Science for sustainability: translating knowledge into action

Our progression toward sustainable development is confronting us with unprecedented challenges. The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), a center for transdisciplinary and transformative research and thought, believes these challenges are too complex to be resolved with strategies we already know. Read more


Climate change is only one of many factors decisive for the future of resource extraction in the Russian Arctic and its social and ecological implications. During an Arctic Workshop in Moscow, … Read more
“In our scientific endeavours, we will never be able to achieve absolute certainty; however, we need to take actions also on the basis of imperfect knowledge.” IASS Executive Director Klaus Töpfer … Read more
The inaugural Climate Engineering Conference 2014 (CEC14): Critical Global Discussions, to be held in Berlin from August 18th-21st 2014, is now open for general registration. … Read more
We have the pleasure to announce the call for applications for the first Potsdam Summer School on the “Arctic in the Anthropocene” in partnership with the City of Potsdam, the Alfred Wegener … Read more
The growing deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) will have to be accompanied by a significant expansion of the electricity grids. The places where the generation of energy from wind, solar … Read more
In presence of the EU Ministers of the Environment IASS Executive Director Klaus Töpfer opened the European HOPE conference - Healthy Oceans – Productive Ecosystems - taking place in Brussels from … Read more

Research Clusters

Global Contract for Sustainability (GCS)

Director: Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer - GCS focuses on the societal and political transformations that must take place if we are to achieve greater sustainability. It pursues three priorities - Sustainability governance, Transformation processes, Cultural diversity and sustainable economic activity.

Earth, Energy and Environment - E³

Director: Prof. Dr. Carlo Rubbia - E³ focuses on a secure, environmentally-friendly energy supply. It investigates the generation of affordable and available renewable energies, super-conducting electric lines for long-distance energy transport from production to consumption, and technologies for progressive decarbonization and closing the carbon cycle, while assuming CO₂ to be an asset and resource.

Sustainable Interactions with the Atmosphere (SIWA)

Director: Prof. Dr. Mark Lawrence - SIWA explores how to reduce human influences on the atmosphere, such as air pollution and global warming, and their consequences for human health, agriculture and ecosystems. Enquiry focuses on short-lived climate-warming pollutants and the implications and risks of climate engineering.