Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) investigate pathways to sustainable development. The institute works on important global and regional future issues and has established strong ties with both national and international partners. With its new German name, the institute aims to connect with its German and regional audience more directly.
The IASS has given itself a German name: Institut für transformative Nachhaltigkeits-forschung (literally: Institute for Transformative Sustainability Research). IASS Scientific Director Ortwin Renn announced the institute’s German name at the Brandenburg State Parliament on 10 May 2017. While presenting the institute to the Committee for Science, Research and Culture, the sustainability researcher pointed out that “the discussion on important future issues is taking place globally, but many of the solutions lie at the local level. That’s why we work closely with the city, the state government, and other research institutes here in Potsdam, as well as stimulating debate across Germany in dialogue with our partners.”
Up to now, the institute has operated only under the English name Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS). With the German adjective transformativ (‘transformative’), which was chosen in lieu of a good German equivalent for the multifaceted term ‘advanced’ or the concept of an ‘institute for advanced studies’, the institute seeks to underline its aspiration to identify, promote, and shape transformations towards a sustainable society through its research. IASS researchers cover not only global issues but also questions with a national or regional focus. Together with partners from policymaking, business, civil society and academia, they generate targeted and actionable knowledge and develop concrete options and solutions that are grounded in practical experience.
As IASS Scientific Director Patrizia Nanz explains, “What distinguishes our approach to research is that we don’t just generate and analyse knowledge about necessary transformation processes; our research also brings about transformation. We initiate changes and contribute to their implementation. The new German name sums this up.”
Around 140 researchers from over 30 countries work at the IASS. They investigate central sustainability issues such as the German energy transition and the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. The institute is funded by the research ministries of the Federal Government of Germany and the State of Brandenburg.
The English name Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies and the abbreviation IASS will remain the official name of the institute and will continue to be used in international contexts.