Chal­lenges of Sus­tain­ab­il­ity Re­search

Kick Off | 2022 Septem­ber 14th – 16th

The first conference of the Kassel Institute for Sustainability will focus on the opportunities, problems and effects of the transformation in the sense of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their challenges for science.

Framed by keynotes on the key topics of nature, technology, culture and society, the conference offers lectures and discussions in a total of 25 different panels from the broad spectrum of issues surrounding the SDGs.

In the Open Space (Sustainability Research Café), the conference participants will discuss their proposals for research at the Kassel Institute.

What challenges does sustainability research face?

Which questions are already being investigated at the University of Kassel and what are the results?

What could be future-oriented interdisciplinary research questions for the Kassel Institute for Sustainability?

Conference language: English

Please register here (required, registration deadline: 15 August)
If you have a university account, please only use the pure account name (uk...) and not the email address.

Pro­gramme over­view

 Wednesday, 14.9.Thursday, 15.9.Friday, 16.9.
Morning Keynote
Panel 2
Panel 5
Open Space
Early afternoonWelcome
Panel 3
Late afternoonPanel 1Panel 4
Open Space
Early eveningAdditional lectures  

The conference will take place in presence.
Individual events (e.g. the keynotes) will also be available online. The respective links will be published here at the start of the conference.
Welcome, keynotes and closing will take place in the plenary.
All (planned) times and panel topics can be found in the programme below.
The rooms in which the panels will take place will be added here at the start of the conference.


The following personalities could be won as keynote speakers for the cornerstones of nature, society, technology and culture of the Kassel Institute

Ad­di­tional lec­tures

In addition to the main program, here are events offered in the context of the conference:

Pro­gramme Wed­nes­day, 14 Septem­ber

Wel­come | 13:00

Niels Annen (Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development)
Ute Clement (President of the University of Kassel)
Michael Wachendorf (Vice President of the University of Kassel)
Martin Hein (Theologian, Ethicist, Retired Bishop, Moderator of the Kassel Climate Protection Council)

Key­note | 13:50 | Janez Po­točnik (UNEP, In­ter­na­tional Res­source Panel)

We know from the work of the International Resource Panel that at the very heart of all the climate, environmental and human health challenges we face today are natural resources.  The use of materials - fossil fuels, metals, minerals, and biomass - everything we extract from the Earth, has tripled since 1970; and without transformative change, it will double again by 2060. Decoupling growth in wellbeing and prosperity from natural-resource use and its impacts is a must. We should use fewer natural resources to meet human needs, in the first place in high-income countries, and we need to reject the assumption that these systems need to be so resource intensive.

The fundamental problem lies in current economic model. Humankind has never separated out economic growth from ever-rising demand for resources. As a result, we are now overstepping planetary boundaries, and locking ourselves out of the safe operating space in which human societies evolved. Supply side measures need to be complemented with demand-side measures and resource efficiency with sufficiency-based policies, to fully exploit the potential in our sustainability efforts and to get us closer also to the questions of responsibility and equity.

Panel 1 | 15:20-16:50

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Environmental Footprints (EF) are increasingly being used as key performance indicators for assessing the ecological sustainability across scales from local to global. EF are applied in the assessment of environmental impact of products, services and infrastructures along the complete life cycle (LCA). Moreover, EF are used in the sustainability assessment and monitoring of economic sectors and nations. EF play also a growing role for measuring progress to policy goals such as the EU Green Deal, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or towards the Planetary Boundaries. The session will present the international state of knowledge on cross-scale environmental footprinting used to measure progress towards sustainability and pinpoint future policy applications and research needs.


