Headline: Fellow Programme

The IASS Fellow Programme

The IASS Fellow Programme is inspired by the Potsdam Memorandum’s call to gather all sources of ingenuity and inspiration from academia, politics, business and civil society to address the sustainability challenges of our time. The fellows are a key resource for the institute; they support our research, improve our transdisciplinary methodology, and, together with our researchers, reach out to political, economic and social actors.

The Fellow Programme is designed to bring highly qualified people from academia, the business world, and civil society to the institute, who provide expertise, inspiration, and creative input. In return, the IASS offers fellows the opportunity to develop their ideas in an international community of world-class researchers, within the institute as well as in the wider research landscape of Potsdam and Berlin. The fellows are actively supported in their endeavours to make new connections and to develop new ideas and activities together with IASS researchers.

About 30 fellows come to the IASS each year. A public call for applications is issued each year for the following year. Beyond that, the Scientific Directors may invite individuals from all over the world to collaborate with the IASS on specific themes and activities for a limited period of time. The IASS seeks individuals from all disciplines and areas of society, including politicians, journalists and artists. The public call is often geared to topics and questions on which the IASS wishes to focus attention over the course of the envisioned tenure.

Current calls for proposals can be found here.

Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellowship
As part of the Fellow Programme, the IASS also awards the Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellowship once a year. Prof. Dr Klaus Töpfer is the Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. With a wealth of experience in science, politics and the non-profit sector, Klaus Töpfer embodies the unique combination of perspectives required to realise the vision of the IASS. With its Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellowship, the IASS wants to honour and support individuals who, like Prof. Töpfer, are committed to sustainable development and build bridges between science, politics and society. Therefore the IASS assigns each year a fellowship to one eligible applicant and seeks applications from indviduals from Germany or abroad who have worked for many years on sustainability issues and have the potential to shape the future. The applicants should bring innovative ideas from their respective fields in science, the arts, civil society, business, politics or other areas of society.

In 2019 Brazilian health expert Dr. Nicole de Paula has been awarded the inaugural Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellowship. Start-up Founder Dr. Natalia Realpe de Carillo was named Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow for 2020.

Alumni Network
The IASS Fellow Programme promotes the idea of gathering all kinds of knowledge and the wealth of ideas from science, politics, business and civil society to address the sustainability challenges of our time. After the tenure of their fellowship, IASS Fellows continue to act across institutions and borders, using their knowledge and experience to initiate changes towards more sustainable societies. For that reason, the IASS strives to maintain contact with former Fellows upon successful completion of their fellowship.

In recent years, about 300 Fellows from over 40 countries have conducted research and carried out a variety of projects at the IASS. With the annually increasing number of Fellow Alumni, an expanding network around the world is emerging. The IASS Fellow Alumni Network aims to bring together former and current Fellows, staff members of the IASS and its partners. And we also want to foster and enhance the mentoring of young scientists by Fellow Alumni.

The network offers IASS Fellow Alumni a number of benefits:

  • Networking among an active international science community
  • Updates on Alumni activities, news from the IASS
  • Personal invitations to exclusive IASS events
  • Promoting Fellows’ research and providing visibility
  • Guest authors for IASS website / blog
  • Exchange of ideas and networking opportunities at Fellow Meetings and Tuesday Talks
  • Support in implementing innovative ideas and making projects happen
  • Possibility to become an Affiliate Scholar


Connect with former and current Fellows and IASS staff and share your knowledge and skills.