Birgit Schelenz

Tel.: 0441 789-4384

Fax: 0441 789-4379

Student Assistant

Marie Hennecke

Ecological Economics

Gute Küste Niedersachsen (Good Coast of Lower Saxony)

Dr. Leena Karrasch and Prof. Bernd Siebenhüner have successfully recruited a new research project: Good Coast Lower Saxony. The joint research project with Prof. Oliver Zielinski (ICBM), Leibniz Universität Hannover and Technische Universität Braunschweig is being financed with 2.5 million euros from the Lower Saxony advance of the Volkswagen Foundation. The aim of "Gute Küste Niedersachsen" is the development of an ecosystem strengthening coastal protection along the North Sea coast of Lower Saxony. The overarching question is: What is a good coast where we can live and work responsibly and sustainably, safe from natural hazards, in harmony with nature, embedded in the natural cultural landscape? In the inter- and transdisciplinary research network, action and management options for ecosystem-enhancing coastal protection are methodically developed and tested in real laboratories together with local actors.

Funding: The association is financed with 2.5 million euros from the Lower Saxony advance of the Volkswagen Foundation.


  • Dr. Leena Karrasch

Project Partner:

  • Leibniz Universität Hannover (Ludwig-Franzius-Institut für Wasserbau, Ästuar- und Küsteningenieurwesen, Institut für Umweltplanung, Institut für Freiraumentwicklung),
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig (Leichtweiß-Institut für Wasserbau, Institut für Geoökologie),who work in close cooperation with, among others, the Niedersächsische Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten und Naturschutz (NLWKN) and the Nationalparkverwaltung Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer


Gamification of Interdisciplinary Higher Education

Within the framework of the higher education package 2020 and the call for proposals "Innovative teaching and learning concepts: Innovation plus", the project "Gamification of Interdisciplinary Higher Education" by Dr. Thomas Klenke, Dr. Leena Karrasch and Malena Ripken was approved with 48,800€. The aim of the project is to further develop the module "Planning and Management of Coastal Zones and Sea Basins" with the approach of serious gaming. This involves (1) developing concepts for building and improving the "game-based" teaching content, (2) using and reflecting on "serious games" continuously throughout the module, (3) involving external international guest lecturers and practice partners, and (4) conducting problem-based and self-directed, research-based learning in order to create action competences for sustainable development in coastal zones and European seas.

Dilemmata der Nachhaltigkeit

Dilemmas of sustainability between evaluation & reflection

With the establishment of the sustainability discourse, different ideas, objectives and forms of knowledge have developed, which are substantiated by the concept of sustainability. This gives rise to specific dilemmas of sustainability, which become apparent, for example, in the diversity of objectives, the heterogeneity of forms of knowledge, the diversity of the actors involved, or the different evaluation criteria for assessing the success of transdisciplinary projects.

The joint project combines four sub-projects on the understanding and dilemmas of sustainability in overarching sustainability programmes (Module 1) and concrete sustainability projects (Module 2) as well as on the comparative reflection of sustainability as a field of knowledge (Module 3) and knowledge regulation (Module 4).

The aim of the project is to understand how concrete funding programmes and sustainability projects deal with the challenges of sustainability and influence social practice. Guidelines for the assessment of sustainability are to be formulated that sharpen both scientific and practical understanding across scientific disciplines and social stakeholders.

Method / Approach

The project combines approaches of evaluation research, governance research, philosophy of science and social research in order to evaluate criteria of sustainability and reflect sustainability knowledge. The common starting point and reference point are the specific dilemmas of sustainability mentioned above, which result from the current state of research and which need to be reviewed, specified and further developed.

Duration: 04.2019 - 09.2022


With the "Science for Sustainable Development" programme, the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture and the Volkswagen Foundation are supporting the "Dilemmas of Sustainability" project. fördern das Niedersächsische Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur und die VolkswagenStiftung das Projekt „Dilemmata der Nachhaltigkeit“.




Project Partner:

  • research assistants: Ann-Kristin Müller (Modul 1/Bildungswissenschaft), Sophie Berg (Modul 2/Governanceforschung), Reinhold Schwenzer (Modul 3/Wissenschaftsphilosophie) und Annekathrin Bellan (Modul 4/Soziologie)


Energetic neighbourhood airbase Oldenburg

The interdisciplinary ENaQ project aims to create a climate-neutral residential quarter on the former military site of the Fliegerhorst airbase in Oldenburg, which is to play a pioneering role in the field of Smart Cities.