  • Product Environmental Footprint and Consumption Footprint to support the Green Deal:
    Serenella Sala, JRC Ispra
  • From global Material Footprints to Product Material Footprints: Clemens Mostert, CESR
  • EF and Global Mining: Spatially explicit analyses of worldwide raw material flows and associated environmental impact: Stefan Giljum, WU Vienna
  • Timber footprints and benchmarks toward a balanced bioeconomy: Results and implications for Germany: Meghan Beck-O’Brien, CESR
  • EF in Life Cycle Assessment: Water Scarcity Footprint: Anna Schomberg, CESR

Panel Coordinators: Stefan Bringezu, Clemens Mostert

Location: Campus Center, Raum

The teaching and research focus Climate Thinking initiated by young scientists in 2019 shows how sustainable Climate Thinking at the Department 02 shows how sustainable development potentials can be development potential from the perspective of the humanities and cultural sciences. and cultural sciences can not only be penetrated, but also communicated to an interested public. to an interested public. Complementary to research traditions in the natural sciences research traditions, phenomena such as climate and the environment are examined in their linguistic linguistically constituted and culturally conditioned. Within the framework of the kick-off event of the Kassel Institute for Sustainability we would like to present the teaching, research and public relations activities of the department-wide outline planned projects as well as further initiatives, and to explore the possibilities of connecting and linking to the Kassel Institute.


  • Martin Böhnert (IfPh),
  • Paul Reszke (IfG),
  • other institutes involved IfAA, IfR, IKTh, IEvTh,

Panel Coordinator: Martin Böhnert (IfPh), Paul Reszke (IfG), Holden Härtl

Location: Campus Center, Raum

It is only possible to contain the global climate emergency if there is a fundamental rupture with the dominant modes of production and consumption. Sometimes, this is presented as a trade-off between environmental protection and the need to defend the livelihoods of workers, in particular if industries are concerned that produce fossil fuels or rely on them. Strategies of change promoted by organised labour, for example ‘just transition’ or ‘socio-ecological transformation’, are based on the assumption that it is possible to phase out fossil fuels and trigger fundamental change while also protecting jobs, for example through processes of industrial conversion. We will discuss whether such strategies are viable, how they can be implemented, and what kind of challenges unions and political decision-makers are facing in the process.


  • Renewable Energy Transition in Africa: The Role of Trade Unions, Simone Claar (University of Kassel)
  • Trade Unionism, Solidarity Economy and Agroecology: The Case of the Chemical Workers Union of Campinas, Hugo Diaz (State University of Campinas, Brazil)
  • Workers, Trade unions and the Imperial Mode of Living: Labour Environmentalism from the Perspective of Hegemony Theory, Markus Wissen (Berlin School of Economics and Law)
  • Labour’s Ecological Question: Voices from the Ground, Edlira Xhafa (Global Labour University Online Academy)

Panel Coordinators: Simone Claar and Alexander Gallas (Chair)

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goal from the Paris Agreement of a 1.5°C compliant economy will require immense investment and a corresponding redirection of capital flows toward sustainable economic activities and away from unsustainable activities. Therefore, the intersection of finance and sustainability, sustainable finance, has a key role to play in achieving the SDGs and will be central to future policy debates and research at the national and international level.

The aim of this panel is to provide an insight into the current state of research and policy on this topic and to derive an outlook on future research questions. Such a meeting should thus promote intra-university exchange and networking among the researchers involved. In addition, we also want to involve national and international researchers (and politicians) from outside the university in order to lay the foundation for future research work, research projects and research networks.

Panel Coordinator: Gunnar Gutsche und Christian Klein

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Plants and other photosynthetic organisms provide life on Earth including humans with energy and food. A central process in these photoautotrophs is photosynthesis which can be exploited for hydrogen production as an alternative highly sustainable energy source. However, human well-being not only depends on the sustainable use of photosynthetic organisms. Plant biodiversity also has a value in itself that justifies its protection. In a densely populated country like Germany, it is decisive to integrate agricultural land use strategies in nature conservation efforts. Organic agriculture relies on ecosystem services provided by diverse ecological systems and therefore offers system-immanent protection of biodiversity along with provision of foods.


