Sustainability – Scientific Methods – Normativity

Welcome to the HvW Lab

The HvW Lab at Leuphana University is a group of researcher with different disciplinary backgrounds. Our research agenda revolves around the development, transfer and application of scientific methods to sustainability-related problems with the aim of creating novel knowledge and solutions.

We are researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds, ranging from the natural to the social sciences, including biology, ecology, economics, environmental science, geography, human ecology, psychology and physics. What unites us is our belief in the idea that disciplinary knowledge is helpful, yet an interaction of disciplines can create new pathways.

We work on a wide array of model systems that we focus on in order to apply methods and generate novel knowledge. These model systems include the urban, rangelands, agricultural landscapes, and protected areas. In particular, research foci at the group include ecology, economics and the effects of land-use change on dryland rangelands. Frequently, we aim at generating a larger overview on specific topics building on systematic reviews.

What we care about


Normativity is about evaluative statements within the context of human interaction and societal constructs.

Such statements reflect on reasons for acting. However, we observe that the knowledge that is derived from science, and the ethical knowledge that discusses how we ought to act, are today widely disconnected.

Our goal is to contribute to bridging methodological knowledge with reasons to act, thereby connecting empiricism with ethics.


Sustainability is a path and not a goal.

Only if we are reflexive and tolerant, we can engage in a debate on how to jointly create a future where injustices and lack of knowledge are extinguished.

We focus on diverse research approaches and teaching that is widely aimed at contributing towards sustainability, thereby providing transformational knowledge to bridge the world how it is with the world how it ought to be.

Scientific Methods

Scientific methods lie in the heart of our work.

We are convinced that the use of scientific methods has been restricted by the structure of specific disciplines in academia for too long. This does no longer suffice if science wants to provide answers to the wicked problems of our time.

We therefore attempt to broaden the discourse and application of diverse methods. We believe that each method creates a specific kind of knowledge, and should be chosen whenever such knowledge is needed, no matter the disciplinary traditions.

Our team on the Leuphana page

Click on the button below to be redirected to an overview on our Lab on the website of Leuphana University. Just explore the menu to find out more about our work, or alternatively check out the main knowledge that our team contributed to the world so far.