The United Nations (UN) have defined 17 sustainability goals. Researchers at the University of Konstanz contribute to reaching these goals through their research as well as their teaching and transfer activities. They provide impetus for sustainable action, give support for addressing crises and develop cutting-edge technologies. Read about 17 of our research projects with a focus on sustainability from different disciplines in the magazine uni'kon #72 “Mit Wissenstransfer in eine nachhaltige Zukunft” (in German). The articles showcase the diversity of how research can contribute to sustainability as well as the many different scientific approaches used.
Research on inequality
The Cluster of Excellence “The Politics of Inequality” receives funding in the context of the Excellence Strategy. It links a wide range of disciplines (political science, sociology, economics, linguistics, psychology and empirical educational research) and strives to open up new perspectives on the connections between inequality and different political processes. The researchers involved also approach the goal of reducing inequalities across its entire bandwidth.
- A Repeated Representative Opinion Survey on Inequality and Social Mobility, Junior Professor Luna Bellani, Professor Marius Busemeyer, Professor Guido Schwerdt
- Mobilizing Inequalities: From Grievances to Conflict, Professor Nils Weidmann, Professor Miriam Butt, Junior Professor Christina Zuber
- Improving Equity in Education through Youth Mentoring – An Evaluation of a Randomized Educational Intervention in Colombia, Professor Urs Fischbacher, Professor Guido Schwerdt
Professor Britta Renner, Department of Psychology
- MiLife, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), part of the project RISKDYNAMICS, a study analyzing the interplay between physical activity and psychological factors
Good health and well-being
- COVID-19 and Inequality - Surveys Programme, a large-scale survey project on relations between inequality and the coronavirus crisis by the Cluster of Excellence “The Politics of Inequality”
2) Research on the coronavirus
Researchers at the University of Konstanz actively contribute to the effort of managing the coronavirus situation using their research. Research projects support politicians, society and healthcare institutions at many levels to handle the current crisis. On-going research projects related to the coronavirus
3) Professor Markus Gruber/Human Performance Research Centre (HPRC), sport science programme
- Human Performance Research Centre (HPRC), The HPRC enables detailed research into the athletic performance of humans and works closely with regional collaboration partners (sports clubs and associations).
4) Professor Britta Renner, Department of Psychology
- Konstanzer Life-Studie (Konstanz life survey), a long-term study (six survey waves from 2012 to 2019), interdisciplinary analysis of the health of Konstanz residents (last survey wave from 9 March to 20 April 2020)
- EUCLID study on the public’s perception of the coronavirus situation
- SMARTACT The interdisciplinary research project SMARTACT aims to use mobile technologies (e.g. smartphones) to improve health-related behaviour over the long term.
- Individual and collective appetite – how is eating shaped by social influence?. This project’s objective is to identify the influence of social contexts on eating in human and animal collectives.
5) Professor Petra H. Wirtz, Department of Psychology
- Psychoneurobiological mechanisms in essential hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD), analysis of psychosocial risk factors for coronary heart disease
- Inventory for assessment of stress management skills (ISBF): Psychometric and endocrine validation of a questionnaire to determine perceived stress management skills
- Study on stress in the coronavirus situation
6) Professor Alexander Bürkle, Department of Biology
- Biomarkers of Ageing/Mark-AGE, EU project examining age-related changes in bodily functions (biological age) and their influence on the emergence of age-related diseases.
7) Professor Marcus Groettrup, Department of Biology
- Steinbeis Transfer Center:Immunoproteasome Drug Targeting,FAT10, research on biological immune response mechanisms
8) Departments of Biology and Chemistry: Professor Christof Hauck, Professor Thomas Mayer, Professor Marcus Groettrup, Professor Andreas Marx, Dr Thomas Böttcher in collaboration with Klinikum Konstanz (Professor Marcus Schuchmann) and Labor Brunner (Dr Simone Brunner, Dr Marcel Kremer)
- Collaboration and support for providing an increased number of coronavirus tests along with faster ones in Konstanz in addition to research on developing substances to combat the virus
9) Chemical biology research centres on the interface of biology, chemistry and computer science. The macromolecular basic building blocks of the cell can be characterized in terms of their functional and structural interaction. The research focuses lie in the fields of synthetic chemistry, cellular biochemistry, biophysics, biomedicine and bio- and chemoinformatics.
10) Professor Daniel Keim, Department of Computer and Information Science, data analysis and visualization
- „Coronavis“ visualization tool for the nation-wide display of intensive care capacities. The tool enables physicians to gain an overview of intensive care capacities at German hospitals.