  • Photosynthetic hydrogen production, Kirstin Gutekunst, Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, FB10, Biologie
  • Plant biodiversity and nature conservation, Birgit Gemeinholzer, FB10, Biologie
  • Ecological cultivation of plants, Miriam Athmann, FB11, Ökologischer Land- und Pflanzenbau, Ökologische Agrarwissenschaften

Panel Coordinator: Kirstin Gutekunst, Birgit Gemeinholzer, Miriam Athmann

Ad­di­tional lec­tures | 17:00 - 20:00

Pro­gramme Thursday, 15 Septem­ber

Key­note | 9:00 | Eliza­beth De­Loughrey (Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia, USA)

This presentation examines the recent oceanic turn in the humanities, particularly what Gaston Bachelard once termed the “depth imagination.” It stages an interdisciplinary conversation between recent scholarship about the speculative practices of Deep Sea Mining and speculative fiction that imagines techno-utopian futures of human life under the sea. In doing so it raises questions about the ways in which particular kinds of literary genres and reading practices produce an extractive imaginary, with a particular concern with the way in which terms like the “blue humanities” might trade in neoliberal discourses.

Panel 2 | 10:15-11:45

Location: Campus Center, Raum

During the last two decades, Latin America experienced a commodity boom, and, once again, began to specialize in the extraction and export of natural resources. Regularly, natural resources create a vision of a prosperous and glorious future and therefore contribute to myths of development that go hand in hand with the extraction, appropriation, and exportation of natural resources.

The panel’s objective is to uncover and discuss these myths on various levels. In addition to the political, economic, and social dynamics this panel focuses also on cultural and discursive aspects related to the myth of development in Latin America. In this perspective, the panel embraces the ambiguities and contradictions of glorified futures that materialize in institutional settings, social configurations, and political discourses and thus contributes to demystifying these glorified futures.


  • Juan Pablo Jimenez, FLACSO, Argentinien


  • Stefan Peters (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)

Panel Coordinator: Angela Schrott, Hans-Jürgen Burchardt, Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Location: Campus Center, Raum

For reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the World Bank estimates a gap of four trillion US-Dollar annually. According to its Maximizing Finance for Development approach, all sources of finance, including private sector money, must be attracted to closing the envisioned financing gap. Proponents of this approach claim that the “global pool of private money” can be mobilized for sustainable development through market-based financing instruments. Critics, however, claim that this strategy promotes a “financialization of development” which comes with high social, ecological and economic costs and risks, especially for marginalized social segments and countries from the Global South.

This panel provides a space to engage with this controversy from different perspectives by asking who benefits from financing sustainable development.


  • N.N. (KfW),
  • Daniela Gabor (UWE Bristol)

Panel Coordinator: Frauke Banse

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Part of the Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce inequalities and discrimination of persons with disabilities. In the last decade, the global movement for disability rights has worked strongly with the Convention of the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). States have introduced monitoring processes to coordinate efforts of state and civil society on this behalf. Globally, millions of persons with disabilities live in poverty and are discriminated in their access to the full enjoyment of the rights to education, work and health. Sustainable Development has to include persons with disabilities. In the panel we will discuss the interdependence of Disability Rights and Sustainable Development.


  • Kamil Goungor, European Disability Forum, Athens, “International Disability Organizations and the SDG Process”
  • Dr. Judith Striek, German Institute for Human Rights, Berlin: “SDG and Human Rights Monitoring for Persons with Disabilities”

Panel Coordinators: Felix Welti, Markus Schäfers

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Urban areas around the world face numerous environmental and economic challenges in view of required reduction of carbon emission. The panel ”Sustainable management of urban residual biomass” will outline innovative approaches to establish integrative carbon and water management concepts in urban systems by considering residual biowaste as a resource. Different valorization routes for biowaste will be discussed from a quantitative sustainability and an urban transformation perspective. The use of residual biomass helps decrease fossil fuel dependency whilst simultaneously reducing the demand for additional biomass resource.


