/SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Build a resilient infrastructure, promote broad-based and sustainable industrialization and support innovation

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If you have any questions or are interested in participating in SDG 9, please contact the UniNEtZ Coordination.


Jens Weise
Tel.: +43512 507 54043

The Agenda 2030

SDG 9 focuses according to the UN (2015, pp. 21-22) on the establishment of a resilient infrastructure, the advancement of a wide-ranged and sustainable industrialization and the support of innovations. SDG 9 addresses the economic sphere of sustainability with its main pillars while a sustainable transformation of the infrastructure, sustainability-oriented R&D and innovation are strongly considered as enablers for the fulfillment of several other SDGs as well. Due to the increasing influence of the megatrend “circular economy” on European economies and market conditions, SDG 9 is embedded in its larger context (acatech, 2020).

The main research question within Target 9.1 is how the infrastructure can be transformed to enable a sustainable development of enterprises and how the infrastructure itself can be designed and operated more sustainably. The high importance of target 9.1 for Austria is underlined by the strong dependence of society, economy and connected sustainable developments on a sustainable and highly developed infrastructure.

Target 9.5 focuses on a qualitative shift towards sustainability-oriented R&D and innovation in science and industry. This shift should assist the priorization of innovations and technologies that contribute towards solving the challenges posed by sustainability, whereas those that obstruct this development should be abolished or prevented. The described steps create the basis to develop and implement new sustainable products, technologies, processes, business models and organizational structures.

SDG 9 Targets:*

9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all

9.2 Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries

9.3 Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets

9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities

9.5 Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending

9.a Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States 18

9.b Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities

9.c Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020

*The targets in italics will be scientifically examined by the UniNEtZ and options to fulfill this target by 2030 will be developed. The Targets 9.2, 9.3, 9.a, 9.b and 9.c will not be considered, as the UniNEtZ has no expertise in this area.

Situation in Austria

The situation of SDG 9 (Sustainability-oriented transformation of industry, innovation and infrastructure), is as follows in Austria:

With respect to developing quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure (target 9.1), total freight transport increased strongly, whereas the portion of railroad transport decreased in recent years. Regarding the reuse, recycling and waste infrastructure, approximately 3,100 waste processing and elimination facilities were operated in Austria in 2018 (BMK, 2020). Infrastructure for a separate collection of waste and reusable materials is already well-established. However, high-tech sorting facilities are missing.

Concerning the enhancement of scientific research and the upgrade of technological capabilities of industrial sectors (target 9.5), the R&D expenses accounted for 12.69 billion euro (2019). The R&D quota (proportion of R&D expenses of the Austrian GDP) is 3.18 %, which lies within the leading group of Europe (BMBWF, BMK, & BMDW, 2020). Strengths within the Austrian R&D environment are the collaboration with various partners or the number of patent applications. Weaknesses exist about the employment levels within research-intensive areas or the creation and advancement of a research-friendly environment (European Commission, 2019).

The challenges for Austria in SDG 9 are the increasing volume of freight transport together with the decreasing importance of rail traffic. Moreover, modernization and digitization of reuse and recycling structures play an essential role in supporting a transformation towards a circular economy.

Option list

(based on the options report to be published)

The options elaborated by the SDG groups are to serve as a means of communicating to the federal government which concrete options can be set by Austria in order to implement the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The options report will be published on 02.12.2021.

  • Option 9.1: Development and advancement of a sustainability-oriented freight transport infrastructure (“from roads to rails”)
  • Option 9.2: Establishment and modernization of a sustainability-oriented reuse and recycling infrastructure
  • Option 9.3: Advancement of sustainability- and circularity-oriented R&D
  • Option 9.4: Circular Economy Innovation & Technology Roadmap

Fromer (2019-2022) Leadership and coordination of the SDG

From 2019 to 2022, SDG 9 was led by Erik Hansen (Johannes Kepler University Linz, JKU), Daniela Schrack (JKU) und Patrick Frey (JKU). SDG 9 has been unoccupied since 2022. If you are interested in sponsoring or participating in SDG 9, please contact the UniNEtZ coordination (koordination@uninetz.at).


acatech – Deutsche Akademie für Technikwissenschaften (2020). Circular Business Models: Overcoming Barriers, Unleashing Potentials: Report of the Working Group on Circular Business Models, Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland. Executive Summary and Recommendations. acatech – Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften e.V. (acatech); Circular Economy Initiative Deutschland (CEID); SYSTEMIQ Ltd., Munich, Germany.
Abgerufen von https://en.acatech.de/publication/circular-business-models-overcoming-barriers-unleashing-potentials/

Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung (BMBWF), Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie (BMK), Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort (BMDW) (Hrsg.) (2020a). Österreichischer Forschungs- und Technologiebericht 2020. Lagebericht gem. § 8 (1) FOG über die aus Bundesmitteln geförderte Forschung, Technologie und Innovation in Österreich. Wien.
Abgerufen von https://www.bmbwf.gv.at/Themen/Forschung/Forschung-in-%C3%96sterreich/Services/FTB.html

Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie (BMK) (Hrsg.) (2020). Die Bestandsaufnahme der Abfallwirtschaft in Österreich: Statusbericht 2020. Wien.
Abgerufen von https://www.bmk.gv.at/themen/klima_umwelt/abfall/aws/bundes_awp/bawp.html.

Europäische Kommission (EC). (2019). European Innovation Scoreboard 2019.
Abgerufen von https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/36281

Vereinte Nationen (UN). (2015). Resolution der Generalversammlung, verabschiedet am 25. September 2015 – 70/1. Transformation unserer Welt: die Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Deutsche Fassung.
Abgerufen von http://www.un.org/Depts/german/gv-70/band1/ar70001.pdf