The project consists of three pillars:

    Technical: The physical infrastructure in the areas of electricity, heat and mobility is to guarantee the greatest possible energy efficiency with the help of an integrative supply network. Energy is to be generated locally for the most part in order to ensure climate neutrality.
    Digital: The physical network should be mirrored on the digital level. The platform enables intelligent load and procurement management for energy producers and consumers. In addition, residents will be able to participate in the design of the energy supply via a community portal.
    Participatory: The focus here is on involving Oldenburg's citizens in order to meet their needs, wishes and interests in the planning and implementation of the climate-neutral residential quarter. To this end, innovative participation methods are developed and applied, and are continuously evaluated and improved.

The long-term goal of this project is to develop transferable concepts for the development of further Smart City neighbourhoods in all three pillars.

Duration: 01.01.2018 – 31.12.2022



The project is one of six lighthouse projects that are being funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWI) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment and Research (BMF) with a total of 100 million euros as part of the joint funding announcement "Solar Construction/ Energy-efficient City".

The ENaQ project received funding of 18.4 million euros - a further 8.4 million euros will come from industrial partners in the northwest.

Project Partner:

Arbeitsgruppe für regionale Struktur- und Umweltforschung GmbH (ARSU), BTC Business Technology Consulting AG, Deutsche WindGuard GmbH, DLR-Institut für Vernetzte Energiesysteme e.V., EWE NETZ GmbH, Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und angewandte Materialforschung (IFAM), Jade Hochschule, KEHAG Energiehandel GmbH, OFFIS – Institut für Informatik, Stadt Oldenburg, Anleg GmbH, ELECTRIC-SPECIAL Photronicsysteme GmbH, embeteco GmbH & Co. KG, GSG OLDENBURG Bau- und Wohngesellschaft mbH, Junge Haie GmbH, New Power Pack GmbH, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Quantumfrog GmbH, SCHULZ Systemtechnik GmbH.



Bremen is affected by the consequences of climate change in many ways. In order to meet these challenges, a strategy for adapting to the consequences of climate change is currently being developed at local and state level. The BREsilient project builds on this adaptation strategy and supports the cost-benefit-oriented prioritisation of the adaptation measures formulated therein. On the other hand, long-term adaptation measures for the cluster Maritime Economy/Logistics will be developed, taking into account indirect climate impacts, and concrete flood prevention measures will be developed in two selected Bremen districts with the participation of local stakeholders.

The research work will be carried out in an implementation-oriented manner. Central components of the BREsilient project are four so-called real laboratories in which the affected actors (administration, economic actors, residents*) are involved in the research process and solutions for dealing with relevant climate impacts are jointly developed. The real labs enable an iterative process between practice, stakeholder participation and research, so that scientifically sound and implementable solutions are developed for Bremen.

Duration: 11.2017 - 10.2020

Funding: The research project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a funding volume of 2.2 million euros.


Project Partner:

  • Der Senator für Umwelt, Bau und Verkehr der Freien Hansestadt Bremen
  • Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung, Berlin
  • Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
  • Institut für Seeverkehrswirtschaft und Logistik, Bremen



ECOSOLA is a collaborative project between the University of Oldenburg, the Planungsgruppe Grün in Bremen, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.

The aim of the project is to explore the current role and future potential of small-scale urban and sub-urban agriculture in Dar es Salaam and the Western Cape region. The project intends to strengthen urban and peri-urban agriculture in Tanzania and South Africa in the long term. At the same time, the food supply for urban dwellers will improved and the efficiency of important ecosystem functions in fast growing cities will be ensured. Together with local stakeholders, the project seeks to develop and test concrete solutions on the ground. Furthermore, the institutional framework conditions of urban agriculture will be analyzed so that recommendations can be given to local authorities.

Project duration: 2017 - 2019


  • The project is supported by both the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (€ 488,902) and by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (€ 314,683).
  • The funding was granted within the funding measure for research and integrated postgraduate education within the Federal Government's strategy for the internationalisation of science and research - partnerships for sustainable solutions in sub-Saharan Africa.



Kilian Köbrich, Dipl. Päd.