  • CirCles - Circular economy of urban residual biomass via innovative utilization routes, Tobias Morck, FG Siedlungswasserwirtschaft;
  • Integrated carbon and water management concepts for sustainable urban development - a perspective from the global south, Willis Gwenzi, University of Zimbabwe
  • Sustainability assessment of biowaste valorisation routes, Thomas Astrup, DTU Environment, Denmark
  • Decentralized biochar and activated carbon production from residual biomass for environmental applications and carbon storage, Susanne Veser, Björnsen Beratende Ingenieure (BCE)

Panel Coordinator: Tobias Morck

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Innovations in electrical engineering and informatics are considered key technologies for reducing CO2 and achieving part of the SDGs. Four lectures will present key research areas of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Informatics:

  •  Smart glass for buildings and intelligent mobility: CO2 reduction, energy saving, personalized light, material resources saving and health promotion; Hartmut Hillmer
  •  „H2EASY“ – A project for the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier in commercial motor vehicles, Peter Zacharias
  • Sustainable Energy Systems, Martin Braun
  • Artificial intelligence as a key technology for achieving the SDGs, Bernhard Sick


  • Hartmut Hillmer,
  • Peter Zacharias,
  • Martin Braun,
  • Bernhard Sick

Panel Coordinator: Axel Bangert

Key­note | 13:30 | Sara De Jong (Uni­versity of York, UK)

Keynote Beschreibung


Panel 3 | 14:30-16:00

Location: Campus Center, Raum

The only option to influence climate change is pushing for a worldwide energy transition. This is one of the crucial objectives of the SDG agenda and it implies a global shift of the resource base both of production and consumption. In a nutshell, climate change signifies energy change, which translates into shifting patterns of raw material production and consumption. A global drive towards sustainability bears immense opportunities for many countries, the international system, and the world economy. However, this same claim to rapid, profound, and condensed social and ecological change in the Global North and the South also has a dark side, and these dark sides are often ignored or neglected. The panel places these dark sides at the core of the discussion and seeks to relink sustainability and energy transitions with uneven development both within societies as well as on an international level.


  • Andreas Goldthau (IASS Potsdam)


  • Rachid Ouaissa (Philipps-University of Marburg)

Panel Coordinator: Hans-Jürgen Burchardt, Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Location: Campus Center, Raum

European citizens who move within the European Union (EU) after retirement (may) face pension income insecurity or pension inadequacy. In principle EU social security law offers an extensive social protection of (relocating) pensioners: in a nutshell it can guarantee minimum old-age benefits. However, relevant provisions must first exist in the national laws that award a “minimum pension” or an “old-age minimum guaranteed income“. Furthermore, the differences both in the standard of living and in the amount of pension between the Member States still vary significantly. Against this background, numerous questions arise: Does for example the right to freedom of movement also apply to pensioners who move from one Member State to another but do not have “sufficient resources”? And are national benefits being provided to guarantee minimum income protection for the elderly and if so, how are they constructed? These and other questions shall be adressed by the present panel.


  • Minou Banafsche (University of Kassel, Faculty of Human Sciences, Institute for Social Affairs, Chair of Public Law, especially Social Law),
  • Stamatia Devetzi (University of Applied Sciences of Fulda, Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences, Chair of Social Law),
  • Hans-Joachim Reinhard (University of Applied Sciences of Fulda, Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences, Chair of Social and Private Law),
  • Olga Angelopoulou (Lawyer, Mediator of the Organisation for Mediation and Arbitration, Athen)

Panel Coordinator: Minou Banafsche, Stamatia Devetzi

Location: Campus Center, Raum


  • Eleonor Faur (UNSAM),
  • Asanda Benya (UCT),
  • Archana Prasad (JNU),
  • Akua Britwum oder Angela Akorsu (UCC)

Panel Coordinator: Elisabeth Tuider

Location: Campus Center, Raum

In the planned panel the often neglected dimension of philosophical competence in the sustainability discourse will be put up for discussion. It will also debate how nature and sustainability need to be determined from a philosophical perspective in order to be able to develop an emancipatory perspective on the socio-ecological challenges of the present. Four short talks will be followed by a panel discussion, which will then be opened to the audience present.


