The Research Institute for Sustainability conducts research with the goal of understanding, advancing, and guiding processes of societal change towards sustainable development. Our research approach is transformative, transdisciplinary, and co-creative: RIFS researchers collaborate with diverse actors from science, policymaking and public administration as well as business and civil society to develop a common understanding of sustainability challenges and generate potential solutions.
Transformative sustainability research aims to bring together all relevant forms of knowledge generated both within and outside science in order to understand the problems of sustainable development, identify appropriate solutions, and support their implementation in cooperation with relevant actors and affected communities. RIFS involves these stakeholders in its transdisciplinary and co-creative research processes from the outset and does not view them as mere addressees of its research findings. The Institute also discusses its findings with representatives from politics, industry and civil society and supports transformation processes through this kind of consultation.
Our research and consultancy activities are organized across five research areas: Democracy and Sustainability, Global Implications of Socio-Technical Change, Transformative Methods, Processes and Practices, Energy Transitions and Societal Change, and Environmental and Societal Change. Our Science-Society Platforms and other activities foster dialogue between science, policymakers and civil society. These activities are complemented by a Fellow Programme, which fosters global dialogue and connects researchers working in the field of transformative research for sustainable development.