Roland Scholz

Prof. Dr. Roland Scholz

Affiliate Scholar

Roland W. Scholz (Prof. Dr. em. ETH) is currently chief senior scientists of sustainable digital environments and professor at Danube University, Krems, Austria, Faculty of Economics and Globalization Department of Knowledge (Department of Knowledge and Information Management). Together with Ortwin Renn, he is one of the facilitators of the DiDaT project (Responsible Use of Data as Subject of a Transdisciplinary Process) at IASS, Potsdam.

Scholz held the Chair of Environmental Sciences: Natural and Social Science Interface at the Department of Envronmental System Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich, Switzerland; 1993-2013). He has been also been (in parallel) adjunct professor (PD) of Psychology at the Universities of Mannheim and Zurich (1988-2013). Scholz was elected as the fifth holder of the King Carl XVI Gustaf Professorship in Environmental Sciences 2001/2002 at Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenborg (Sweden). Scholz has been the founder and CEO (from 1989-2003) of the Gesellschaft für Organisation und Entscheidung, a consultancy firm working in the field of credit management, risk management of housing cooperatives and assessment of environmental risk. He has been senior advisor for phosphorus cycle management at Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB), Germany from 2013 till 2019.

Scholz graduated in mathematics (Dipl. Math., 1976, University of Marburg, Germany), social psychology (Dr. phil.) and cognitive psychology (Dr. phil. habil., both at the University of Mannheim, Germany) and has been guest professor/researcher at MIT, Harvard, Carnegy Mellon (USA), University of British Columbia (Canada), Chalmers University and Gothenburg University (Sweden), Boku Vienna and University of Graz (Austria), and Leuphana University (Germany). He published more than 500 book, book chapters and scientific papers (

Scholz dedicated his research to challenging societal large scale questions. His research started from mathematical and psychological theory of conflicts and decisions (background: cold war), and risk perception and assessment (at the Universities of Marburg, Bielefeld, and Mannheim, 1973-1993). Then, for two decades, he worked as full professor for Natural and Social Science Interface. Here focused on resilient coupled human and environmental systems (background: environmental resources management depletion). Scholz has been one of the pioneers and promoters of transdisciplinarity (background: society need a transition of science for to science with society). He was running more than about 25 large scale regional, international, and, and global transdisciplinary case studies on sustainable transitioning of urban and regional systems, organizations, policy processes, and global biogeochemical cycle management (i.e., phosphorus). Key noticed that too less research is spent on rebound effects, tipping points, change of power, etc. related to the digital revolution. Thus, in in 2015, together with colleagues from the Danube University of Krems (DUK, Austria), together with Peter Parycek and Gerald Steiner, he initiated a Transdisciplinarity Laboratory (TdLab) on Sustainable Digital Environments (SDE). Scholz (co-)authored or co-edited about 45 books and edited about 400 papers..

Publikationen vor der Tätigkeit am IASS

Selected books:

  • Bazhanov, V. A., & Scholz, R. W. (Eds.). (2015). Transdisciplinarity in philosophy and science: approaches, problems and prospects. Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences. Institute of Philosophy (Navigator Publisher).
  • Scholz, R. W., Roy, A. H., Brand, F. S., Hellums, D. T., & Ulrich, A. E. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable phosphorus management: A global transdisciplinary roadmap. Berlin: Springer.
  • Scholz, R. W. (2011). Environmental literacy in science and society: From knowledge to decisions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Scholz, R. W., & Tietje, O. (2002). Embedded case study methods: Integrating quantitative and qualitative knowledge. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Klein, J. T., Grossenbacher-Mansuy, W., Häberli, R., Bill, A., Scholz, R. W., & Welti, M. (Eds.). (2001). Transdisciplinarity: Joint problem solving among science, technology, and society. An effective way for managing complexity. Basel: Birkhäuser.
  • Scholz, R. W. (1987). Cognitive strategies in stochastic thinking. Dordrecht: Reidel.
  • Scholz, R. W. (Ed.) (1983). Decision making under uncertainty. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Selected papers:

  • Scholz, R. W. (2018). Ways and modes of utilizing Brunswik's Theory of Probabilistic Functionalism: new perspectives for decision and sustainability research? Environment Systems and Decisions, 38(1), 99-117.
  • Scholz, R. W., Bartelsman, E. J., Diefenbach, S., Franke, L., Grunwald, A., Helbing, D., . . . Viale Pereira, G. (2018). Unintended side effects of the digital transition: European scientists' messages from a proposition-based expert round table. Sustainability. 10(6), 2001.
  • Scholz, R. W. (2017). Digital Threat and Vulnerability Management: The SVIDT Method. Sustainability, 9(4), 554.
  • Scholz, R. W. (2016). Sustainable digital environments: What major challenges is humankind facing? Sustainability, 8(8), 726.
  • Scholz, R. W., & Steiner, G. (2015). The real type and ideal type of transdisciplinary processes: part I-theoretical foundations. Sustainability Science, 10(4), 527-544.
  • Wellmer, F.-W., & Scholz, R. W. (2015). The right to know the geopotential of minerals for ensuring food supply security: the case of phosphorus. Industrial Ecology, 19(1), 3-7.
  • Trutnevyte, E., Stauffacher, M., & Scholz, R. W. (2012). Linking stakeholder visions with resource allocation scenarios and multi-criteria assessment. European Journal of Operational Research, 219(3), 762-772.
  • Gottschalk, F., Scholz, R. W., & Nowack, B. (2009). Probabilistic material flow modeling for assessing the environmental exposure to compounds: Methodology and an application to engineered nano-TiO2 particles. Environmental Modelling & Software, 25, 320-332.
  • Scholz, R. W., Lang, D. J., Wiek, A., Walter, A. I., & Stauffacher, M. (2006). Transdisciplinary case studies as a means of sustainability learning: Historical framework and theory. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 7(3), 226-251.
  • Spielmann, M., Scholz, R. W., Tietje, O., & de Haan, P. (2005). Scenario modelling in prospective LCA of transport systems: Application of Formative Scenario Analysis. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 10(5), 325-335.
  • Scholz, R. W., Mieg, H. A., & Oswald, J. (2000). Transdisciplinarity in groundwater management: Towards mutual learning of science and society. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 123(1-4), 477-487.
  • Scholz, R. W., Schmitt, H.-J., Vollmer, W., Vogel, A., & Neisel, F. (1990). Zur Abschätzung des gesundheitlichen Risikos kadmiumbelasteter Hausgärten. Das Öffentliche Gesundheitswesen, 52, 161-167.
  • Scholz, R. W. (1988). Variants of expectancy and subjective probability in P300 research. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 11(3), 396-397.