  • Alexandra Colligs
  • Kristian Köchy
  • Philip Hogh

Panel Coordinator: Dirk Stederoth

Location: Campus Center, Raum

The socio-ecological transformation is disruptively changing society and the world of work. The climate-induced change in social spaces has an impact on the world of work and lifestyles. The conflicts between social and ecological sustainability goals, which are emphasized in some places in the sustainability discourse, can obscure the view of their complementarities. In this panel we want to discuss conflicting objectives and moments of synergy in these discussion on the communal level. 


  • Jayeon Lindellee, Lund University, Sweden

Panel Coordinator: Stefanie Hennecke, Sarah Schulz

Panel 4 | 16:30-18:00

Location: Campus Center, Raum

The panel Extractive socities: cultural and artistic counter-movements aims at an international and interdisciplinary scientific-artistic exchange on resource-based societies in the interconnectedness of the global South with Europe. The focus is on Latin America with its biodiversity and long (post)colonial experience of resource extraction, which will be negotiated in the artistic-discursive context of documenta fifteen in Kassel. The panel aims to open up interdisciplinary perspectives from the humanities and cultural studies and the arts for the socially relevant questions on the collectivity and sustainability of our ways of life and the radically changing ecosystems of the global present.

In the context of documenta fifteen, the panel takes up contemporary art and artistic practices as critical reflections of extractive societies that explore alternative ways of thinking and perspectives of action on coexistence and collectivity. The innovative approach is to elaborate the aesthetic and critical potential of the arts and humanities for cultural strategies of sustainability, using documenta fifteen in Kassel as a space for reflection.


  • Elisabeth DeLoughrey (UCLA),
  • Más arte más acción (MAMA), Colombia


  • Liliana Gómez, 
  • Angela Schrott

Panel Coordinators:  Liliana Gómez, Angela Schrott

Location: Campus Center, Raum

The panel will address three pertinent questions for sustainable industrial policies:

  • What kind of industrial policies are required for an ecologically and socially sustainable economy?,
  • In what ways does global economic governance has to change to allow for sustainable industrial policy?,
  • How can the implementation of industrial policies be improved and what role can trade unions play in overcoming domestic resistance?


  • Praveen Jha (Jawaharlal Nehru University),
  • Bruno de Conti (Universidade Estadual de Campinas),
  • Vishwas Satgar (U of Witwatersrand),
  • Wm Baah-Boateng (U of Ghana),
  • Zeynep Nettekoven (House of Labor),
  • Hansjörg Herr (Berlin School of Economics and Law), Stefan Gold (U Kassel)

Convenor + Moderator: Christoph Scherrer

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Land use relates to a number of different UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Analytical tools to explore trade-offs and synergies between these goals are scenarios and simulation models. The Panel focuses on two case studies:

  • Land use in Western Amazonia and tipping points of social-ecological systems;
  • Land-based climate mitigation technologies and their trade-offs with food production.

In the first part, four presentations introduce the case studies and explain the respective application of scenarios and models. Second part is a Panel discussion that centres round the potential role of these analytical tools for policy-making and for developing pathways to a more sustainable land use.   


  • Western Amazonia: Merel Jansen (Uni Landau / ETHZ), Benjamin Stuch (Uni Kassel);
  • Land-based mitigation: Janina Onigkeit (Uni Kassel), N.N. 

Panel Coordinator: Rüdiger Schaldach, B. Stuch

Location: Campus Center, Raum

In recent years, more and more critical debates addressed limits, pitfalls and problems of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.  Scholars argued that the SDGs had certain blind spots regarding power relations, that were Eurocentric, reproduced old fashioned linear Western concepts of development, ignore debates about participation and empowerment in development theory and effectively reaffirm the promise of 'development' designed to justify a capitalist world order producing ever greater inequalities. The contributors of the panel will reflect upon these critical positions and explore alternative, global and less hierarchical ways of sustainability.

