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.

Future Energy Supply

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.

Viewer Registration

Again, it will be possible for the public to attend the closing event of the Forum Junge Spitzenforschung on 10th November 2021.

Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the event will be held online.

There will be exciting presentations on the topic of future energy supply and a keynote speech held by Philipp Schröder, CEO & Co-Founder, 1KOMMA5°.

Please register for the event until 9th November 2021 following the link below.

Jury & Keynotespeaker


After studying European Construction Management at the University of Applied Sciences Oldenburg and European Civil Engineering Management at Högskolan i Halmstad, Sweden, Hasso Grünjes joined Siemens in 2001 in the Transportation Systems Division, where he worked on international rail infrastructure projects in the following years. From 2008, he was responsible for sales of railroad electrification systems in Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic States. In 2011, he moved to the Innovative Mobility Solutions division and completed a part-time degree at the law faculty of the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder). Since 2016, he has been responsible for the eHighway System at Siemens, a solution for the electrification of road freight transport.

Andreas Kuhlmann, Vorsitzender der dena Geschaeftsfuehrung. Copyright: Thomas Koehler/

Andreas Kuhlmann has been Chairman of dena’s Executive Board since July 2015. In this role, he has sharpened dena’s profile as a driver and pioneer of energy transition and climate protection. Exemplary projects in this regard include the international innovation initiative “Start Up Energy Transition”, which now brings together around 1,500 startups from all over the world, as well as the flagship study Integrated Energy Transition, in which dena has developed strategies for the future and for achieving climate targets together with over 60 partners from business and science. Andreas Kuhlmann studied physics with a minor in economics at the universities of Bonn, Heidelberg and Corvallis (USA). He began his professional career in 1995 at the Institute for Environmental Physics at the Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg. This was followed by various positions in the political arena, including the European Parliament, the SPD, the Bundestag, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and the German Embassy in Stockholm.

Markus Köster is responsible for Innovation to Business at EDF and as such leads the innovation activities of the European division. As founder and former CEO of BadenCampus, he has more than 10 years of experience, especially in the areas of incubation, acceleration and funding of innovation and start-ups. As a child of the energy industry, Mr. Köster is concerned with the current technical and structural challenges of the energy transition. It is his conviction that a nationwide climate-neutral energy supply in the future cannot succeed without research and innovation.


Claudia Rathfux has been Head of Customer and Market Relations at the Berlin distribution network operator Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, a company of Berlin Energie Netzholding GmbH, since September 2016. As a graduate in business administration, she is responsible in her position for the sales and services of the network operator and is also responsible for the further development of network operations around the future topics of smart grid, smart city and digitalization. Prior to this, she had held various positions within the distribution and transmission system operator since 2006, after spending several years in management roles at Berlin-based energy service provider Ampere AG.

In addition to her work at Stromnetz Berlin, Claudia Rathfux is also spokesperson for the Smart City Berlin Network, an association of more than 100 innovative partners from business, science and administration in the capital, as well as chairperson of the board of InfraLab Berlin e.V..

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”.