Doctoral Research Group Sustainability Science

Combating poverty, hunger and climate change, sustainable energy supply and cities, education and clean drinking water – these are all examples of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Such goals address societal challenges that need to be tackled through innovative strategies that include science and other relevant actors within society until 2030.

More than 30 professors and their research teams at the faculty of sustainability conduct solution-oriented research on transformation and development processes towards a sustainable society. Among others the inherent complexity of sustainability problems must lead to solutions that require the cooperation of different disciplines as well as the creation of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches that go beyond universities. Hence, sustainability research is been carried out e.g. in collaboration with political decision-makers, farmers, local entrepreneurs and many other actors. All are faced with specific challenges that can only be met successfully on the basis of innovative, theoretically and methodically based sustainability research.

Research projects are conducted on: socio-ecological systems, sustainable chemistry and material resources, energy systems, sustainable cities, sustainable management and learning processes for sustainable development. Within those areas the specific research foci can be on individuals, organizations and systems in order to shape and enable sustainable development on different spatial (regional, national, global) and temporal (short-, mid-, long-term) scales towards sustainability.

Doctoral Degrees

Depending on the subject and method of the dissertation, the respective faculty confers the following doctoral degrees:

  • Dr. phil.
  • Dr. rer. pol.
  • Dr. rer. nat.


  • Prof. Dr. Brigitte Urban

Doctoral Candidates and their Topics

There are currently about 120 doctoral candidates in ongoing dissertation projects.