which these outcomes could cause. The two-step method of scenario development devised by AIT was used for the first time in the project to describe further possible changes. In the second step, the explorative scenarios were developed

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Foresight & Policy Development


into transformative scenarios, enabling unexpected developments to be thought through and potential radical changes to be considered. These transformative scenarios were then discussed with various social groups in the World Café Vienna workshop. A key focus of the project is to inWolfram Rhomberg /// Expert Advisor, Foresight & Policy Development Department „The RIF project focuses on assessing and analysing the science and research system as a whole, including all its stakeholders.”

volve all the relevant social groups, including civil society which is taking on an increasingly important role as a knowledge generator. At the same time, the project should demonstrate what developments are possible and in what areas, who will be affected by these developments and to what extent. Depending on perspective, some of these developments are more desirable for the position of Europe‘s research landscape than others. Determining appropriate courses of action

Ultimately, the scenarios allow both policy-makers and research organization managers to determine their strategic options and decide on appropriate courses of action. Clearly there is a great difference between the impact caused by radical rather than gradual change. Social groups and areas are affected in very different ways, depending on the development. Consequently the various stakeholders can use the scenarios to design their own strategies in a forward-looking manner. It is important to EU research and innovation policy whether the major challenges of our time (such as climate change) can be tackled with the means and measures currently available. Which groups need to cooperate in order to solve the grand challenges in the future? This is relevant to many individual areas, stakeholders and interests, as already demonstrated for individual ideas, for example, the plan to shift from diesel and petrol cars to electric cars in the near future. How should a research project be designed in or-

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Foresight & Policy Development

Explorative scenarios are developed in workshops. These provide the basis for drawing up transformative scenarios, making it possible to think through even unexpected developments.

der to drive the necessary transformations? Foresight approaches such as the scenario method are helpful in clarifying these and similar questions, and identifying courses of action for policy makers.

Research services Research, technology and innovation (RTI) policy plays a central role in the development of innovation systems, and thus in strengthening the economic performance and the ability to tackle societal challenges. This requires designing, analysing and evaluating efficient and coordinated organizational structures, governance processes and policy instruments. Foresight is a key tool in this context. This research service focuses on the development of research and innovation strategies for RTI policy makers, knowledge-based organizations and research promotion agencies. Strategy formulation and implementation is based on intensive knowledge transfer between research institutes and companies, internationalization of research and development, service innovation or the integration of customers into the innovation process. ///

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Many applications for the findings

This is doubly interesting for the AIT experts, since the project results are not only relevant to EU research policy but also for AIT’s own future strategic development. For example, the RIF project has shown that applied research organizations, such as AIT or Fraunhofer, are strongly impacted by the changes to the research system and, depending on the scenario, could either assume new functions or become less relevant. The question of how Europe can maintain its current position in science and innovation in the face of increasing international competition is another important point. Last but not least, the RIF project also offers the stakeholders themselves important insights into potential developments by involving them in the process. The final workshops focus on the consequences and conclusions thrown up by these various future scenarios. And these could offer extremely important input, for example for EU research

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller


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funding. Thinking about the future always has an immediate impact on the future. One key trend which has been identified is the increasing opening up of science. Additionally, the manner in which research is undertaken is becoming increasingly heterogeneous. There is increasing competition and a strong focus on results. Tensions arise between excellence in research compared to its contribution to solving social needs, diversity versus homogeneity, cooperation versus competition, intellectual property and economic exploitation versus free access to knowledge, the importance of quality and integrity in science and much more.

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller

The research landscape in transition

Combining these observations and using them to systematically present transformative scenarios opens up clear development paths. One such transformative scenario, for example, is that of Open Research Platforms, where scientists worldwide are brought together via web platforms and can share their results to drive research in their fields. This path has been smoothed and encouraged as a result of greater coordination in the field of R&D as well as greater complexity in the research system. The driving forces behind this development have been declining state funding paired with increasing global cooperation and trends towards the open exchange of knowledge. In this scenario, it was the failure of the highly fragmented research landscape to rapidly find a solution for a suddenly occurring fatal epidemic which finally led researchers to jointly search for a solution via an open platform. The important point is to closely scrutinize the transformation processes in the areas of open source, self-organization via open research platforms and the question of intellectual property. „In the future lay people, users or affected parties such as patients could contribute to the research process, or companies even open up their development departments, in order to find new solutions,“ explains Rhomberg. The trend is already perceptible; the question is how much stronger it could become. Yet the question of how in future intellectual property rights and remuneration can be regulated or projects implemented in practice still remains to be clarified. Another possible scenario developed as part of RIF is referred to as Knowledge Parliament. The

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Foresight & Policy Development


Philine Warnke /// Senior Scientist, Foresight & Policy Development Department „One of the core questions in the development of potential scenarios is to find out who determines what is researched.“

core question here is who determines which subjects will be researched? Civil society demands greater involvement. „We‘re talking here about new forms of knowledge,“ says Warnke. „In analysing areas of tension, the question increasingly arose as to what is officially recognized as science and how knowledge is legitimated.“ For example, the discussion of whether conventional medicine alone is valid, and what „alternative“ medicine can offer. Grand Challenges for Real

