What has to happen to get consumers to apply their knowledge on sustainable consumption to their everyday shopping habits? Which population groups are most affected by the consequences of anthropogenic climate change and the necessary adaptation strategies? Does the withdrawal of the public sector from the fields of water, electricity and gas supply harbour risks with regard to social justice and environmental protection, or does it open up more scope for sustainable action?
The "Social-Ecological Research" funding priority is characterized by the interdisciplinary pooling of knowledge to provide scientific contributions to solving concrete social problems of sustainability.
As a rule, this requires interdisciplinary cooperation between researchers in the natural and the social sciences. As these are problems of everyday life, research must look beyond the science system and take into account the expert knowledge which exists in practice (transdisciplinarity). All societal stakeholders – consumers, municipalities, companies and civil society – are therefore involved in the research process in different ways. The objective is sustainable development, i.e. the ecological modernization of society without neglecting mankind’s desire for social justice and prosperity. This is a highly complex task which is at the top of the Federal Government's research agenda.
Taking into account the results of a programme evaluation, the second phase of the funding priority began in 2006. Capacity building at universities and non-university research institutions was accorded an important role.
There are three different funding instruments: 1) Infrastructure Funding, 2) Funding for Junior Researchers, and 3) Thematic Research Funding.
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