Intellectual Property Models for Accelerating Sustainability Transitions

An Analysis of Sustainable Business Models for High Impact Areas Including Clean Energy and the Circular Economy

IPACST is a major, three-year international and interdisciplinary research project that brings together the fields of sustainability, IP and innovation management, together with political sciences and engineering to transform our understanding of the role played by different Intellectual Property (IP) models in accelerating sustainability transitions.

The transition to global sustainable development is an urgent challenge. In 2015, countries globally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Effective transitions to sustainability require innovations with complex diffusion and adoption processes. The accompanied evolutionary technology development processes involve complex and intertwined IP related issues. The role of IP for effective transitions to sustainability however remains insufficiently understood. This project contributes to the integration of both fields through frameworks that conceptualize (i) which, (ii) how and under (iii) what conditions IP models accelerate sustainable transitions, in connection with sustainable business models.

"IPACST is a major, three-year international and interdisciplinary research project that brings together the fields of sustainability, IP and innovation management!"
Prof. Carsten Dreher
Chair of Innovation Management,
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Research Partners

News & Events

Using Intellectual Property to Help COVID-19 Vaccine Policy and Distribution. Authored by Ibrahim, Husam; at International Science Council – on 19 February 2021.

“Policy makers can take several steps to encourage innovation in this area of public good. The initial phase of the pandemic highlighted the effectiveness of patent pools as a mechanism to create and disseminate the vaccine at a rapid rate.  Mechanisms of IP collaborations, like voluntary licensing with negotiated price with the government or exploring a combination of IP and Non-IP incentives, or public private partnerships are some designs options for various stages of the vaccine technology value chain, in order to ensure rapid vaccination.”

Anjula Gurtoo, Professor, Indian Institute of Science; IPACST Project Team Member

The Sixth Biennial Conference of the Indian Academy of Management (INDAM 2020) organised by IIM Trichy took place on January 1-4, 2020 at Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli. Indian Academy of Management (INDAM) is an affiliate of the Academy of Management, USA.

The conference focused on range of management perspectives across 21 broad research tracks towards recent advances in increasing adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, industry 4.0, robotic process automation, innovation management, fintech, blockchain, analytics and so forth.

International Conference on Transformational Strategies for Business Sustainability (TSBS 2019) by Christ (Deemed to Be University) took place on October 4-5, 2019 in the premises of the Christ Bangalore.

The conference explored the emerging issues of transformational strategies for business sustainability. The diversity of speakers and experts chosen from the best of academia, industry and policy makers is sure to generate great ideas and initiate discussions that will open up further avenues for practice and research.

The Second IPRE annual event organized by the School of Law of the University of Geneva (UNIGE), in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) took place on 28-29 June in the premises of the WIPO and WTO buildings.

IPRE is an important initiative that brings together “IP academics and researchers to present and discuss their papers and works-in-progress with academic colleagues, policy makers, and other stakeholders”. For more information, see the IPRE website. Viola presented the project on 28 June in the session “Intellectual Property: Management and Role in Development”.

The special issue “Intellectual Property Strategies and Sustainable Business Models for Sustainability Transitions” is now open for submissions. Edited by members of our team, Dr Frank Tietze, Prof Anjula Gurtoo, Dr Viola Prifti, Dr Roberto Hernández Chea, and Prof Nancy Bocken, the special issue will publish relevant research on intellectual property and sustainable business models for sustainability transitions.

Please, find a link to the call for submissions

Our IPACST postdoctoral researcher in Berlin, Viola Prifti, gave a brief presentation on the link between intellectual property rights and sustainable agriculture at the European Photonics Roadshow, New technologies in Food and Agriculture organized by EPRISE (H2020, aiming to empower photonic SMEs in four Life Science sectors: health, food, agriculture and pharma) at the World Trade Center in Barcelona. The event featured innovation workshops on challenges from agriculture and food sectors and solutions provided by packaging and photonics technologies for a more sustainable agriculture. For more information about the event, see

On 29 May, the IPACST team welcomed for the first time its advisory board’s members in Berlin. The advisory board combines a wealth of outstanding entrepreneurial and scientific expertise in the fields of intellectual property and sustainability. The invaluable advice of the advisory board’s members helps IPACST refine the research project and further the exploration of the link between intellectual property and sustainability.

During the annual spring conference of the University for Sustainability Alliance, three team members of our research team presented their work and discussed it with the participants from various disciplines and countries. Pratheeba Vimalnath presented the core concept of the IPACST project in her keynote at the Workshop I: The Use of Knowledge for Sustainability Transitions” chaired by Prof. Dr. Carsten Dreher (Chair of Innovation Management, FU Berlin), Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Eppinger (HTW Berlin), Carsten Schwäbe, Myriam Preiss, Daniel Weiss. Viola Prifti demonstrated the conflict between different protection regimes for plant varieties. Roberto Hernandez Chea presented current research on sustainable business models and the role of intellectual property rights.

The event’s topic “The Future is Now: Driving Sustainable Development“sparked lively discussions among all participants: 166 researchers, students and sustainability experts from 20 countries, over 60 universities and institutions. Coming from different cultural and professional backgrounds, the participants shared their perspectives on the responsibility science and universities should adopt to contribute to the global sustainability discourse. With the conference, the Alliance aims to contribute to spreading innovative ideas, interesting research and sustainable campus solutions across the globe and to spark extended dialogue between all stakeholders on campus and beyond.

For further information and documentation of the Spring Campus Event, please visit:–Knowledge/index.html

Freie Universität Berlin is delighted to host the University Alliance for Sustainability’s (UAS) fourth Spring Campus Conference from April 1st-5th 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Our annual weeklong event is open to sustainability experts from all five UAS partner universities, as well as interested external stakeholders working in the field. In 2019, we will address the topic ‘The Future is Now: Driving Sustainable Development’ with a focus on three key topics: Energy, Food and Mobility.

The Workshop I will take place on April 2nd and 3rd.

The workshop aims at bridging insights and theoretical concepts considering the use of knowledge for sustainability transitions from different disciplines. While during the first day we will engage in presentations and discussions, the second day is dedicated to define practical implications for state and industry actors, and research implications for academia, and to spur further collaboration amongst the workshop members.

We invite contributions from scholars of different disciplines – including abstracts about new unfinished, conceptual ideas. During the workshop in April presentations of projects can be done either by a short presentation (15 minutes with 10 minutes discussion afterwards) or during a poster presentation session, which is recommended, especially, for PhD students.

Please, send your abstracts (600-900 words) to until 31st January 2019. The confirmations for the workshop will be sent out on 6th February 2019.

Read the complete Call for Contributions here.

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