08/12/2023 | Marie Fujitani, head of the working group Deliberation, Valuation and Sustainability, has been named as a Leibniz professor in the new round of funding by the Leibniz Association. The announcement was made recently at the Leibniz Association’s annual meeting.

Dr Fujitani, currently a professor at the University of Bremen, is among eight female internationally highly-qualified scientists from different Leibniz member institutions to receive the five-year funding within the Leibniz Programme for Women Professors which is part of the Leibniz Competition. It is aimed at women in all disciplines who have an outstanding international track record.

Marie Fujitani's five-year research programme is funded with more than €1.5m. Over the course of the project Marie Fujitani will be looking at possibilities for sustainable tourism in tropical island destinations.

Dr Fujitani says about her success: “I am incredibly happy to be selected for the Leibniz Professorship programme, to gain a long-term perspective with the wonderful colleagues and the vibrant research landscape at the ZMT and the University of Bremen. As the focus of the five-year research plan for an inter- and transdisciplinary Leibniz Female Professorship, I will investigate sustainability transformations with a focus on sustainable tourism. Tourism is one of the largest economic sectors globally, and irreversibly reshapes landscapes, economies, ecosystems, and cultures. Sustainable tourism can only be achieved through the transformation of currently existing systems.”

The proposed research is both timely and necessary, using a mixed-method approach to identify paths to transform the intent of island nature-based tourism systems towards sustainability.

Marie Fujitani received her PhD from a pioneering interdisciplinary degree program at Arizona State University. She was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, working at the NOAA headquarters in Washington, D.C.  She has worked a postdoc at the IGB in Berlin, and at the ZMT. In 2019 she received funding of two million Euros from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) for social-ecological research in the TransTourism project and to set up the research group Deliberation, Valuation and Sustainability at ZMT.

Professor Raimund Bleischwitz, Scientific Director of ZMT, comments: “This endorsement within the Leibniz Programme for Women Professors is not only testament to Marie Fujitani’s excellent standing within the international scientific community and at ZMT it also puts the focus on an economic sector that is not immune from the economic and societal transformations that are currently being called for on global scale.”

More about the five-year project

Tourism is one of the most influential global economic sectors, yet frequently gives rise to undesirable social and environmental outcomes. Sustainability transformations have proven elusive. Thus, a paradigm shift is needed, and this project will identify and interrogate transformation pathways. The project applies interdisciplinary mixed methods including modeling approaches and machine learning to identify and question possible pathways for social transformations of tourism in tropical island destinations, where tourism is a key source of livelihoods as well as conflicts. Results will broadly inform sustainability transformations, and work will be carried out in close collaboration with local partners to ground the study findings while providing a direct pathway to transfer results.

About the Leibniz Programme for Women Professors

The Leibniz Programme for Women Professors is a funding programme within the Leibniz Competition. It is aimed at women in all disciplines who have an outstanding international track record.

Selected candidates are promoted by means of a permanent associate or full professorship, or one with a tenure track option. The programme aims to support the successful recruitment of top female academics and promote initiatives that pave the way for such appointments at an early stage.

Leibniz Institutes may propose external or internal candidates. Appropriate basic resources will be provided. Duration of funding for the project associated with the professorship is for five years, two of which are funded by the Leibniz Institute in question.

The researchers funded in this programme are brought together for networking and training events in the Best Minds network.