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BackgroundFor a successful transition to a sustainable energy system, not only technical but also social innovations are required. A major challenge to social innovation research is how to translate the social innovation from a novelty with big potential into a mainstream practice. The multilevel perspective (MLP) of socio-technical transitions provides a heuristic to understand how niches can potentially break through to the regime level. In this paper, we examine in how far a multilevel perspective approach is suited to analyze and better understand diffusion trajectories of social rather than technological innovations, taking a social practice theory perspective. Five example projects, selected among the top social innovations for the Energiewende in North Rhine-Westphalia, are analyzed. We discuss to what extend the MLP provides a helpful tool to understand the transition processes.
ResultsSocial innovations can be very divers. We find that the MLP does not offer a one-size-fits-all framework for the analysis of the diffusion of social innovations. The MLP proves applicable only in those cases where the social innovation (1) can lead to a system change and (2) has a clear competing or symbiotic relationship with an existing regime.
ConclusionsSocial innovations that aim to be transformative in the sense that they have the goal to be system changing (rather than incremental) can be analyzed along the heuristics of the MLP. For this type of social innovation, the MLP can be fruitful to learn to better understand the diffusion dynamics of social innovation and the barriers and drivers they might face. However, for social innovations that aim at incremental improvements without challenging the existing system, the MLP cannot be applied to study the diffusion process.
[en] For the second time the Aachen Institute for Nuclear Training (AiNT) in cooperation with the TEUV Rheinland invited for the International Conference on Nuclear Decommissioning (ICOND). About 300 participants from industry, regulatory and licensing authorities, facility operators and research met in Aachen to discuss the present and future of the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. (orig.)
[en] Sinkholes represent a geological risk that is often underrated, mainly due to its very localized nature. In fact, sinkholes occur only under particular circumstances and typically affect relatively small areas. Despite these characteristics, the difficulty in forecasting the precise location and timing of their sudden collapse creates serious problems for civil protection authorities and urban planners. In this framework, identifying the mechanism and thus the triggering factor of sinkholes is strategically pivotal in developing management plans. The present paper addresses the sinkhole-prone area of Il Piano (Elba Island, Central Italy). The integration of hydrogeological surveys, coupled with a thorough study of historical maps and aerial photographs, suggests that the main triggering factor in this area may not be related to water pumping from the karst aquifer, as initially hypothesized. Instead, sinkholes appear to be caused by ravelling and erosive processes occurring entirely in the sedimentary cover when heavy rainfall induces water overpressure within the superficial aquifer.
[en] The purpose was to identify some general and genotypic-specific defense responses, in order to obtain a set of candidate genes presumably involved in the resistance. The experiment was carried out in León, Spain. We have analyzed the response of three lentil genotypes to Ascochyta lentis (isolate AL 84) at transcriptomic level using the Massive Analysis of cDNA Ends (MACE) technique: the susceptible cultivar 'Lupa', the moderately resistant 'ILL5588' and the resistant wild accession 'BG 16880' (L. culinaris subsp. orientalis). MACE results yielded a total of 50,935 contigs. The average number of detected contigs in each of the six samples was approximately of 40,000. In response to Ascochyta infection, the jasmonic acid pathway and the lignin biosynthesis were up-regulated in resistant genotypes, while they were down-regulated in the susceptible one. The response to chitin, the salicylic pathway and the auxin response were activated only in the resistant L. c. culinaris genotype, while the giberellin synthesis was only induced in the susceptible L. c. culinaris cv. 'Lupa'. A set of 18 lentil gene sequences putatively involved in the response to the pathogen were validated by RT-qPCR. It can be concluded that in response to the infection by Ascochyta, the lignin biosynthesis and the JA pathway were critical for the resistance, while the giberellin synthesis seems to be related with susceptibility to the pathogen.
[en] The fractal behavior of extreme rainfall intensities registered between 1940 and 2012 by the Retiro Observatory of Madrid (Spain) has been examined, and a simple scaling regime ranging from 25 min to 3 days of duration has been identified. Thus, an intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) master equation of the location has been constructed in terms of the simple scaling formulation. The scaling behavior of probable maximum precipitation (PMP) for durations between 5 min and 24 h has also been verified. For the statistical estimation of the PMP, an envelope curve of the frequency factor (km) based on a total of 10,194 station-years of annual maximum rainfall from 258 stations in Spain has been developed. This curve could be useful to estimate suitable values of PMP at any point of the Iberian Peninsula from basic statistical parameters (mean and standard deviation) of its rainfall series. .
[en] This is the first study to examine the existence of environmental inequality related to industrial facilities in Austria. Using distance-based methods, socioeconomic characteristics of inhabitants living in 1.0 km buffer zones around the 247 polluters registered in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry are compared with those of inhabitants living elsewhere in Austria. While in Vienna no clear signs of environmental inequality can be found, in the rest of Austria people living in close vicinity to industrial sites are more often unemployed, have lower education levels and most notably, are twice as likely to be immigrants. Moreover, a logistic regression shows that the disparities concerning immigrants cannot solely be explained by other socioeconomic characteristics. The results of this study add to the evidentiary base concerning environmental justice disparities in Europe and suggests how application of distance-based methods can facilitate cross-national comparisons. (letter)
[en] As a result of changes in seismicity in the Groningen area, a need has arisen to be able to rapidly assess and prioritize entire inventories of unreinforced masonry churches. As a part of being able to provide resource optimization to determine which structures are in most need of intervention, a multilevel methodology to assess seismic performance is presented. The process involves both data collection and vulnerability assessments. This multilevel approach involves progressive refinements to the data collected and to the complexity of the analyses conducted. Five data collection phases are used in conjunction with three progressively more complex methods for the seismic assessment. The first level of assessment uses only statistical information of the structures with information that can be obtained through desktop reviews. The second level of analysis uses key characteristics of wall thickness and height to develop simple models for each wall in each church. This level of analysis requires at least a preliminary site visit. In the third level of analysis, a more refined model of the church is developed from detailed site surveys of the structure where each wall is modelled and assessed. The process involves the assessment of the in-plane behaviour of either whole churches or single walls (global response) and the out-of-plane behaviour of single elements (local response). The study applies the approaches outlined in the NEN NPR9998 2017 combined with the Italian Standards for the cultural heritage. This paper outlines this Seismic Multilevel Assessment of Churches methodology and how it applies to an inventory of 52 unreinforced masonry churches in the Groningen area, The Netherlands.
[en] What are good practices? ● Define a communication strategy with a communication plan. ● Identify targets and determine the regularity of publications. ● Develop an editorial line with rapid information sharing and responsiveness in interaction.
[en] The VGB Congress 'Power Plants 2013' took place in Masstricht/NL from September 25 to 27, 2013 under the motto 'Security of Supply - From Challenges to Solutions'. Experts from 31 countries attended the largest European congress for power and heat generation to discuss and inform about current issues. The congress comprised the sections 'Security of Supply: A Common European Challenge', 'Technical Solutions for our Future Electricity Generation', 'Operational Experience as Key Competence' and 'Thinking Ahead: Projects and Visions 2020+' where participants and lecturers dealt with the future challenges of European power supply. (orig.)