Inspiration and innovation in particular are expected from unconventional sources of knowledge, making the world significantly more multifaceted. An increasing number of stakeholders are generating and disseminating knowledge. In turn, the “Grand Challenges for Real” scenario deals with a world in which catastrophes lead to targeted, global research efforts. Having developed the final five scenarios, the next step is to determine the courses of action for each stakeholder. In a first step, a RIF High Level Stakeholder Workshop entitled “Exploring strategic policy options of Research and Innovation Futures” was held in Amsterdam on 15 March. This will be followed by further workshops in which the individual stakeholder groups will be supported in using the outcomes from the RIF scenarios to determine consequences for their strategies, ensuring they are equipped to face the challenges of the future. ///

Further details: Foresight & Policy Development Department, Beatrice Rath, Phone: +43 505 50-4508, e-mail:beatrice.rath@, Web: www.ait.

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➜ Energy

Smart, smarter – SmartEST! /// The new AIT SmartEST Laboratory offers the technical infrastructure and scientific expertise needed to develop the smart grids of the future. ///

●● In a nutshell Over the coming years, an increasing number of distributed generators such as photovoltaic plants and wind parks will feed energy into the grid. So-called “smart grids” enable the efficient management of fluctuating power flows using intelligent network management. With its new SmartEST Laboratory, AIT now offers a globally unique testing and research infrastructure for these future-oriented network systems. A wide range of cutting-edge equipment can be combined in the laboratory, enabling new components and control concepts as well as their interaction with the grid to be tested and optimized under realistic operating conditions. This experimental development facility is of particular interest to network operators and manufacturers of components for distributed power plants.

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The increasing use of renewable energy is seen as one of the most effective measures in the fight against climate change. In future, increasing numbers of distributed solar, wind and biomass plants will feed electricity into the grid, where they can lead to voltage fluctuations and capacity constraints due to fluctuating supply and bidirectional power flow. In the foreseeable future, many operators will not be able to integrate further distributed power plants into their networks without costly line re-

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inforcement. “The solution to this problem is smart grids,” says Wolfgang Hribernik, Head of Business Unit Electric Energy Systems at the AIT Energy Department. “These intelligent electricity networks make optimal use of system capacity via constant coordination between electric power generators, consumers and storage devices and thus facilitate intelligent energy management.” Setting up the smart grids of the future does, however, raise the key question of how the multitude of new components and control concepts will affect the networks. For safety reasons it is not possible to test the various scenarios in real network operation. The AIT SmartEST (Smart Electricity Systems and Technologies) Laboratory, which was opened at the end of April, is a globally unique infrastructure enabling the components and concepts for the networks of the future to be tested under realistic operating conditions. “With our new laboratory we offer manufacturers as well as network operators the possibility to analyse interactions between components and the grid to ensure that their products and concepts are fit for the future,” explains Hribernik. Wolfgang Hribernik /// Head of Business Unit Electric Energy Systems “Smart Grids make optimal use of system capacity via constant coordination between energy generators, consumers and storage devices and thus facilitate intelligent energy management.”

Peak performance for AC and DC

Potential test candidates for the AIT SmartEST Laboratory are various components used in distributed energy technology. The range extends from photovoltaic inverters to electric energy storage systems and grid controllers through to components used in combined heat and power systems or charging stations for electric vehicles. A total of three independent, freely configurable laboratory grids are available for testing purposes and can be operated at powers of up to 1000 kilowatts. This allows, for example, the modelling of low voltage networks supplying several houses at 1:1 scale. “Using grid simulators and adjustable network models, voltage and frequency can be varied as

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required, enabling us to simulate different network configurations and states in the laboratory,” explains Christoph Mayr from the AIT SmartEST Laboratory. “This enables us to establish, for example, how components react to grid failures or voltage drops or the triggering of protective mechanisms.” Christoph Mayr /// Engineer, Energy Department “Grid simulators and adjustable network models allow us to vary voltage and frequency as required to simulate different electrical conditions in our laboratory grid.“

One important component of distributed energy generation are inverters, which in photovoltaic systems, for example, transform the direct current from the PV module into alternating current for the grid. With the increasing share of distributed renewable energy, this power electronic element takes on more and more active grid support functions and therefore plays a key role in network management. In order to be able to carry out tests under realistic conditions, the AIT SmartEST Laboratory also features a PV simulator capable of providing direct voltages of up to 1,500 volts and currents of up to 1,500 ampere. “Currently, the trend in inverters is clearly focused on higher system voltages as these provide higher system outputs and enhanced efficiency levels at lower cost,” says Mayr. “This PV simulation system, which is the only one on this scale in the world, allows us to offer manufacturers a state-of-the-art test and development platform needed for tomorrow’s system developments.” Connecting virtual and real worlds