  • "SDGs from a postcolonial perspective" (Denk)
  • "Beyond the Decent Work Agenda. Sustainable Development and Labour seen from a Social Reproduction-Perspective" (Carstensen)
  • "SDGs from a Marxist/Buddhist perspective" (Pillay)


  • Devan Pillay (live via internet South Africa, Wits University),
  • Albert Denk (LMU München),
  • Lisa Carstensen

Panel Coordinator: Hubertus Büschel, Elisabeth Tuider, Aram Ziai

Location: Campus Center, Raum

With the spread of digital technologies, new market structures are emerging that on the one hand promise more sustainability, but on the other hand can also lead to undesirable negative side effects due to unclear governance structures and depending on the concrete implementation and use. Digital platforms have the potential to drive a change toward greater sustainability in the sense of reducing environmental pollution, energy and resource consumption, or improving working conditions. Especially in the area of informal markets, many platform initiatives can be found whose motivation is a transformation toward sustainable development. Despite their positive intentions, the realization of the sustainability potential of initiatives such as "Kolekt", the "Plastic Bank" app or the Grameen Bank is linked to prerequisites and conditions and raises some sustainability-related questions, such as:

  • Who is allowed to participate and who is excluded?
  • How is the trustworthiness of the platform ensured?,
  • How is opportunism contained?,
  • How is "infiltration" by non-sustainable providers prevented? 


  • Fostering social sustainability through value-sensitive and participatory IT design approaches,
    Claude Draude (Uni Kassel, FB 16, ITeG)
  • Sustainable human-AI collaboration in organizations through hybrid intelligence,
    André Hanelt (Uni Kassel, FB 07) & Mathias Söllner (Uni Kassel, FBs 07 & 16, ITeG)
  • Change in working conditions due to platformization,
    Stefan Gold (Uni Kassel, FB 07), Peter Eberl (Uni Kassel, FB 07)
  • Overcoming Salience Bias: Using Real-Time Feedback to Achieve Sustainable Behavior,
    Verena Tiefenbeck (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
  • The Role of IS for Circular Economy,
    Johann Kranz (LMU München)

Panel Coordinator: Stefan Seuring, Ralf Wagner

Open Space | 18:15

Open Space

Pro­gramme Fri­day, 16. Septem­ber

Panel 5 | 9:00-10:30

Location: Campus Center, Raum

SDGs and Global health: Biomedical solutions for social challenges?

Global health is high on the international political agenda. It relates to transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and requires interdisciplinary collaboration. The recent COVID-19 pandemic, which can be considered a global health challenge per se, exhibited essential deficits in global health policy. The predominant focus was put on biomedical approaches and solutions, while other disciplines were widely ignored or neglected. Biomedical reductionism, however, falls short vis-à-vis the global health challenges emerging from the non-medical social, political, economic and environmental determination of health, especially also regarding SDGs.


  • Jens Holst (Fulda University of Applied Sciences)
  • N.N. (Kenyatta University; angefragt Margret Keraka)
  • N.N.  (York University) (angefragt Mathieu Poirier)
  • Remco van de Pas (University of Antwerp)
  • Rüdiger Krech (WHO)

Panel Coordinator: Heiko Jahn (Universtät Kassel), Kai Michelsen (Fulda University of Applied Sciences)

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Despite the progress made to produce enough food that can feed everyone in the world, in 2020, an estimated 768 million people suffered from chronic hunger.[1] After few years of relative neglect of the agri-food system by policy makers, the soaring of food prices back in 2007/2008 and 2010, necessitated the re-emergence of vulnerability to food insecurity as central concern of the international and national policy agendas. Since then, a series of events, including recurring weather extremes due to intensifying effects of climate change, COVID19 pandemic, armed conflicts, and most recently the war in Ukraine, all highlight the dramatic urgency to improve resilience and sustainability of globalized agri-food systems worldwide. But what does that mean, and how does it play out on the ground?

This panel discusses the extent of the challenge and coping strategies of countries in northern and eastern Africa. Countries were severely hit by these multiple shocks and stresses and need to address food shortages and supply chain problems that have remerged with great urgency due to the war on Ukraine and related export bans, blockades, and the expected reduction of production of certain commodities. While some actors in the field, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), have begun to promote agroecology to improve resilience and sustainability, other voices call for intensified conventional production to ‘feed the world’. The panel is interested to understand the type of agri-environmental transformations that were politically intended and occurring, and whether, how and why these need to be re-evaluated in the context of the current crisis. Moreover, it aims to unravel the implications for resilience and sustainability of the food systems in these regions? Findings of the discussion aim to sketch a research agenda around building resilience and sustainability of food systems from the viewpoint of sustainable agriculture.

