The TRA Sustainable Futures aims to support and promote inter- and transdisciplinary research. To achieve this goal, TRA has developed various offerings: Funding programs such as the Open Call, research awards, and thematic calls for proposals support new and innovative research ideas from researchers at various stages of their careers. The scientific exchange with experts outside the University of Bonn is facilitated through the Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability." Networking events, such as the semi-annual general assembly, provide TRA members with opportunities to exchange ideas and establish connections.


With its Open Call, the TRA Sustainable Futures offers start-up funding for innovative, transdisciplinary research projects or other measures that have a clear connection to the TRA's objectives and topics. Applications are possible at any time. In addition, there are thematic or target group-specific calls, which are advertised here on this page.
Funding is available for example for travel expenses, workshops and personnel costs. If you have any questions about funding opportunities, please contact the TRA Management (

The TRA Sustainable Futures has supported more than 30 project ideas and projects to date. Some examples of the projects can be found here.

Open Call

Members of the TRA Sustainable Futures can apply for funding for projects which work towards the aims of the TRA and which focus on topics covered by the TRA. Applications must be made by consortia including representatives of at least two faculties at the University of Bonn or one faculty and a strategic non-university partner and will be accepted at any time. 

TRA² - Transdisciplinary Research Prize

The six Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRA) of the University of Bonn are publishing a joint call for proposals to fund highly innovative, transdisciplinary research projects by researchers from at least two different TRAs. The funded projects should address new and relevant questions at the interface between disciplines or should aim at the development of new tools, which push the borders of existing research questions. The innovative and cross-disciplinary character of the proposal is the most important prerequisite for funding. Successful proposals can be funded with up to €50,000. The proposal must cover a new initiative, as the continuation or extension of ongoing projects will not be funded.

Application deadline is April 7, 2024.

TRA incubator grant 2024: Modelling for Sustainable Futures

The University of Bonn Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) “Modelling” and “Sustainable Futures” aim 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. The innovative and cross-disciplinary nature of the proposal is the most important requirement for funding. A continuation of already established projects, or projects well within past research trajectories, will not be funded.

Successful applications can be funded for a period of 2 years with up to €70,000 per year (maximum amount €140,000). More details can be found in the call text.

Applications are possible until 19 May 2024.

Lecture Series 

Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability"

With the lecture series, the TRA Sustainable Futures aims to initiate an exchange with high-calibre and internationally visible scientists working in academia or at the interface between science and politics.

Learn more about upcoming lectures, registration, and watch videos of past lectures.

Networking Events

TRAnsDigital: Digitization of research in the Social Sciences and Humanities

April 26, 2024

The workshop adressed the question what potentials and challenges are associated with the digitalization of research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including Economics).
In addition to the exchange of knowledge and best-practice experiences in workshop sessions on various cross-disciplinary fields of application, the workshop offered the opportunity to make interesting contacts across disciplines and TRAs.

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© Christina Schiegl

"The Role of Nutrition in Planetary Health"

March 19, 2024

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.

General Assembly

General Assembly December 2023

The semi-annual general assembly of TRA Sustainable Futures took place on 13 December. After an introduction by the speakers Prof. Ute Nöthlings and Prof. Jan Börner, there was a brief overview of the TRA's activities in 2023 and an outlook on the plans for the coming year 2024. Another special moment was the introduction of the recently appointed Hertz Professor Prof. Ina Danquah.

This was followed by the interactive World Café. In this, TRA members were able to group together at themed tables with write-on tablecloths and, after an introduction by the respective table moderators, talk together about the five key topics of the TRA and discuss new ideas and approaches.

General Assembly June 2023

The semi-annual General Assembly of TRA Sustainable Futures took place on 11 July 2023. After the welcome by the spokespersons of TRA Sustainable Futures Prof. Dr. Ute Nöthlings and Prof. Dr. Jan Börner and a short report on the activities of TRA, the recently newly elected Argelander Professor Wolfram Barfuss was introduced.

In the interactive poster session that followed, members were able to gain an insight into some of the research projects funded by TRA Sustainable Futures and also take advantage of the opportunity for exchange and networking.

General Assembly December 2022

On December 15th 2022, the members of TRA Sustainable Futures met again to exchange ideas and to decide on important directions for 2023. With broad approval, changes in the administrative structure were voted for. We congratulate the new TRA speaker Prof. Ute Nöthlings and the re-elected TRA speaker Prof. Jan Börner. Our thanks go to the now former speaker Prof. Joachim von Braun and Prof. Gabriel Schaaf, who left the Steering Committee of TRA Sustainable Futures.    

In the main plenary, overviews of TRA's development and reports on funded projects were presented. In addition, members were able to actively discuss with each other in three open barcamp groups. The diverse topics were suggested by members themselves. They were about possible applications of infrared sensors in measuring activity of animal live stock, which help to make decisions for more animal welfare. Another group addressed the rights of future generations and the ethical question of the duty not to leave irreversible damage to the environment with current decisions and actions, especially due to climate change and biodiversity loss. The third barcamp addressed the implications of COP27 (Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, November 2022) for the TRA Sustainable Futures research agenda, including centrally the question: what interdisciplinary research is currently essential to enable a sustainable future through innovation and technology?


A new edition of the newsletter is currently being planned.

In the meantime, past newsletters can be viewed here.

More from TRA Sustainable Futures

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