In the smart grids of the future, electricity and information do not flow in only one direction – there is permanent interaction between the power generator, the grid and the consumer. These complex interactions can be simulated and analysed in the SmartEST Laboratory in so-called “Power Hardware in the Loop” simulations (P-HIL), where a section of the network is simulated by the software and the components are hooked into the virtual grid environment. The P-HIL simulations provide real-time information about how

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Roland Bründlinger /// Senior Engineer, Energy Department “The key feature of the AIT SmartEST Laboratory is that different simulation infrastructure can be combined as required.“

compatible the individual components are both with the overall grid structure as well as with other devices connected to the network. “Our infrastructure allows us to connect up to several components simultaneously, for example a PV system, an electrical storage unit and a charging station for an electric car, which is the kind of

configuration we will see more and more in the future,” explains Mayr. Climate conditions ranging from arctic to tropical In operation, the individual components of the energy infrastructure are exposed to a range of climatic conditions, which strongly influence the components’ efficiency levels and service life. In the environmental test chamber at the SmartEST Laboratory, these influences are simulated by subjecting the components to temperatures ranging from between -40 to +120° and humidity levels of up to 95%. “Unlike other test chambers, here we have the possibility to test the devices in operation, i.e. at full power,” explains Christoph Mayr, talking about the main advantage over conventional environmental tests. In the course of long-term tests with constantly varying temperatures and humidity levels, the experts can literally watch the equipment age. Within just a few weeks, the simulated, accelerated aging process enables conclusions to be drawn about the state and performance of a component after 20 years of operation in outdoor conditions.

Research services The SmartEST Laboratory offers state-of-the-art infrastructure and qualified experts for smart grid research and development. It allows distributed generation components and their interactions with the grid infrastructure to be tested under realistic conditions in a safe laboratory environment. The infrastructure includes configurable laboratory grids, grid simulators, PV simulators, equipment for power hardware-in-the-loop simulations and an environmental chamber for tests under extreme temperature and humidity conditions. These advanced testing and simulation facilities can be combined to provide completely new testing capabilities going far beyond the standard. The SmartEST Laboratory is open to grid operators and manufacturers, making an important contribution to the development and optimization of new products and control strategies for distributed generation. ///

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“The key feature of the AIT SmartEST Laboratory is that high-performance laboratory infrastructure for grid simulation, PV simulation, real-time P-HIL simulation and environmental simulation is all concentrated in one location and can be combined as required. This opens up the way for novel test and research approaches,” says Senior Engineer Roland Bründlinger, explaining the unique qualities of the new facility. Indeed, it is currently not possible in any other laboratory worldwide to test a high-performance inverter in the environmental chamber at full power under varying solar radiation and grid conditions provided by the PV and grid simulators. This will in future also improve the predictability of fluctuating energy sources such as solar power. “International efforts are focused on enabling the power output from PV systems under varying weather conditions to be proactively fed into the grid management system, which is already common practice in the case of wind power,” says Bründlinger. “Reliable data about the effect of environmental influences on the output of photovoltaic systems is indispensable for such performance predictions.” With its comprehensive infrastructure and extensive expertise built up over many years, the AIT

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, radiantskies/, Marco2811/, Fronius

It’s all in the mix

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Energy Department is already recognized as a leading player among the top research and test centres for distributed energy generation. This is clearly reflected, for example, in its role as lead participant in international networks, including DERlab, the association of top European laboratories and research institutes in the field of distributed energy technologies, as well as its international equivalent, the Smart Grid International Research Facility Network (SIRFN) of the International Energy Agency.


ducts and their interaction with the network under realistic conditions. “Our primary objective is to ensure that our energy infrastructure is well equipped to deal with future challenges and to further strengthen the competitiveness of Austrian industry within the future-oriented smart grids market”, says Bründlinger, confident that the AIT SmartEST Laboratory is set to make a key contribution in this area. ///

Benefits for manufacturers and network operators

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, radiantskies/, Marco2811/, Fronius

Naturally, there is strong interest from manufacturers and network operators in the new test and research centre. Grid operators can use the SmartEST Laboratory to test their control concepts and protection mechanisms in a safe experimental environment under extreme conditions before implementing them in their own networks. For manufacturers, on the other hand, the most important thing is to test and optimize their pro-

Hannes Heigl, Teamleader Process Technology, Research and Development Solar Electronics, at Fronius International GmbH on the importance of modern research infrastructure for distributed energy generation. What does Fronius regard as the key challenges in the integration of renewable energies in electricity grids? As a technology-driven company the focus is mostly on technical issues and on finding appropriate solutions. And this also tends to be the main debate on the market. Yet technical implementation is really only one aspect. Personally, I see the main challenge not in technical implementation but in understanding that distributed power generation needs a completely different perspective than centralized energy supply. If we focus all our efforts on integrating them into the existing infrastructure, then many benefits of distributed energy generation will go unused. In my opinion, from a technical point of view, local energy management is one of the key issues when it comes to efficient energy supply of the future. Fronius and AIT have a successful long-standing collaboration. What is the role of research and development for your company as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of photovoltaic inverters?

