The content on this page was translated automatically.

02/21/2024 | Research

Can a conscious approach to values contribute to greater sustainability?

In her research project LEVER, Professor Andra-Ioana Horcea-Milcu, head of the Cultures of Sustainability department at the Institute for Sustainability at the University of Kassel, is investigating whether a greater awareness of values among people can lead to more sustainable decision-making processes. The results could help to promote sustainability transformations in societies. She has now received a grant of 1.22 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC).

In the project, the researchers combine transdisciplinary and transformative research with social science experiments. In case studies, for example, they are investigating how value awareness affects the collective and individual decision-making processes of various actors in relation to sustainable land use. These studies are taking place in Moldova (around Chișinău) and Romania (around Cluj-Napoca), among other places.

"Today, we have a solid analytical understanding of socio-ecological problems, but we lack specific knowledge about how we can concretely steer the necessary change. Current research methods are not sufficient to respond to the current sustainability crises," explains the professor. "That is why I am grateful for the European funding from LEVER, which enables us to develop methods and tools that focus on the co-production of knowledge that enables social transformations."

Andra Horcea-Milcu has headed the Cultures of Sustainability department at the Kassel Institute for Sustainability since March 2023 and holds one of the four core professorships there. She completed her doctorate in 2015 at Leuphana University Lüneburg on human-nature relationships in place-based socio-ecological systems and has worked as a sustainability researcher at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam. Horcea-Milcu is one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Background: The Kassel Institute for Sustainability

Since March 2023, the Kassel Institute for Sustainability has brought together top-level sustainability-related expertise at the University of Kassel and combines normative-critical research on the concept of sustainability with solution-oriented research in specific areas of application. Research at the institute is inter- and transdisciplinary and aims to scientifically analyze and critically reflect on topics based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and beyond, and to develop solutions. In addition to research, the institute focuses on the (further) development of teaching and courses related to sustainability.



Prof. Dr. Andra-Ioana Horcea-Milcu

Head of the "Cultures of Sustainability" department

Phone: 0561 804-2857