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 

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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.

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 recently elected 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.


The next General Assembly of TRA Sustainable Futures will take place on December 13 at 1 pm. In addition to an overview of past and upcoming TRA developments, there will be time for exchange and discussion in a "World Café". You can find out more about the  program here. Registration is required and can be found here.

Next lecture in our Lecture Series "Innovation Pathways to Sustainability": “The Unintended Negative Effect of Pharmaceutical Treatment on the Likelihood to Adopt Healthy Lifestyle“, Prof. Dr. Amir Heiman (December 11, 2023, 16 h, Senatssaal (main building of University of Bonn) and via Zoom). More information here.

Call for Postdoctoral Researchers: The application deadline was September 13, 2023. Further information can be found 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.

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.

General Assembly (July 2023) of TRA Sustainable Futures

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. The next General Assembly will take place on 13 December 2023.

Press releases
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. 

Reliable Security Online for Protection against Fraud

Is there a feasible way to enjoy more effective online fraud protection that is more consumer-friendly at the same time? This question is being worked on by University of Bonn researchers in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure (FIZ) in Karlsruhe and the University of Duisburg-Essen, who are jointly developing an online platform that affords better protection against identity data misuse for both consumers and merchants. The project is to receive a total of 1.5 million euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a three-year period.

Press review

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


Prof. Dr. Ute Nöthlings
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences (IEL) - Nutritional Epidemiology

Prof. Dr. Jan Börner
Institute for Food and Resource Economics (ILR)


Ruben Greif
Phone: +49 228 73 54476

Hanna Zimmermann
Phone:  +49 228 73 54469
Mobile: +49 151 221 406 26

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

University of Bonn
Dechenstraße 3-11
53115 Bonn / Germany


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