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Schriftzug "The Guide 'Study and Research on Sustainability'"

The Research Institutions

The Guide's data bank contains just under 200 portraits of the relevant research institutions which base their research on the model of sustainable development. The portraits provide information about key competences and the institution's research fields, the number of staff and size of the research budget, a short outline with a brief characterisation of the institution, future prospects and information on the possibility of doing a work placement or internship at the institution in question.

Research into sustainability

But… what is "research into sustainability"? This is primarily determined by the scientific community. In looking for research institutions, which was largely carried out in the world-wide web, the idea was not to detect these institutions on the basis of a specific definition under which these could be subsumed. The concept of research into sustainability as used here emerges from looking at the actual shape of research on the ground. In other words, the way the researchers involved see themselves and how they base their research on the model of sustainable development is the defining point. For this reason the decision to be outlined in The Guide was ultimately taken by the institutions themselves, who submitted their portraits independently.

Practical relevance and interdisciplinarity

The Guide makes the following clear: research in the area of sustainability looks for solutions to interdependent ecological, technical, economic and social problems which affect the future of society and the Earth's biosystem. This therefore implies that practical relevance is a must. The problems which need to be solved along the lines of sustainable development do not stop at the boundaries of individual disciplines. Research such as this is largely undertaken on an interdisciplinary basis. This becomes evident from the fact that research into sustainability is often carried out in integrated teams, such as those outlined here in cross-faculty research centres at universities.

What does The Guide provide?

The Guide's data bank provides portraits of 60 non-university and just less than 140 university research institutions. Among the non-university institutions there are firstly the big research centres of the research associations, which carry out research into sustainability in individual departments, but also by co-operating across departmental boundaries. Secondly there are the Federal research institutions and those at Federal State level. Thirdly this group includes privately funded research centres. The university institutions include faculties, institutes, specific fields and professorial chairs, cross-faculty interdisciplinary centres, but also those institutes which work directly at the interface with practical reality.

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Last update: 11/30/2009