Crowd, foto: Walter Reich / pixelio

Behaviour and Policy instruments

The aim of our research

Our research addresses how policy instruments can support transformations to a sustainable future and to achieve multi-dimensional sustainability objectives for people and nature. Our thematic expertise is on environmental policies for sustainable land use and the integration of biodiversity concerns into different sectoral policies and practice.

Our ambition is to align policy instruments to the needs and decision-making contexts of target actors (e.g. farmers, local communities). A specific interest is to use the insights and concepts from interdisciplinary behavioural and management sciences to understand the motivations, capabilities, and opportunities of individual and business actors. Based on these insights we assess how policies and specific – preferably co-designed – interventions can encourage more sustainable behaviour. We strive to combine the behavioural perspective with a social-ecological systems perspective to identify levers for sustainability transformations at scale, for instance in agri-food systems.

We do conceptual research and also conduct empirical studies based on interviews, surveys, and experiments. In many of our projects we engage in transdisciplinary co-design processes with stakeholders from policy, science, the private sector, and civil society. It is important to us that policy design meets ethical standards by operating in a transparent and participatory way.

We work at different levels from local to global governance in the German context as well as in other world regions (e.g. Latin America).

Current Projects

Future Landscapes



You will find an overview of all current and completed projects in this research field in our project list.