Prof. Dr Patrizia Nanz

Scientific Director
+49 331 28822-467


Curriculum Vitae

Patrizia Nanz joined the IASS as a Scientific Director in 2016 and is a Professor of Transformative Sustainability Studies at the University of Potsdam. She conducts research on the development of enabling environments for societal transformation. Her experiments with co-creative thinking and organisation bring together people from diverse sectors, organisations, and backgrounds to develop solutions to critical challenges such as climate change. At the IASS, Professor Nanz leads the German government’s Science Platform Sustainability 2030, supported by a steering group of prominent figures from academia and representatives from the business community and civil society. In 2016, she co-authored Die Konsultative. Mehr Demokratie durch Bürgerbeteiligung (The Consultative. More Democracy through Citizen Participation – Klaus Wagenbach Verlag), together with Claus Leggewie, in which she called for the establishment of ‘future councils’ as a means to bring the oft-neglected issue of intergenerational equity into focus in public affairs and to revitalise representative democracy.

Patrizia Nanz has held a Professorship of Political Theory at the University of Bremen since 2002 and conducts research on the future of democracy. Between 2013 and 2016, she was the head of the transdisciplinary research area “Culture of Participation” at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (KWI), where she initiated and accompanied numerous participation processes with her expertise. In 2009, she was among a group of researchers and practitioners from Harvard University who launched the wiki platform to document examples of democratic innovation from around the world. In the same year, she founded the European Institute for Public Participation (EIPP), which advises businesses, public authorities, and governments in various European countries.

After gaining a degree in philosophy at Munich School of Philosophy, Patrizia Nanz continued her studies under Jürgen Habermas (Frankfurt/Main) and Charles Taylor (McGill, Montreal), not least of all because they combine scholarly research with a commitment to the public good. She went on to earn her Ph.D. with a thesis on the European public sphere at the European University Institute in Florence. A trained journalist, she worked for several years as an editor with German publishers S. Fischer Verlag and the Milan-based publishing house Feltrinelli. Patrizia Nanz is the editor of the series “Politik”, published by Klaus Wagenbach Verlag.


Research Interests

  • Transformations towards ecological and social sustainability; the future of democracy; citizen participation; civil society; transnational governance; the European political project; transdisciplinary technology assessment (climate change, digitalisation, biotechnology, energy transitions, long-term storage of nuclear waste)

Cooperative Projects

  • since 1/2017 FutureTalks - Engaging Citizens in Exploring Toronto's Future 
  • June 2014–today Democratic Agendas
  • 2013–2016 DEMOENERGY – The Transformation of the Energy System as the Engine for Democratic Innovations, financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
  • 2011–2013 Participedia – A Global Partnership to Create and Mobilize Knowledge about Democratic Innovations, financed by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • 2007-2010 Fundamental Rights in the European Union, within the framework of the European research network “Resources, Rights and Capabilities: in Search of Social Foundations for Europe” (Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union)
  • 2005–2009 Giving New Subjects a Voice: Migrants, Organizations and Integration into the Health Care System (Germany, Italy, Canada), financed by the Volkswagen Foundation
  • 2004–2010 Civil Society Participation in International and European Governance, financed within the EU integrated project “New Modes of Governance” (Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union)
  • 2002–2010 Participation and Legitimation in International Organizations, as part of the Collaborative Research Centre (597) “Transformations of the State”, financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) at the University of Bremen

Selected Publications (prior to joining the IASS)

(most of these publications are available from in PDF format)


Edited Volumes:

Articles in Journals (peer-reviewed):

Articles in Journals and Edited Volumes:


  • Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Germany)
  • Fellow of the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, HWK (Delmenhorst, Germany)
  • Fellow of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT (Cambridge, USA)
  • Marie Curie Post-doc Fellow at Westminster University (London, UK)
  • Fellow of the European University Institute (Florence, Italy)

Further Information