Projects & Research Projects

The Sustainability Methods Wiki

The Sustainability Methods Wiki aims to present and explain diverse scientific methods, terms and tools relevant to (Sustainability) Science and discuss underlying questions. Every presented method is sorted after Design Criteria and an interactive Method Recommendation Tool inspires to broaden dive deeper or broaden one’s range of methods. The entries are written by Henrik von Wehrden and his team. Overall, the Wiki shall serve as a resource for students, researchers, teachers and any interested readers and tries to bridge the gap on how we approximate empirical knowledge, and how we ought to act based on this. Through an inclusive, reflexive and critical approach to the methodological canons, it tries to contribute to solve the disciplinary slumber that defines much of modern science.

Check out this quick Introduction Video!

Find the Wiki on Twitter.

Bridging the great divide 

The Bridging project is lead by Daniel Lang and Henrik von Wehrden together with Arnim Wiek, Klaus kümmerte and Manfred Laubichler. Hosted at Leuphana Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation (CGSC), it addresses the fundamental question of how to overcome the knowledge-action gap. This notion acknowledges that increasingly profound insights from sustainability models and transition experiments cannot be fully translated yet into transformative societal change. Therefore, the distinct objective is to develop scientifically based solutions that are scalable and applicable to real-world systems while including as many societal dimensions as possible. To do so, interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged and promoted by connecting scientific groups from within Leuphana research networks. In addition, the project is intended to elaborate on more issues in the fields of transitions experiments as interdisciplinary collaboration increases. Other researchers participating from the HVW-lab are John-Oliver Engler, Beatrice John and Robert Feller.

Leverage Points

Leverage Points analyzes three sustainability-relevant leverage points – socio-ecological system properties where small shifts can lead to significant transformations to more sustainability in the whole system.: (1) institutional dynamics  (RESTRUCTURE); (2) human-environment interactions (RECONNECT); and (3) sustainability-related knowledge creation (RETHINK). Following conceptual work on the three leverage points, the project conducts empirical research on two contrasting case study regions (Transylvania in Romania and Lower Saxony in Germany), focusing on two key themes of particular relevance to sustainability (food and energy). The conceptual and empirical insights are linked via two integrative and transdisciplinary place-based case studies (one in each study region) involving local stakeholders and decision-makers. The project is funded by Volkswagen Stiftung and hosted at Leuphana University Lüneburg as a collaboration of various disciplinary and interdisciplinary research groups.

Responses of plant performance and functional diversity among a climate and land-use gradient in Mongolia 

The Responses project questioned the impact of climate and land use change on ecosystem functioning. Analyzes of various key parameters of more than 20 different plant species were conducted in a Mongolian study area. Then, a holistic quantitative model was developed on how climate and land use affect functional plant diversity and productivity. This model can serve as a basis for policy guidance and recommendations for global arid and semi-arid regions. This project is a cooperation of Prof. Henrik von Wehrden (Leuphana University, Lüneburg), Prof. Christine Römermann (Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena) and Prof. Karsten Wesche (Senckenberg Natural History Museum, Görtz). 

Robert Bosch Research Group

As of 1st of October 2017 Leuphana University of Lüneburg – together with the Robert Bosch foundation – started an exciting new research group “Processes of Sustainability Transformation”. Within that international and interdisciplinary research group 12 PhD students conduct research on drivers and barriers of transformation processes towards sustainability: What can we learn from successful examples of such processes? What from failure? How can this be explained from within different disciplines and perspectives? How does transformation take place in different places and across time scales? By doing so the research group is systematically analysing processes of transformation towards sustainability in different contexts, regions and perspectives. Henrik von Wehrden is the supervisor of Julius Rathgens who works on certificates in the coffee industry and co-supervisor of Lisa Kessler who conducts research about the water footprint in the textile industry.