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.

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Importance of Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability: The significance of the Sustainable Development Goals

Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun, Center for Development Research (ZEF) and Speaker of TRA Sustainable Futures, outlines the significance of the UN's sustainable development goals for global development.


Letters from a boardgame which describe the word news in front of a wooden table.
© TRA Sustainable Futures
Press releases
DAAD funds two new global centers at the University of Bonn

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is funding a total of eight interdisciplinary "Global Centers" to address global challenges in a new program. The University of Bonn is involved in two of the projects: One project focusses on the future of African savannahs and the other on early detection and management of infection risks in West Africa. The funds are granted by the German Federal Foreign Office and amount to around 2.8 million euros per center until 2025.

Protection of vines from introduced diseases

Increasingly globalized trade, rising international tourism and climate change are increasing the likelihood that previously unknown harmful organisms will be introduced and carried into Germany and that heat-loving harmful organisms will be able to spread more easily. These include the disease Flavescence dorée, which is caused by bacteria (phytoplasmas) and affects grapevines, among others. A project involving researchers from the PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn has now received funding of around two million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The aim of the "PhytoMo" project is the early detection of dangerous phytoplasmoses. The Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner presented the researchers with the funding notification this week via video conference.

How plants respond to environmental stress

What effects does environmentally induced "stress" have on crops, and how can these effects be predicted? Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon is working on this question at the University of Illinois in the US - and soon also as a guest professor at the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. For the cooperation with her colleagues and the planned research stay in Bonn, she now receives a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, endowed with 45,000 Euros. To conduct her research, Amy Marshall-Colon will be in Bonn from May 15 to August 15, 2022.

New UNESCO Chair at the University of Bonn

Together with the University of Bonn, UNESCO has established the UNESCO Chair in Human-Water Systems. It will be held by the geographer Prof. Dr. Mariele Evers. This means that Germany is now home to 14 UNESCO Chairs that contribute to the implementation of the Global Sustainability Agenda.

Press review

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

  • "Vom Feld ins Netz" (WirtschaftsWoche, 14.06.2021) - Prof. Stefanie Bröring zu der Digitalisierung des Landhandels und der Entwicklung von Deeptech-Start-ups in der Agrarbranche
  • "Der Urwald brennt für unser billiges Fleisch"12 (SWR Fernsehen, 07.04.2021) -  Prof. Jan Börner in der SWR Dokumentation zu der Verbindung von illegaler Brandrodung und günstigem Rindfleisch aus Südamerika
  • "Bonn bekommt UNESCO-Lehrstuhl für Mensch-Wasser-Systeme"1399 (WDR, 24.02.2021) - Bericht im WDR zum UNESCO-Lehrstuhl von Prof. Mariele Evers
  • "Klimaschutz von unten"141010 (Der Spiegel, 09.02.2021) - Prof. Wulf Amelung dazu, wie Böden genutzt werden können, um Kohlenstoff aus der Atmosphäre zu holen.
  • "Abgase in den Boden"151111 (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21.01.2021) - Prof. Wulf Amelung zu der Idee, durch Hummusaufbau des Bodens  Treibhausgasemissionen zu kompensieren.
  • "Auf 2021 kommt es an161212" (Frankfurter Rundschau, 07.01.2021) - Prof. Anna-Katharina Hornidge dazu, welche Entscheidungen in 2021 in Bezug auf die Umwelt- und Klimapolitik anstehen.


Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun
Center for Development Research (ZEF)

Prof. Dr. Jan Börner
Institute for Food and Resource Economics


Hanna Zimmermann
Manager TRA Sustainable Futures

Strategic Development and Quality Assurance
Vice Rectorate for Research and Early-Career Researchers

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn 
Argelanderstraße 1
53115 Bonn  

Phone:  +49 175/103 89 57

Sarah May
Office Strategic Development and Quality Assurance
Strategic Development and Quality Assurance
Vice Rectorate for Research and Early-Career Researchers

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Argelanderstraße 1
53115 Bonn   

Phone: +49 228 73 2477

Ronja Jentgens
Graduate student assistant

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