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

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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.

Inaugural Symposium Hertz-Chair “Innovation for Planetary Health”

Food systems play an important role in achieving healthy environments, human health, and the health of all living creatures on our planet. This scientific symposium will launch the research concept of the Hertz-Chair “Innovation for Planetary Health” and will provide a platform for interdisciplinary discourse to strive technology and innovation for sustainable futures at the University of Bonn and beyond.

Join the Symposium!

Tuesday, 19 March 2024

Registration for the symposium is mandatory. 

Our TRA: Transcending classical disciplinary boundaries for the future

Unsere TRA: Für die Zukunft klassische Disziplingrenzen überschreiten

At the last 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, presents the COPLANT study, which shows how transdisciplinary work can develop innovative approaches in research for important current problems.


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

Save the date: The TRA Sustainable Futures' General Assemblies 2024 will take place on 20 June at 10 a.m. and on 28 November, also at 10 a.m.

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

Members directory: From now on, members of TRA Sustainable Futures can be found by name or by their research focus.

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.

Press releases
Main regulator for the body`s oven discovered

Brown fat cells convert energy into heat – a key to eliminating unwanted fat deposits. In addition, they also protect against cardiovascular diseases. Researchers from the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) and the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Life & Health" at the University of Bonn have now identified the protein EPAC1 as a new pharmacological target to increase brown fat mass and activity. The long-term aim is to find medicines that support weight loss. The results of the study have now been published in the renowned journal "Nature Cell Biology".

Variety Is Key

Where and how can diversified farming practices be put to profitable use in order to boost both productivity and biodiversity? Researchers at the University of Bonn have tackled this question in a study that has now been published in “Communications Earth & Environment.”

New Collaborative Research Center at the University of Bonn

The new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) "NuMeriQS: Numerical Methods for Dynamics and Structure Formation in Quantum Systems" aims to advance the understanding of dynamics and structure formation in quantum systems. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up the CRC at the University of Bonn to strengthen cutting-edge research. Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung are also involved. The start is planned for April 2024. Over the next three years and nine months, around eight million euros will flow into the research network. The Transdisciplinary Research Area "Matter" at the University of Bonn supported the creation of the CRC.

Planetary health as a holistic concept

The University of Bonn has once again recruited an exceptional talent: Ina Danquah has been appointed as the new Hertz-Chair “Innovation for Planetary Health” at the “University of Excellence Bonn”. The Hertz-Chair combines various disciplines in a unique manner. Danquah is a nutritional scientist and expert in public health and epidemiology. Her Hertz-Chair contributes to the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Sustainable Futures”. In addition, Danquah is one of the three directors of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn. 

Press review

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


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Ruben Greif

TRA Manager | Strategic Development and Quality Assurance Unit

Dechenstraße 3-11

53115 Bonn

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Hanna Zimmermann

TRA Manager | Strategic Development and Quality Assurance Unit

Dechenstraße 3-11

53115 Bonn

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