The school’s research in the three subject areas of Economics, Law and Political Science is highly recognized internationally and focuses on the structures, tasks and possible courses of action of the state. Leuphana School of Public Affairs joins existing competences and fosters cooperation between the disciplines in order to increase (inter)national visibility and connectivity. Already established interdisciplinary interfaces between the individual disciplines will be used more effectively and oriented towards common societal issues:

Research areas

Democracy Research
In the research area “Democracy Studies”, led by the Institute of Political Science, democratic structures and processes in politics, society, the economy and the environment are analysed. The research programme builds upon the achievements of the interfaculty "Centre for Democracy Studies" (ZDEMO). Central issues are questions of legitimacy and performance of democracies, whose integrative power is under threat, especially in light of recent upheavals in politics and society. These questions relate to the university-wide research agenda on transformation as a signature of the 21st century. The tension between legitimacy and performance is evident in three focal points of research: on a macro level, the focus is on the civic foundations of democracy – on values, attitudes and behaviour as prerequisites for the viability of democratic institutions. On a meso level, formal and informal institutional frameworks are explored, as well as their influence on the performance of party governments. This also includes questions of institutional reform and change. Finally, on a micro-level, the question of how the interaction between civil society and institutions is implemented in specific policy fields (e.g. environmental policy) and how emerging conflicts are democratically regulated is explored.

Law in the context of societal transformation
The research area “Law in the Context of Societal Transformation”, led by the law department, is concerned with the development of a transnationally oriented legal science that also turns to the social sciences, empirical evidence and practice in order to find answers and solutions to societal challenges. The Leuphana Law School has built up an interdisciplinary and international research profile that focuses in particular on the regulation of society and economy under the conditions of globalisation as well as on the interrelationships of law and societal transformation. This research agenda was very positively assessed and described as trend-setting in the last evaluation of the subject of law by the Scientific Commission of Lower Saxony (WKN) in 2015.

Evidence-based Policy Research
In the research area "Evidence-based Policy Research", led by the Institute of Economics, the focus is on the feedback between "theory and empirical evidence" (e.g. forecasts of effects), "implementation of measures" (institutional process and design) and "evaluation of measures" (e.g. causal effects, side effects, need for reforms). Although evidence-based policy is mostly associated with governmental action, evidence-based decision making and the understanding of scientific evidence is relevant in many areas of society and in its transformation processes. 


Research Centres

The Leuphana School of Public Affairs joins its research competencies in two interdisciplinary centres:

Center for the Study of Democracy (ZDEMO)
Center for European and International Law (CEIL)

Research infrastructure

Leuphana supplies scientists with optimal conditions for their research activities. Numerous supporting central services and modern facilities such as the Leuphana Laboratories (an association of interfaculty and interdisciplinary research laboratories on the 4th floor of the central building designed by Daniel Libeskind), provide the backbone of this excellent place of research.