Dilemma of Sustainability between Evaluation & Reflection

Project Team

Sophie Berg


Ann-Kristin Müller

ann-wakryz84sistjti0nqn.mueuudwller1@njetuniecco-oldenburg.dxuhne (anrzn-kr32isticmn.tmmuexnllxbjgper1@uopkl.dfgixe)


Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner



Secretariat: Birgit Schelenz


+49 441 798-4384  

Research Objectives

The establishment of the sustainability discourse also created different ideas, objectives and forms of knowledge, which are all substantiated by the term of sustainability. This gives space for specific dilemmas of sustainability which may appear in the variety of objectives, the heterogeneity of forms of knowledge, the diversity of the involved actors or the different evaluation criteria for the performance assessment of transdisciplinary sustainability projects.

The joint project unites four subprojects to the understandings and dilemmas of sustainability in superordinate sustainability programmes (Module 1) and specific sustainability projects (Module 2) as well as to the comparative reflection of sustainability as a field of knowledge (Module 3) and as knowledge regulation (Module 4).

The aim of the project is to understand how specific funding programmes and sustainability projects deal with the challenge of sustainability and how they influence the social practice. Guidelines for the assessment of sustainability are intended to be formulated, which sharpen both the scientific and the practical communication across scientific disciplines and social stakeholders.

Method / Approach

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


04/2019 - 09/2022


With the programme „Wissenschaft für nachhaltige Entwicklung“ the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony and the Volkswagen Foundation fund the project “Dilemmas of Sustainability”.

Overall cost: 900,500€


  • Prof. Dr. Anna Henkel (University of Passau, chair of sociology) (former: Leuphana University Lüneburg, Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organisation)
  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Bergmann (ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research (Frankfurt a.M), research focus Transdisciplinary Methods and Concepts)
  • Prof. Dr. Nicole C. Karafyllis (Technical University of Brunswick, Department of Philosophy)
  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner (project coordinator) (Carl-v.-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Ecological Economics)
  • Prof. Dr. Karsten Speck (Carl-v.-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Department of Educational Sciences)
  • Research fellows: Ann-Kristin Müller (Module 1/Educational Sciences), Sophie Berg (Module 2/Governance Research), Reinhold Schwenzer (Module 3/Epistemology) und Annekathrin Bellan (Module 4/Sociology)
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