Cutting-edge research on sustainability

Transdisciplinary Research Area Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures

Sustainability means using resources in a way that the needs of today are met without neglecting or even disregarding the needs of future generations. This raises questions in a wide range of areas: poverty, hunger, food security, demographic change, health, protection of the environment, climate change and the responsible use of resources pose a global challenge for us all. To achieve progress with regards to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, our researchers apply an interdisciplinary approach focused on solutions combined with basic research, actively engage in global networks and collaborate with Bonn-based UN organizations.

© Bialek/Uni Bonn

About the TRA 

Organisation, goals, team


Research profile, topics, projects


Events, funding, newsletter


Members, partners

Research Professorships of the Transdisciplinary Research Area

Prof. Ina Danquah
© Gregor Hübl/Universität Bonn

Hertz-Chair "Innovation for Planetary Health”
Prof. Dr. Ina Danquah

Ina Danquah sets a focus on „Planetary Health” within TRA Sustainable Futures

Wolfram Barfuss
© Gregor Hübl/Universität Bonn

Argelander-Professorship “Integrated System Modeling for Sustainability Transitions”
Jun.-Prof. Wolfram Barfuss

Wolfram Barfuss strives to reshape human-environment modeling to identify critical leverage points for sustainability transitions.

Our TRA: Transcending classical disciplinary boundaries for the future

Unsere TRA: Für die Zukunft klassische Disziplingrenzen überschreiten

At the Bonn Science Night in summer 2022 the speaker of TRA Innovation and Technology for a Sustainable Future, Prof. Jan Börner (Institute for Food and Resource Economics), and the former speaker Prof. Joachim von Braun (Center for Development Research) came to speak. Why is there a need for transdisciplinary research areas like the ones at the University of Bonn? What are the questions and problems that can only be addressed through a transdisciplinary perspective and cooperation? And what can transdisciplinary research look like?

The nutrition epidemiologist and speaker of the TRA Innovation and Technology for a Sustainable Future, Prof. Ute Nöthlings, presented the COPLANT study, which shows how transdisciplinary work can develop innovative approaches in research for important current problems.


TRA Sustainable Futures joins the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in its obituary on the death of Professor Klaus Töpfer.

Our Open Call for seed funding is still available to all TRA members. Please feel free to contact us in advance if you have any questions.

The 'Innovation for Planetary Health' symposium on March 19, 2024 marked the opening of the Hertz Professorship of Prof. Dr. Ina Danquah at the University of Bonn. A report on the symposium can be found here. 

TRA incubator grant 2024: Modelling for Sustainable Futures. A joint call by TRA Modelling and TRA Sustainable Futures to support highly innovative, cross-disciplinary research projects addressing new and relevant questions at the interface between Modelling in Mathematics or Computer Sciences and Sustainability Research. Deadline was May 19, 2024. More information can be found here.

TRA² - Transdisciplinary Research Prize: A joint call by the TRAs to fund highly innovative transdisciplinary research projects. Deadline was April 7, 2024. You can find more information here.

Missed a presentation from our lecture series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"? Videos of the presentations are available for viewing here, even after the event.


The TRA Sustainable Futures currently has more than 220 members whose research is focused on the five priority themes of TRA Sustainable Futures.

Become a member of TRA Sustainable Futures!

As TRA member, you will have access to TRA funding and opportunities for networking beyond the borders of your own discipline.

Funding possibilities in TRA Sustainable Futures

The funding programmes offered by the TRA - including the Open Call, research awards and thematic or target group-specific calls - promote new and innovative research ideas from researchers at various stages of their careers. 

Funded projects

To date, TRA Sustainable Futures has financially supported more than 30 project ideas and projects. You can find some examples of the projects on our website.

Press releases
Farmland weeds help to combat pests

Leaving some weeds between crops can help to combat pests on agricultural land, according to a new study carried out by the University of Bonn. This step has particularly positive effects in combination with other measures: the cultivation of different types of crops and planting strips of wildflowers. The results have now been published in the Journal of Pest Science.

Healthy Diets for People and the Planet

Our diet puts a strain on planetary resources. Shifting to a sustainable diet that benefits both our health and that of the planet is therefore assuming increasing importance. Researchers at the University of Bonn have analyzed the diets of children and adolescents in terms of their contribution to the ecological sustainability indicators of greenhouse gas emissions, land use and water use. The study shows that there is both the potential and a need to make the diet of younger generations more sustainable. The study will be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; it is already available online.

“Virtual Brain Twin” Project Launch

Mental health is an increasingly important public health issue in the European Union. Effective treatment options are in greater demand today than ever before. Roughly one percent of the world’s population suffers from schizophrenia, and the limitations of current medicine are apparent in that 30–50% of patients do not properly respond to the available medication. This is where the four-year Virtual Brain Twin project comes in, backed by roughly €10 million in European Union funding. The University of Bonn Center for Life Ethics is a project member, serving as a review instance of attendant ethical questions. The project kick-off meeting was just held in Brussels. 

A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Press review

Members of TRA Sustainable Futures in the media (in German)


Avatar Greif

Ruben Greif

TRA Manager | Strategic Development and Quality Assurance Unit

Dechenstraße 3-11

53115 Bonn

Avatar Zimmermann

Hanna Zimmermann

TRA Manager | Strategic Development and Quality Assurance Unit

Dechenstraße 3-11

53115 Bonn

Wird geladen