At the end of 2021 there will be a Forum Junge Spitzenforscher Again.

How will future energy supply be designed?

Practice-oriented ideas stemming from innovative research

6 Researches | 6 Pitches | 6 Prizes

With prize money totalling 30.000 € to use on further research.

Once a year within the framework of the research idea competition “Forum Junge Spitzenforschung”, the Stiftung Industrieforschung and the Berlin universities seek young researchers (m/f/d) with innovative and practice-oriented ideas and approaches to solutions that emerge from their innovative basic research.

For the eighth time already, the research idea competition “Forum Junge Spitzenforschung” takes place – with annually alternating calls. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual event format is planned for the closing event of this year’s forum.

We would like to thank the Stiftung Industrieforschung for the kind support and for providing the prize money.

You can get an impression of the past events in our “Review” section.

Deadline & Event

Application Deadline
22nd October 2021

Pitches & Award Ceremony
10th November 2021

Application and registration deadline

The new application round of the science competition “Forum Junge Spitzenforschung” on the topic of “Future Energy Supply” starts now. Junior scientists (m/f/d) can submit their complete application documents by 22 October 2021, 23:59 (23:59 hrs).

For the application and further information about the conditions of participation, please use the following link to our application form.

Energieversorgung der Zukunft

Future energy supply faces major challenges, as it must manage the balancing act of increasing energy demand on the one hand and reducing emissions all the way to greenhouse gas and climate neutrality in 2050 on the other. This means that future energy sources, grids and storage facilities must be designed to be efficient and sustainable.

Fossil energy sources are finite and in just a few decades and centuries we, as a society, burn through all the resource reserves that took the earth millions of years to accumulate. Therefore, in order to secure the energy demand of future generations, the shift to renewable energy sources must succeed: efficient energy production from sun, wind, water or biomass not only guarantee future energy supply but pose the more climate friendly options as they usually reduce greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to fossil alternatives and thus help preserving the climate for future generations.

Accordingly, future innovations in energy supply are contributing to the Circular Economy/Circular Society trend, in which the economy and society are basically aligned according to the 3-R principle (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). In addition to renewable energy sources, the core elements of a circular economy include the principle of closed (material) cycles and holistic systemic thinking. This applies in particular to future energy storage and management. New innovative battery materials are not only of very high importance in the efficient utilization of renewable energy sources but also when it comes to meet the requirements of high-quality, durable and, at best, recyclable materials. Powerful batteries also lay the foundation for the electrification of society and mobility. For example, the success and acceptance of electromobility also depends to a large extent on the charging and service life of the battery as well as its capacity, i.e. how many kilometers can be driven with one battery charge. Wherever electrification is not practical or possible, such as in aviation and shipping or as a substitute for fossil fuels and components in industry, the importance of sustainably produced hydrogen, so-called green hydrogen, as an alternative fuel is increasing. In contrast to fossil energy sources or other hydrogen production methods, green hydrogen complies with the concept of sustainability or the closed-loop resp., as no (harmful) waste is produced and the environment is not put under any strain (zero waste).

With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data, complex software can already calculate today the amount of energy needed at any given place and how much of it has to be put into storage. Such intelligent energy networks optimize energy output by distributing energy as efficiently as possible with a minimum of loss. Together with Cloud Computing, AI and Big Data technologies are innovation drivers for holistically conceived systems and technological innovations in energy supply and use. In homes with intelligent networks for example, smart home technologies (operated via smartphone) can monitor energy and heat consumption so that energy can be optimally used and economized. So-called net-zero houses, buildings with a neutral or positive energy balance, not only reduce their energy consumption with the help of such smart technologies; they also produce the electricity they need themselves and, ideally, can even feed electricity back into the power grid. For this not only the ever increasingly efficient classic photovoltaic systems on the roofs are coming into use. Robust solar panels as walkways, impact-sensitive tiles that convert the kinetic energy of pedestrians into energy, or transparent solar cells in windows are no longer dreams of a distant future and highlight the fact that the field of energy-producing building and engineering materials brims with potential for future energy innovations.

Special Thanks


The event is organized in cooperation with the three major Berlin universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, as well as Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.


As a company of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Humboldt-Innovation organizes the “Forum Junge Spitzenforschung”.