Research for the Environment

Department of Environmental Politics

Department of Environmental Politics - Members

Acting head of department:
Dr. Felix Rauschmayer

Heide Scharfe

phone +49 341 235-1255
fax +49 341 235-45 1255

Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

The Department of Environmental Politics addresses social dynamics, institutional framework conditions and actor constellations determining the success of environmental policy. It forms part of the Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS) and works in close cooperation with the departments of:

Thematic areas include land use and land use change, nature and biodiversity conservation, the use of ecosystem services, climate policy, mobility as well as energy production and consumption; all of which imply interaction between environmental politics and other policy areas (mainstreaming). Analysis focuses on the processes of formulating environmental policies and on the institutional structures of environmental policy decisions, in the framework of the European multi-level system and international environmental treaties and agreements (multi-level governance). Special attention is given to the state and its interaction with other stakeholders, such as science and civil society but also to individual and community-level decision making. Analysing how policies are developed and determining in how far policy can be shaped and can in turn shape individual and collective behaviour is at the heart of many projects.

The main research topics are:

Apart from political science the disciplines of human geography, institutional and ecological economics, psychology and sociology are also represented within the department. It is thus well versed in applying its competencies in integrated projects, and works closely with social and natural scientists within and outside the UFZ. Within the ÖKUS division it is most notably involved in the following working groups:


The department provides the possibility for three-month internships. A curriculum vitae, a letter which clearly expresses qualification and specific motivation concerning certain projects of the department, as well as precise information according to the timescale are to be addressed to

Internships are without payment. Please also note: Applications must be based on a prescribed placement for school students, a degree course, an internship prior to a degree programme, or some other form of basic or further training. Applicants keen to do an internship in order to improve their employment prospects need to submit a letter from their job centre indicating its approval.

New Publications of the Department

Albert, C., Aronson, J., Fürst, C., Opdam, P. (2014): Integrating ecosystem services in landscape planning – requirements, approaches, and impacts. Landscape Ecology 29, 1277-1285.

Albert, C., Neßhöver, C., Wittmer, H., Hinzmann, M., Görg, C. (2014): Sondierungsstudie für ein Nationales Assessment von Ökosystemen und ihren Leistungen für Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft in Deutschland. UFZ, with K. Grunewald, O. Bastian (IÖR), Leipzig.

Beck, S., Borie, M., Esguerra, A., Chilvers, J., Heubach, K., Hulme, M., Görg, C. Climate Change and the Assessment of Expert Knowledge (2014): Does the IPCC Model Need Updating?

Geden, O., Beck, S. (2014): Renegotiating the global climate stabilization target. Nature Climate Change 4, 747-748.

Görg, C., Spangenberg, J.H., Tekken, V., Settele, J. (2014): Engaging local knowledge in biodiversity research: experiences from large inter- and transdisciplinary projects. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 39 (4), in press.

Spangenberg, J.H., Görg, C., Truong, D.T., Tekken, V., Bustamante, J.V., Settele, J. (2014): Provision of ecosystem services is determined by human agency, not ecosystem functions. Four case studies. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 10 (1), 40-53.

Griewald, Y., Rauschmayer, F. (2014): Exploring an environmental conflict from a capability perspective. Ecological Economics 100, 30-39.

Lessmann, O., Rauschmayer, F. (Eds.) (2014): The Capability Approach and Sustainability. Routledge, London.

Priess, J.A., Hauck, J. (2014): Integrative scenario development. Ecol. Soc. 19 (1), Art. 12.

Jäger, J., Rounsevell, M.D.A., Harrison, P.A., Omann, I., Dunford, R., Kammerlander, M., Pataki, G. (2014): Assessing policy robustness of climate change adaptation measures across sectors and scenarios. Climatic change.

Wittmayer, J.M., Schäpke, N., van Steenbergen, F., Omann, I. (2014): Making sense of sustainability transitions locally. How action research contributes to addressing societal challenges. Critical Policy Studies.