Research topics

In the broad landscape of sustainability science, the work of CESR stands out mainly because of its systems analysis- and interdisciplinary approach.. The staff members of the Center come from many different scientific backgrounds and are working together in a large number of interdisciplinary projects. Given the scientific competences at the Center, research foci exist, among others, on the following topics:

  1. Assessment of global environmental change processes and of their impacts. Specific projects under this topic are: (i) the modeling of water resources, their availability, use and quality at the global and regional scale; (ii) the simulation of the global and regional changes in land cover and land use patterns; (iii) the Earth Systems Modeling of water, soil and ecosystem functioning; (iv) the evaluation of global environmental security, i.e. the quantification of the impact of global environmental changes on human security; (v) the estimation of society’s vulnerability due to climate variability and climate change.
  2. Improved understanding of the relationships between human activities and the consumption of natural resources. Project foci are (i) quantification of impacts of life-styles in industrial nations on natural resources; (ii) agent-based modeling of water use; (iii) modeling the altered demand for land area.
  3. Identification of sustainability pathways and –strategies. Projects under this topic include (i) the sustainable land use taking into consideration the European scenarios of land use change and its impact on the environment; (ii) world water strategies including the development of world water scenarios; (iii) the protection of the functioning of ecosystems, including the elaboration of positive scenarios to protect the world’s ecosystems and their production capacity; (iv) integrated modernization concepts in the construction and housing business in order to save energy; (v) development of new scenario techniques.
  4. Increase of resource efficiency and ecological balances of environmental impacts. The projects focus on the following questions: (i) Comparative analyses of global resource consumption and the development of scenarios for sustainable future; (ii) resource implications of new technologies, in particular, material requirements and land intensity; (iii) life-cycle-analysis (LCA) and ecological profiles focusing on resource consumption, energy- and material flow management, among others, in the construction sector.