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Further details: Energy Department, Michaela Jungbauer, Phone: +43 505 50-6688,, Web: energy

To put it briefly, development creates turnover in the near future and research creates turnover in the longer term. So they’re both key to the long-term survival of a company. At the same time it’s also important to take the opportunity to deal with new or challenging topics, with less of a focus on concrete turnover figures. This of course calls for being patient together with having the ability to think outside the box and daring to venture into unfamiliar territory. At the end of the day, success as well as the role R&D can play within a company, depend to a great extent on the people involved and their ability to turn ideas into reality and quantifiable results.

The AIT SmartEST Laboratory provides a globally unique laboratory infrastructure for tests and simulations. What is the importance of this experimental development facility to Fronius as a manufacturer of components for distributed energy generation? In the still relatively new and rapidly changing photovoltaic sector there are currently few opportunities at international level to examine technical or normative research questions and exchange ideas with experts. Fronius considers itself very lucky that we have a leading research institute working in this field here in Austria. By enabling early examination of technical questions, the infrastructure provided by the SmartEST Laboratory represents a key step towards identifying solutions in the renewable energy field. For us as a company, this infrastructure opens up improved opportunities for us to react to the constantly changing market requirements and shorten our innovation cycles. I also anticipate that AIT will use the SmartEST Laboratory to further extend its expertise in the field of renewable energy and will thus continue to be an important partner for Fronius in the future. ///

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➜ Safety & Security

THE FUTURE OF BORDER CONTROL /// Border controls are generally an inconvenient and time-consuming business for air passengers. However, these controls are necessary for a country‘s internal security. Together with partners, AIT has therefore developed an automated control system at Vienna Airport which is designed to make future passenger processing significantly more efficient as well as user-friendlier. These automated control systems support the work of the border police, although police officers can naturally step in at any time. ///

●● In a nutshell Since October 2012 field testing of an automated border control system has been underway at Vienna Airport. The system was developed by AIT together with partners as part of the national Future Border Control research project. Passengers walk through a fully glassed-in security gate, the eGate, one possible form that an automated border control system could take. It only requires the passport to be placed on the passport scanner. The first door opens and as the passenger walks in, a camera system checks that only one person has entered and that the photograph in the passport is that of the passenger. The second door opens only when all the criteria for crossing the border have been fulfilled. The project aims to identify the criteria required in an efficient, quick and user-friendly automated system for border controls. The AIT experts bring to the project their specialized expertise in the field of image processing, and evaluate the overall system on behalf of Austria‘s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BM.I) and Vienna Airport.

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Air passengers still look sceptically at the glassed-in border control system which, in a field trial at Vienna Airport, has recently become an addition to normal border controls. With its scanners and cameras, the system takes over the role of the police in checking passports and their bearers. „In future, automation should speed up the entire border control process, giving police more time to maintain security,“ explains Andreas Kriechbaum, project manager and image processing specialist in AIT’s Safety & Security Department. Police are currently making air passengers aware of the eGate, which has been installed close to the conventional border booths for manual passport control, as the idea of automated border controls is still completely new to most air passengers. Automatic support for controls

The first prototype was developed, and is being continually optimized, as part of the Future Border Control (FBC) project to speed up border control processing. The project is managed by AIT in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for the Interior (BM.I), Vienna Airport, IT specialist ATOS (system design, biometrics) and Gunnebo, world leading provider of entrance control systems. The Institute for Empirical Social Studies (IFES) is

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also involved, examining aspects of user friendliness and acceptance. The aim of the project is to investigate the criteria required for an efficient, quick and user-friendly automated border control system. Field tests for the Future Border Control project started in November 2012. The national research project was launched in November 2011 as part of the Austrian safety and security programme KIRAS and sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). The project will generate information about the reliability of automated border controls. As these systems are planned for operational use in the future, the project will not only encourage further development by industrial and research partners, but also enable the BM.I to draw up sound tender specifications for the commercial version of such a system. Intensive field testing to maximize user-friendliness

The project is also providing Vienna Airport with valuable experience in using such systems and embedding them into existing infrastructure. As well as technical aspects, the tests examine user acceptance, legal considerations, integration into existing systems and necessary security criteria. In April and July 2013, social scientists from the IFES will carry out surveys to investigate acceptance levels for the installed prototype. As all relevant data is automatically recorded the research project has been registered with the Data Protection Commission. Passengers are informed about the research project and the use of their personal data via a display on the eGate and must agree to this use prior to passing through the system. This is necessary so that the data generated (e.g. facial images) may be used for research purposes in order to improve the system. Once fully operational, the system will not record any personal data. High usability

The eGate consists of two glass gateways and a glass passageway. Air passengers simply stand in front of the deliberately transparent entry gate and place their electronic passport with chip onto a passport reader. The system then reads all the relevant data on the passport chip. Subsequently, the first gateway opens and the