Maren Wesselow

Development of ecological bred types of fruit in common-based initiatives

Coordinated by Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner a new natural and social science research group is going to investigate how sustainable regional fruit production can be secured, innovative ecological breeding concepts developed and the access to the newly developed apple and pears varieties kept open.

The project focuses on the development of ecologically bred types of fruit from regional cultivation and the use of the huge genetic diversity of old and special apple and pears varieties in Lower Saxony.

Furthermore, the project aims at providing research contributions on the organic development of species, carrying out ecological-economic as well as ethical evaluations and to assess marketing potentials. Insights on breeding strategies and marketing can also be transferred to other stone fruit and shall be transferred to breeding initiatives (e.g. pears) as far as possible within the framework of this research project.

Research Partners

Working on the project are the coordinator Siebenhüner, professor of Ecological Economy, Prof. Dr. Dirk Albach, leader of the working group “Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants“ and Prof. Dr. Stefanie Sievers-Glotzbach, junior professor of Economy of Commons.

Practical Partners

Our practical partners primarily want to develop old and special apple and pear varieties which are characterized by a huge genetic diversity. One main focus regarding breeding efforts is to lie on the vitality and resistance to the scab inducing fungus Venturia inaequalis.

The resulting species shall be cultivated with less plant protection agents, developed non-commercial and usable as common good.

The foundation “Saat:gut e.V.“ with its project “Apfel:gut” as well as the “Öko-Obstbau Norddeutschland”- a council for consultation and experimentation- are going to be responsible for the practical breeding. Additionally, through the inclusion of the botanical garden of the University Oldenburg as a breeding yard for apples the network of apple breeder is going to be extended by one further scientific institution. The goal is to establish the botanical garden as a location for the organic breeding of apples in the long term and to integrate the garden in the existing network.

Duration: 2017-2019


The state government of Lower Saxony is funding the project with 564.000 €.

The research group is one out of five projects funded by the state government in order to support a sustainable agricultural production.


Interdisciplinary approach to functional biodiversity research (IBR)

The IBR research project aims to contribute to the understanding of how biodiversity responds to the challenges of global climate change and the role it plays in the ecosystem. The integrative research project covers ecology, evolutionary biology and theory as well as interdisciplinary approaches to the protection and management of biodiversity. The project is aiming to investigate biodiversity in over-arching approaches across terrestrial and marine habitats studying microbes, primary producers, and higher-level consumers focusing on the link between biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

The project is organized in clusters: A) Spatial Dynamics: to study the potential for rapid evolution under changing conditions as well as phylogenetic constraints on the emergent properties of communities and ecosystems. B) Eco-evolutionary Dynamics: to understand how the ability of a species to adapt to unstable conditions contributes to “Ecosystem Functioning” C) Resilience and Biodiversity in coupled human – environment systems in light of biodiversity loss in anthropogenically dominated ecosystems.

By including perspectives from ecology, evolutionary and nature conservation research as well as social science the graduate programme offers a solid foundation to pursue synthetic-integrative science. Project partners are the Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences (IBU), the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) and Faculty II.

Funding: Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony

Project duration: 2014 - 2018

Project management and contact:

Project partners:

  • University of Oldenburg
    • Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences
    • Institute for Chemistry and Biology
      of the Marine Environment
    • Department of Business Administration, Economics, and Law


Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methods and Management in East and South Africa (CERM-ESA)

The Centre has three objectives:

1) Advancing and expanding excellent and innovative educational research on methods, didactics and management strategies for African contexts;

2) Teaching and training of future educational leaders in terms of research methods, innovative management solutions and didactics on Master’s and PhD level;

3) Advancing capacity building and staff development in academia and management of the participating universities in didactics and management for (future) leaders and sustainable institution building.

To achieve this, the Centre will offer research colloquia, summer schools and staff development workshops for all partner universities in the next years. NMMU hosted the first onsite staff development workshop.

Project duration: June 2014 - December 2019

Funding: German Federal Foreign Office - 1.3 Mio. Euro

Project management:

  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner


Project partners:

  • MOI-University, Kenya
  • Universität Oldenburg
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Südafrika)
  • University of Dar Es Salaam (Tansania)
  • Uganda Management Institute (Uganda)
(Changed: 19 Dec 2022)  |