Knowledge for sustainable development: The reusable shopping bag TASINI is made of recycled plastic and shaped like small marine animals. It was developed by ZMT researchers to replace plastic bags in Indonesia. | Photo: Making Oceans Plastic Free

01/02/2021 | Five research institutes of the Leibniz Association have joined forces to form the Leibniz Research Network “Knowledge for Sustainable Development”. In this way, they bundle their competencies with the aim to further developments in the sustainability sciences and foster societal sustainability transformations.

Partners in the new network are the ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association, the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO), the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) and the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT). In addition, other academic organisations both within and outside the Leibniz Association are allied.

From 2021 the partners will support scientists in doing research for sustainable development, and to effectively cope with the related challenges. In order to jointly create and integrate the knowledge required for transformative, sustainable development, researchers not only have to collaborate across disciplines, but also to overcome the boundary between science and practice. This means that corresponding research and transfer approaches demand continuous reflection and further development.

This is where the Leibniz Research Network “Knowledge for Sustainable Development” comes in. It bundles and connects research competencies in the Leibniz Association with the aim of increasing the influence and effectiveness of the sustainability sciences. In order to support the exchange within the sciences as well as between science and practice, the network will implement various event formats: Future dialogues with key people from policy, business and civil society, as well as interdisciplinary summer schools for post-docs, will take place annually. Every two years, a transdisciplinary synthesis workshop and an international conference on key issues in the sustainability sciences will be alternating.

As a kick-off event in the early summer of 2021, a future dialogue will address the topic of "sustainability sciences and the corona pandemic". The focus is on the question of how the corona pandemic affects research for sustainable development. A synthesis workshop will then take place in September, which will deal with “learning from real-world laboratories and experiments in the future city”.

Co-speakers of the Leibniz Research Network “Knowledge for Sustainable Development” are Rainer Danielzyk, Secretary General of the ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association and Professor of Regional Planning and Spatial Research at Leibniz University Hannover, and Marc Wolfram, Director of the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) in Dresden and Professor for Spatial Development and Transformation at the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD).


Leibniz Research Networks are dedicated to a particular focus topic or a key technology. The aim is to bundle, exchange and develop the professional and methodological-technical competencies of the participating Leibniz institutions and make them visible to the outside world. Leibniz Research Networks are set up by the Executive Board of the Leibniz Association. There are currently eleven Leibniz Research Networks.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Achim Schlüter