Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Research Program “Designing for Sustainability”

The Hasso Plattner Institute and MIT collaborate on tackling global societal challenges through new joint research program “Designing for Sustainability”.

Call for Proposals

Proposals should be submitted by email as Adobe Acrobat (pdf) attachments to sustainability-research(at)hpi.de by 23:59 (GMT), June 3rd, 2024.


HPI and MIT formalized their collaboration with the launch of the “Designing for Sustainability” Program.  The signing on November 2, 2022 between the Morningside Academy for Design (MAD) at MIT and HPI marked the beginning of a new global partnership. We invite grant proposals for research on design and/or technology in sustainability. Funded research teams comprised of at least one faculty member each from HPI and MIT will be tasked with sustainable innovations. HPI and MIT wish to make joint contributions to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in 2015. HPI has already developed many initiatives in the area, including the clean-IT initiative.

Program Vision

The HPI-MIT “Designing for Sustainability” Program engages multidisciplinary research teams to investigate both innovation in all its dimensions and different application contexts as well as computer science for designing sustainable digital solutions. In particular, researchers should develop ambitious, long-term explorations related to the innovation strategies of design to generate sustainable impact for society across various domains of practice. The program applies rigorous academic research methods to understand the scientific basis for how and why design innovation works and fails. Design is understood broadly to include design research and thinking, design in the field of computer science, and design in entrepreneurship.  Funded researchers study the complex interaction between members of multi-disciplinary teams challenged to deliver breakthrough product, service, and business-model sustainable design innovations.

The first HPI-MIT workshop "Designing for Sustainability" took place at the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA (US) at the end of March 2023. Professors from both institutions discussed multidisciplinary research topics and formed new transatlantic team constellations to diagnose existing challenges and propose solutions to complex international problems.

The research collaboration is supported by the Hasso Plattner Foundation and set up over eight years, with an interim evaluation after four years. The funded program will entail semi-annual research workshops, quarterly virtual seminars, and student exchanges between both institutes.

Projects of the Research Program

Personalizing Product Designs while Minimizing Material Waste

Securing the Global Supply Chain

Designing sustainable antimicrobials with generative models for synthetic biology

Design of 2D magnetic material based stochastic computing devices for environmentally sustainable Artificial Intelligence


Predicting functional effects of genetic variants in ion channels

AI-Powered Startup Design for the Antroprocene: Providing Guidance for Novel Enterprises Addressing Planetary Challenges

Automatic Example Generation for Babylonian Programming to Facilitate Human-centric Domain Exploration

Sidewalk Ballet: A scalable urban analytic approach for explaining social qualities of urban streets

Culture and the Supply Chain: Transmitting Shared Values, Attitudes, and Beliefs across Cybersecurity Supply Chains