[1] FAO. 2021. The Sate of Food and Agriculture 2021: Building resilience agri-food systems. FAO, Rome


  • Ariane Götz,
  • Ayalneh Bogalé und
  • Andreas Thiel

Panel Coordinator: Ariane Götz, Andreas Thiel, Ayalneh Bogale, Rami Zurayk

Location: Campus Center, Raum

For a socio-ecological transformation, individual action matters on various levels and in various ways. In our interdisciplinary symposium, we highlight and compare different roles in which individuals contribute to building a more sustainable future, integrating psychological, sociological, and political science views. We start from individual psychological insights into drivers and barriers for private sustainable action and extend this to other levels and contexts. The interaction of individuals and their environment shapes individual action in social environments as well as in economic or physical environments. Even on a macro level, individuals are involved in shaping political and economic conditions within which individual behavior ultimately takes place. Thus, it becomes evident that on the broad range from the private individual sphere to the urgently needed macrostructural changes, it is ultimately individual psychology that drives behavior and decisions towards a sustainable socio-ecological transformation. With our symposium we aim to strengthen the notion that transforming systems necessarily requires a thorough, interdisciplinary understanding of individuals and their reasons for behavior. We will conclude our session with a moderated open discussion with all panelists and the audience.


  • Andreas Ernst (Chair for Environmental Systems Analysis and Environmental Psychology, CESR, University of Kassel),
  • Laura Henn (CESR, University of Kassel),
  • John Thøgersen (Chair for Economic Psychology, Aarhus University),
  • Marlene Batzke (CESR, University of Kassel),
  • Sophia Becker (Chair for Sustainable Mobility and Transdisciplinary Research Methods, Vice president, Technical University Berlin),
  • Matthias Kranke (Globalisation and politics, University of Kassel)

Panel Coordinator: Laura Henn, Andreas Ernst

Location: Campus Center, Raum

The panel connects to our work in the research network “sustainable intelligence – intelligent sustainability”, initiated by ITeG and the Hessian Centre Responsible Digitality (ZEVEDI). In this research network, we focus on the operational (e. g. political, scientific, and technological) logics, actions, and framings of the SDGs, thus contributing to the analysis of the relation between digitality and sustainability. In the panel, we will discuss four interconnected topics that link our research endeavors:

  • Post-digital sustainability in alternative forms of life
  • The politics of infrastructure – sustainability and digitality by design?
  • ‘Eco-Logics’? – Cosmologies in cybernetic sociotechnical thinking
  • Sustainable consumption, digital recommendation, and the future of critique


  • Jörn Lamla, Carsten Ochs and other members of the Sociological Theory Cluster (Faculty 5, University of Kassel)
  • Claude Draude (Faculty 16, University of Kassel)
  • Gerrit Hornung (Faculty 7, University of Kassel)
  • Johanna Leinius (Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main)

Panel Coordinator: Jörn Lamla, Carsten Ochs

Location: Campus Center, Raum

Sustainable Energy Supply is a core competence at the University of Kassel together with the Fraunhofer Institute of Energy Economics and Energy System Technology.

Clean and affordable energy is fundamental for many other SDGs. Since more than 30 years, the University of Kassel and the Fraunhofer IEE are pioneering energy supply based on renewable energies.

Presentations and discussions will be organized around the following key questions?

  • How can clean and secure energy supply be fundamental for reaching many other SDGs?
  • What are the major challenges and solutions towards sustainable energy systems? (today only 15% of the global energy consumption is based on renewable energies)
  • What are major contributions from the University of Kassel and Fraunhofer IEE?
  • How can interdisciplinary approaches create new solutions?

Panel Coordinator: Martin Braun

Open Space | 10:45

Open Space

Clos­ing | 12:25

Summary, outlook, announcements
End | 13:00