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Safety & Security


passenger is requested to enter. Inside the eGate a stereo camera on the ceiling checks that only one person has entered. The solution for this so-called system of “passenger separation” is one of AIT’s contributions. The AIT algorithm also detects backpacks, trolleys or any other objects that have been left behind. A second camera checks whether the face corresponds to the digital image in the electronic passport; the passenger is not required to stand still for this check, but can simply walk through the passageway. The second gateway opens only when all the criteria for the border crossing have been met, thus completing the process. Where the criteria have not been met, border police take over. Thanks to automation, in future a single border policeman will be able to monitor several eGates via cameras from a surveillance station. The technology will reduce the necessity of manual processes such as stamping the passports of non-EU citizens in a few years, giving border police more time to identify suspicious passengers or luggage. Andreas Kriechbaum /// Scientist, Safety & Security Department „Our system will speed up the entire border control process, giving police more time to maintain security.“

Large share of AIT expertise

In addition to project coordination, AIT will also evaluate the entire Future Border Control project, which involves examining similar automated systems at other airports. IT specialist ATOS is responsible for the system design, processing and biometric control systems and Gunnebo for the mechanical locks. AIT is examining a variety of passport readers and contributes its expertise in video technologies using its own algorithms. The evaluation of passport data transmission will take into account not only speed but also factors such as potential manipulation and secure encryption. A second camera is used for facial recognition, comparing the image with the passport photograph; the system is implemented by ATOS. The facial recognition system and another commer-

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Safety & Security

Research services Reliable image processing is essential for next generation security applications, especially in the surveillance of critical infrastructure and industrial processes. Novel concepts, architectures and algorithms improve detection quality of video systems and reduce false alarms. The new high-resolution cameras enable new applications, but also require novel hardware architectures such as multicore concepts and new processors as well as advanced software architectures and algorithms. The challenges include higher performance, higher resolution (at exponentially increasing data rates), higher detection and tracking quality, more complex algorithms for enhanced robustness at reduced false alarm rates as well as better usability. The image processing algorithms must also produce reliable results both in indoor and outdoor applications, even under poor lighting conditions. The Safety & Security Department has extensive expertise in optical 3D stereo vision, a high-performance application for combining data from different sensors. The research results are being applied in the implementation of multimodal sensor systems for obstacle and lane detection as well as navigation of autonomous systems. New concepts, architectures and algorithms are being developed for model-based analysis of video content for security applications, for high-performance content analysis of printed media and for autonomous systems using 3D vision. ///

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cial system will be evaluated by ATOS and AIT and optimized for the application environment. “Automated border control systems are coming, that’s for sure,” says project coordinator Kriechbaum. “The question is how to design them so that they quickly find acceptance.” Automated systems such as today’s ubiquitous cash dispensers always need a certain familiarization period. The automated system is primarily targeted at business travellers and frequent flyers. AIT sets the pace in Europe

The automated recording and control of entry data is also important to the EU. As recently as the end of February the European Commission presented its Smart Borders Package which proposes an entry-exit system automatically recording the entry and exit of travellers from third countries. This will be complemented by a Registered Traveller Programme for frequent flyers from third countries, enabling this group of people to use eGates.

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, 123rf/janmika, 123rf/kritchnut

The automated recording and control of entry data is also important to the EU.

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Safety & Security

These developments are very important for a further project led by AIT, which was launched in this year and will run for four years involving 27 European partners: the EU project FastPass is intended to create a harmonized and modular system for automated border controls across the EU. The experiences gained during the Future Border Control project will be extremely helpful. FastPass is also designed to find the best way of combining increasing mobility with greater security demands, and is developing systems for use across the EU, including roads and harbours. Air

passengers should be able to look forward to faster border controls, coupled with greater security. ///

Photos: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller, 123rf/janmika, 123rf/kritchnut

Colonel Johann Riedl, Federal Ministry of the Interior (BM.I), on the opportunities and advantages offered by fully automatic border control at airports. Colonel Riedl, passengers at Vienna Airport have been able to test the first fully automatic border control system for the past couple of months. The new system has been developed in a project led by AIT. What are the BM.I’s expectations for this prototype? The development of fully automatic border control systems to support the border police in managing constantly growing passenger streams is striding ahead. The BM.I anticipates that the prototype currently being tested will provide practical experience demonstrating what can be expected from a fully automatic border control system, as well as indicating the opportunities and risks associated with this technology. Air passengers want to get through the border controls as quickly as possible. They are always in a hurry. What security aspects must be considered? In terms of focus, border control must be considered as fundamentally separate from security control. There is always comprehensive security control for each person and luggage, even where there is no border control, for example, for flights within the Schengen area. When it comes to border control, the BM.I places great importance on thoroughness. The quality and care with which border controls are carried out cannot be compromised simply to speed up the control process.

