Society: Social-ecological Research

How must a sustainable economy, consumption or lifestyle be designed? What new technologies, social initiatives or business models could become the big sustainability innovations of the future? And which political and economic frameworks have which sustainability impact? These and other questions are dealt with by the funding priority Social-Ecological Research; it illustrates the fact that sustainable development can only be achieved, by linking innovations in natural sciences and engineering with social innovations.

Societal transformation processes guided by the principle of sustainable development are a central focus for the funding priority Social-Ecological Research. It generates knowledge for sustainability transformations such as the energy transformation (Energiewende), sustainable urban and rural development, climate mitigation and adaption to climate change, and the transition to sustainable economic practice. An additional aspect is the promotion of young scientists by junior research groups.

In addition to the thematic research projects, the BMBF promotes the identification of methods and quality standards for successful transdisciplinary research: Project TransImpact – Effective Transdisciplinary Research. TransImpact provides a platform for the linkage of actors in transdisciplinary research.

Due to its complexity, Social-Ecological Research was devised as a "learning" programme. Its further development was carried out, in a transdisciplinary manner, in the course of an agenda process. In 2012 an agenda conference took place to enhance the funding priority. This resulted in the Memorandum "Understanding – Evaluating – Shaping. Transdisciplinary knowledge for a sustainable society", which was submitted by leading figures from transdisciplinary sustainability research and signed by more than 1000 persons. The third "Funding Concept for society-related sustainability research 2015-2020" was based on the findings from the agenda process that took place over the last few years.

For current funding measures and projects see "Measures" at the bottom of this page.


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