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Research - 10.05.2023 - 10:05 

Three research projects honoured with the "HSG Impact Award 2023"

The University of St.Gallen (HSG) honours outstanding research with the HSG Impact Award each year. HSG researchers receive awards for the valuable contribution they make to society through their projects. This year the topics of sustainability, AI and climate finance are in focus.
Impac Awards 2023

A total of three awards will be presented. In 2023, these will go to the research project “Sustainable Aviation” by Adrian Müller, Dr Alexander Stauch, Prof. Dr Judith Walls and Dr Andreas Wittmer; to the project “Consistent and replicable estimation of bilateral climate finance” by Dr Anna Stünzi, Malte Toetzke and Florian Egli; and to Prof. Dr Damian Borth and Konstantin Schürholt for their research project “Hyper-Representations: Learning from populations of neural networks”.

The jury, consisting of practitioners and university members, evaluated applications from a wide range of HSG research disciplines: from sustainability and AI to climate finance. The prizes will be awarded during the Dies academicus next Saturday, 13 May 2023.

Learning from neural networks

At the latest since the hype around ChatGPT and the possibilities that applications based on artificial intelligence are already creating in our lives, AI is the talk of the town again. Prof. Dr Damian Borth and Konstantin Schürholt dedicated their project to the question of how we can make neural networks more secure, trustworthy and sustainable? By analysing populations of neural networks, the researchers want to find out whether there are any common patterns or structures. This would then make it possible to develop approaches and methods to train neural networks even more efficiently. This is a significant issue in relation to sustainability, but also in terms of the security and trustworthiness of the artificial instances.

 

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HSG Impact Awards 2023: Learning from neural networks

Transparency in climate finance

AI or machine learning is also the focus of the research project of Dr Anna Stünzi and her two research partners at ETH Zurich, Malte Toetzke and Florian Egli. In the project “Consistent and replicable estimation of bilateral climate finance”, an NLP model (Natural Language Processing Model) called ClimateFinanceBERT was developed to identify and classify climate protection projects. The findings and the publication have triggered a broad response: from the United Nations to the Financial Times. This is because the analysis of 2.7 million projects revealed that the officially reported figures on bilateral climate finance show a discrepancy with the actual figures. The model enables contributors, recipients and NGOs to verify climate finance pledges using uniform criteria. This creates transparency, which allows civil society organisations, for example, to analyse and classify this data independently of the donor side.

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HSG Impact Awards 2023: Transparency in climate finance

Sustainable aviation

Climate change and sustainability are also at the centre of the research project “Sustainable Aviation”. The focus: aviation and the question of how we can make it more sustainable. Although the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set sustainability goals, the industry as a whole still lacks the know-how on how the sector can manage the transition to decarbonisation and achieve the intended goals. What strategies can airlines use to fight climate change?  The researchers addressed these and other questions in their project, which culminated in the publication of a book, an industry conference and a CAS course.

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Impact Awards 2023: Sustainable Aviation

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