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Further details: Safety & Security Department, Michael Mürling, Phone: +43 505 50-4126,, Web: security

The KIRAS Future Border Control research project has developed the first prototype to test all factors including user-friendliness, acceptance and security. How has AIT been able to contribute with its know-how? AIT has proven itself a competent and reliable partner. When can we expect fully automatic border controls to go into standard operation? The BM.I is currently giving fundamental consideration to the possibility of installing automated border control gates for border controls, especially at Vienna Airport. It’s not currently possible to predict when fully automatic border controls will become standard at Austrian airports on a large scale. There are many factors determining the success of such extensive measures and, furthermore, agreement at EU level is vital in view of future potential European developments. How well is cooperation with AIT working out? Cooperation with AIT representatives has been quick and uncomplicated; we placed great importance on effective communication right from the beginning. Thanks to this direct contact, together with the experts from AIT it has been possible to find flexible solutions for spontaneously arising challenges during every phase of the project. How would you judge AIT’s innovative performance as an applied research organization? From my perspective it’s impossible to evaluate the entire range of innovations which really lie behind the results we’ve achieved. The wishes of the border control staff naturally not always coincide with what’s technically possible. But for us at the BM.I, it was always exciting to see how much effort AIT put into successfully meeting and implementing the BM.I’s operational requirements. ///

04.06.13 09:31



CAREERS AT AIT /// Tomorrow Today talked to Helfried Brunner, Senior Engineer and Thematic Coordinator for Smart Grids in the AIT Energy Department about what appeals to him most about pursuing a career in non-university research. ///

What do you regard as the main advantages of working in a non-university research institution? First and foremost, it’s being able to perform highly applied and industry-oriented research. It offers opportunities to work with cutting-edge systems and breakthrough technology, to develop new methods and to be involved right from the start with theoretical ideas and concepts, all the

AIT CAREER MODEL SENIOR ENGINEER Senior Engineers support the Business Unit management in the strategic development and positioning of the Business Unit. Responsibilities include the development and management of large, complex projects of strategic importance, as well as publishing articles and registering patents, developing concepts for applying and exploiting the findings and instructing Junior Engineers and Junior Expert Advisors. Success in this role depends in particular on a system-oriented appreciation of the available technological options as well as of customer needs and the market situation. Specialized training corresponding to the particular professional and strategic orientation is available. Individuals demonstrating superior leadership competence have the option of assuming additional management responsibilities as a Thematic Coordinator.

Requirements ●● Completed Master level degree or equivalent ●● Several years of professional experience in research and development ●● Profound scientific or technical knowledge in the respective field coupled with a superior understanding of systems ●● Exceptional knowledge of the market and of customer needs ●● Ability to successfully network both within the organization and beyond as well as implementation skills ●● ● Ability to think and act strategically and in a business-minded manner

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way through to developing product solutions in collaboration with industry partners.

What are the qualities young scientists applying for a research position with AIT need to have? Are there any tips or advice you would give them? Naturally, they need to have a sound scientific education. Furthermore, apart from having the necessary specialized expertise, the research activities performed at AIT require staff to have an in-depth understanding of complex systems. Researchers at AIT also need to be extremely curious about scientific topics and be prepared to put considerable energy and effort into working on national and international research projects in which they play a highly proactive role. Apart from your work as a research scientist you’re also a lecturer at UAS Technikum Wien – does your day have more than the usual 24 hours? Well, I find that teaching offers me a great opportunity to pass research findings on and discuss them with young academics. It’s an enriching experience which more than compensates for the time it takes up. Of course, it also offers me and other AIT colleagues who teach at universities and universities of applied sciences the opportunity to come into contact with potential future thesis students or even colleagues at an early stage. What do you see as the strengths of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology compared with other similar institutions? One of the major advantages at AIT is the continuity in research it offers due to the four-year strategic focus on research topics and the availability of relevant funding. Another undoubted strength is of course the AIT staff, who combine their different specialist backgrounds and work together

Photo: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller

Helfried Brunner, Senior Engineer im AIT Energy Department

Helfried Brunner, as a graduate of both Graz University of Technology and UAS Technikum Wien, your expertise is very much in demand in industry. So what made you choose to go into research? I always wanted to work in research. My particular interest is (and always has been) in issues connected with energy supply. I chose to go into research because it gives me the opportunity to take an active role in shaping the future of energy supply in Austria and in Europe.

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to enable a highly interdisciplinary approach to be taken in the different research fields in key infrastructure areas.

As Thematic Coordinator for Smart Grids you are involved in a range of different national and international networks. To what extent does AIT profit from such international contacts? It’s only possible to play a leading role in national and international networks if you have gained a reputation within the research community. Involvement in these activities opens up opportunities for discussing and positioning national research at international level and thus supports Austrian research and industry. It also makes it easier to identify international trends at an earlier stage and bring them to Austria. Such activities enable us to position ourselves as an international partner. That’s important because European and international research projects are key strategic and economic factors for AIT.

Photo: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology/Krischanz & Zeiller

In Europe, AIT plays a leading role in the field of smart grid research. Why is there such international demand for AIT’s expertise in this area? Thanks to our strategic focus and the excellent national project and funding situation as well as our excellent research infrastructure, we have been successful in gaining international visibility – particularly in the smart grid sector. We’ve also been a longstanding partner in large European research projects and networks. The fact that initial solutions are already operating under test conditions in the grid means that along with our expertise in simulation we can also demonstrate our practical experience in the implementation of such solutions. Smart grids are a high priority focus at both national and international level. What are the conditions that need to be put in place to facilitate their large-scale introduction? From a research perspective, support needs to be given to both grid operators and industry in order to minimize the current uncertainty in the field of future-oriented network planning and operation. The key issue is when, where and which smart grid solutions are most appropriate. This is proving to be quite a challenge as the various networks in different countries have their own individual features, and climate and societal differences of course also play an important role in this context. That means there’ll be a portfolio

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of different solutions and technologies rather than one single smart grid solution.

