Research for Sustainable Development
The Wuppertal Institute sees itself as a think tank for impact and application-oriented sustainability research and plays a decisive role in shaping the debates on climate, energy and resource issues at regional, national and international level. The overarching goal is to contribute to the observance of planetary boundaries, taking into account the interaction with the economy and society, and to help shape the transformation processes necessary for this. It concretizes this goal with the guiding principle of a greenhouse gas-neutral and resource-efficient society.
Future knowledge for transformation processes
The institute’s research is oriented toward concrete social problems: It aims to gain a better understanding of change processes and to generate target and system knowledge, thus enabling it to act as a catalyst for transformation processes. The Wuppertal Institute calls this triad of target, system and transformation knowledge “knowledge of the future”. Viable concepts for this are often developed in so-called real laboratories. In this way, research becomes part of the transformation process, in which solutions are developed, tested and, if necessary, adapted together with practical partners.
The Great Transformation towards sustainable development is taking place on many different levels. The Wuppertal Institute’s research focuses on seven arenas of change, each with very specific actor constellations and underlying central research questions in the areas of:
- Energy Transition
- Resource transition
- Food turnaround
- Urban Turnaround
- Mobility turnaround
- Industrial turnaround
- Turnaround in prosperity and consumption
The cross-research topic is the shaping of structural change as well as digitization, and here in particular the question of the extent to which digitization can be shaped sustainably and support the implementation of transformation processes. The institute’s research is organized along these arenas and topics in 13 research areas within four departments.
Legal form: non-profit limited liability company, the state of NRW is a shareholder
Locations: Wuppertal, one office in Berlin
- Future energy and industrial systems
- Energy, transport and climate policy
- Sustainable production and consumption
- Circular economy
Employees: approx. 250 (as of 2020)