Will it even be possible to transform the existing energy infrastructure into modern smart grids? Definitely not everywhere. In cases where energy infrastructure is already at its physical limit then even smart grid solutions won’t help. We expect, however, that in a significant proportion of the existing European infrastructure intelligent solutions can be deployed to make use of additional reserves. One of the focuses in smart grid research at AIT is currently on the development of methods to identify the most appropriate smart grid solution for a given situation. Looking to the future, what can we expect in terms of global energy supply in 2025? In Europe, we’ll definitely see a major move towards sustainable energy systems and renewable energy sources will play a key role in energy supply. As far as global energy supply is concerned, however, I don’t expect to see any significant change by 2025 due to the growing demand for energy from newly industrialized countries. The global trend towards a sharp increase in the share of electricity in end-use energy consumption is set to continue. On the one hand due to increasing electrification in countries such as India and China and on the other hand due to increased use of more efficient technologies such as heat pumps or ventilation systems, which generally tend to be more dependent on electrical energy. ///

Further details: Elvira Welzig, strategische Personalentwicklung, Phone: +43 505 50-4008, e-mail: elvira., Web:

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INNOVATION CALENDAR 07 MAY: SENIOR eDAY Modern information and communication technologies (ICT) are a motor for growth and employment. ICT applications have revolutionized all business sectors and also penetrated private life. The fast-paced development of ICT means that e-skills are gaining importance and must be continuously kept up to date. In addition, the development of e-commerce is resulting in a growing demand for creative persons with sound conceptual ICT expertise. Venue: Kurhaus, Hall in Tirol Infos:

22 – 24 MAY: CEDEM13 The international Conference for e-Democracy and Open Government 2013 addresses topics such as e-democracy, e-participation, open government, open access, e-policies and social media. Personalities from industry, research, academia and public administration are invited to participate and submit contributions (papers). Papers will undergo a peer review process and will be published in the conference proceedings. Venue: Danube University, Krems Infos:

13 – 15 MAY: IE EXPO 2013 With over 24,000 visitors and 753 exhibitors in 2012, IE EXPO is the leading trade fair for water management, wastewater treatment, recycling and energy-efficient technologies in Asia. AIT will be represented by the Energy and Health & Environment Departments. Venue: Shanghai Infos:

23 – 24 MAY: EHEALTH 2013 – BIG DATA – EHEALTH FROM DATA ANALYSIS TO KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT eHealth2013, Austria’s leading scientific conference on digital medicine will be held as part of the eHealth Summit Austria for the first time this year ( The eHealth Summit Austria aims to develop a close network within the e-health community by involving all stakeholders active in the healthcare sector, i.e. research, hospitals, politics and industry. Venue: Schönbrunn Conference Centre, Vienna Infos:

13 – 16 MAY: SMART GRIDS WEEK The Smart Grids Week – Salzburg 2013 aims to make a significant contribution towards the process already successfully started in Austria to further strengthen the development of the electricity infrastructure and keep up with international developments. Venue: Salzburg Infos: 14 MAY: IT-KOLLOQUIUM „MACHINE TO MACHINE COMMUNICATION“ Prominent lecturers from Austria and abroad will present new developments in machine to machine communication to an audience of over 150 experts. Online registration is available via the OVE event calendar. Venue: ÖIAV banquet hall, Vienna Infos: 14 – 16 MAY: SNEC PV POWER EXPO 2013 The SNEC PV Power Expo in Shanghai is an international photovoltaic exhibition and conference and is one of the largest events for the photovoltaic sector in Asia. Numerous national and international companies use SNEC as a platform to present their latest developments and solutions in the field. Venue: Shanghai Infos: 16 MAY: JUNIOR eDAY WEST In analogy to the Senior eDay held on 7 May in Hall in Tirol, this event is designed to show the potential of ICT applications to young people. Venue: Innsbruck Infos: 16 MAY: AUSTRIAN M2M & MOBILE PAYMENT FORUM The Internet of Things is considered one of the most exciting topics in IT and is set to become indispensable in many sectors. The event will provide an outlook on the prospects of M2M and will also critically address current developments in the sector. One focus will be on mobile payment as one of the most topical and exciting applications of M2M. The AIT Austrian Institute of Technology acts as a partner of the forum. Venue: Tech Gate Vienna, Vienna Infos:

27 MAY: POLITICS AND ADMINISTRATION IN AUSTRIA The AIT Foresight & Policy Development Department is organizing a conference on politics and administration in Austria together with the Austrian Society for Politics and Administration and the French Cultural Institute. Venue: French Cultural Institute, Vienna Infos: 13 JUNE: 3RD IT SECURITY DAY FOR SMART GRIDS Smart Grids require critical ICT infrastructure, which must be appropriately secured to safeguard the reliability of technical control and administration processes. TeleTrusT is organizing the 3rd IT Security Day for Smart Grids, where experts from different companies will present current developments concerning standards and norms, control technology and electric mobility with a focus on IT security. Venue: Thomas-Dehler-Haus, Berlin Infos: 19 – 21 JUNE: INTERSOLAR EUROPE 2013 Intersolar Munich is an international exhibition and congress for solar technology. Some 2,200 exhibitors, including the world’s leading manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and service providers, will showcase new products and services in the areas of photovoltaics, PV production technology and solar thermal on an exhibition space of 165,000 m² and present the latest developments and technical innovations. The exhibition will be complemented by a comprehensive conference programme. Venue: Munich Infos: 19 – 21 JUNE: IST 2013 – 4TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABILITY TRANSITIONS The Foresight & Policy Development Department is organizing a session on “Technological Innovation Systems 2.0 – next steps in conceptual developments of the TIS framework” together with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development and Innovation Utrecht. Venue: Zurich Infos:

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AIT TOP JOURNAL PAPERS /// From now on, each Tomorrow Today issue will present papers recently published by AIT scientists in high impact international journals. ///

T. Weber, S. Wassertheurer, M. F. O'Rourke, A. Haiden, R. Zweiker, M. Rammer, B. Hametner, B. Eber: „PULSATILE HEMODYNAMICS IN PATIENTS WITH EXERTIONAL DYSPNEA – POTENTIALLY OF VALUE IN THE DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION OF SUSPECTED HEART FAILURE WITH PRESERVED EJECTION FRACTION“ J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;():. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.02.013 The scientific paper published in the “JACC – Journal of the American College of Cardiology” (one of the top international cardiology journals with an impact factor of 14.1) for the first time describes and validates an approach to extend echocardiography by pulse wave analysis, improving the diagnostic accuracy by up to 30 per cent as compared to the guidelines. The method was tested on over 300 patients and verified through catheterization. The background of this work: catheterization is the gold standard in the diagnosis of potential diastolic dysfunction (“stiff heart”). However, this method is laborious, expensive and burdensome for the patient. This applies in particular to patients who in the end do not suffer from heart failure. To avoid this, cardiac ultrasound (echocardiography) is used as a non-invasive method in initial diagnostic assessment in accordance with international guidelines. One of the authors, Siegfried Wassertheurer, works as a Senior Scientist at the AIT Health & Environment Department. Link to the abstract:

J. Hoekman, T. Scherngell, K. Frenken, R. Tijssen: „ACQUISITION OF EUROPEAN RESEARCH FUNDS AND ITS EFFECT ON INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION“ Journal of Economic Geography, 2012, 12, 5, 1-30. The paper analyses effects of European Framework Programmes (FPs) for Research and Development on transnational collaborations in science. The FPs are the EU’s key instrument for stimulating transnational research collaboration. The main aim of the paper was to investigate whether the funding of transnational research projects in FPs has a statistically significant effect on subsequent scientific col-

laborations in the form of international co-publications. This question was analysed at the regional level in the EU-27 countries using methods of spatial interaction modelling. The results show that the greatest effect can be observed for scientifically lagging regional pairs; this means that regional pairs which did not intensively copublish prior to participation experienced a statistically significant and sustainable increase in international copublications following FP funding. This indicates that the FPs are in line with EU cohesion policy and do not follow a “picking the winners” approach. One of the authors, Thomas Scherngell, works as a Senior Scientist at the Foresight & Policy Development Department of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology.

D. Bruckner, C. Picus, R. Velik, W. Herzner, G. Zucker:: „HIERARCHICAL SEMANTIC PROCESSING ARCHITECTURE FOR SMART SENSORS IN SURVEILLANCE NETWORKS“ IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, 8 (2012), 2; S. 291 – 301. The paper describes a research detail – a nine-layer system architecture including hardware and software – developed within the EU project “SENSE”. It is part of a system designed for the monitoring of security-critical premises (e.g. airports) using stationary sensor nodes. Each sensor used in the project included a camera and a microphone array. The aim was to combine the data of all sensors in order to obtain a more coherent view of unusual situations than would be possible with individual sensors. The individual sensors have also been designed to recognize their neighbours by correlating their perceptions without the need for prior calibration. Wolfgang Herzner, who co-authored the paper and developed the system architecture, works as a Senior Engineer at the AIT Safety & Security Department.

The magazine Tomorrow Today is a media collaboration with the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. Editorial responsibility rests with Austria Innovativ.


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THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO SHAPE IT. If your company is looking for cutting edge innovations, then AIT Austrian Institute of Technology is your partner of choice. Because in our institute the most acute minds in Europe are working today on tomorrow’s tools and technologies, laying the ground for the solutions the future demands. Learn more about the future by visiting

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18.01.2011 12:37:47 Uhr 25.02.2010 13:47:47 Uhr

Tomorrow Today 05/2013 english  
Tomorrow Today 05/2013 english