- Students' Perceptions of Inequality and Fairness (PerPol) and their consequences for educational as well as political participation, Professor Claudia Diehl, Professor Marius Busemeyer, Junior Professor Axinja Hachfeld, Professor Thomas Hinz, Professor Theodoros Marinis
2) Professor Marius Busemeyer, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- The Politics of Education and Training. Reforms in Western Welfare States, a comparative international study of professional and academic education systems and the institutional and political conditions from which they emerged
- Investing in Education in Europe: Attitudes, Politics and Policies, a study examining the attitudes of residents in eight European countries towards education policy with the aim of increasing understanding of the reciprocal connection between education and social policy
3) Professor Guido Schwerdt, Department of Economics
- Inequality and Education: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, an interdisciplinary teaching project focusing on education access, participation and socio-economic factors completed in collaboration with Professor Busemeyer
4) Professor Axinja Hachfeld, empirical educational research, currently studying the teaching situation during the current pandemic-related school closure
5) The Binational School of Education is a central academic institution of the University of Konstanz. It controls, coordinates and develops all areas of teacher education at the university. As a cross-university teaching and research network, it connects university facilities with external partners.
1) Professor Susanne Strauß, sociology
- Personality or social environment? Which factors help young women to remain in the “leaky tech pipeline”?
- Perceptions of Gender and Seniority: Wage Inequality and Individual Behavioral Reactions in the Organizational Context
2) Professor Claudia Diehl, sociology
- Recent Immigration Processes and Early Integration Trajectories in Germany (ENTRA)
- Refugees and their early Integration in Society and Education (RISE)
- Advancing the European Multilingual Experience
3) Professor Dorothea Debus, Department of Philosophy, as Vice Rector for International Affairs, Equal Opportunity and Diversity responsible for all topics and projects related to international affairs, equal opportunity and diversity at the University of Konstanz
Clean water and sanitization
Professor Frank Peeters/ Limnological Institute, Department of Biology
- https://kops.uni-konstanz.de/handle/123456789/47324On the protection of the lakeside: Seeufer: Wellen – Erosion – Schutz – Renaturierung in the context of the joint research project HyMoBioStrategie (in German)
- Investigation of the surface wave field and particle resuspension in Lake Constance (in German)
- Modelling the influence of physical changes in the environment (in German)
- CHARM: CHAllenges of Reservoir Management – Meeting Environmental and Social Requirements
- MethDyn: Methane emissions from small lakes: Dynamics and distribution patterns
Affordable and clean energy
1) Professor Stefan Volkwein, Department of Mathematics
- In collaboration with the city of Konstanz and the IT Centre Wehr GmbH, BMBF project "Simulation und Optimierung unterschiedlicher Energiestrategien zur Reduktion der CO2-Emissionen“ focusing on simulating and optimizing different energy strategies to reduce CO2 emissions in the Konstanz quarters “Paradies” and “Altstadt”.
2) Professor Giso Hahn, Department of Physics
- More than 10 publicly funded projects for example on the following topics: Developing new solar cell concepts for the cost-efficient use of regenerative energies, investigating the long-term stability of solar cells, improving the physical understanding of processes in the solar cell, technology transfer of laboratory results into mass production
- Course”Halbleitertechnologie und Physik der Solarzelle“, in which the foundations of crystal production and processing steps for electronic components of solar cells are discussed.
3) Professor Lukas Schmidt-Mende, Department of Physics
The research team "Hybrid Nanostructures" investigates new materials for solar cells by studying perovskite semiconductors that are significantly cheaper and need less energy than silicon solar cells, for example.
- Point-Defect Design and Facet-Selective Optoelectronic Properties in Doped Perovskite Microcrystals (SPP 2196 “Perovskite semiconductors”)
- Control over grain size and crystallinity: Role of trap states in perovskites (SPP 2196 “Perovskite semiconductors”)
4)Professor Peter Baum, Department of Physics
- Observations of moving atoms and electrons with an attosecond electron microscope, a project to develop a novel approach to making the smallest and fastest processes in matter visible – the motion of atoms and electrons
Decent work and economic growth
1) Professor Nick Zubanov (PhD), Department of Economics
- Skill complementarity in production technology, a study on the correlation between the dispersion of skills within companies and productivity in business sectors with higher average skill dispersion
2) Professor Florian Kunze, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- „Younger supervisors, older subordinates: An organizational-level study of age differences, emotions, and performance”
- A study on working from home during the coronavirus pandemic
3) Professor Ines Mergel, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- Open Public Administration Scholarship (OPAS), an open access platform for research-based teaching results focusing on digital transformation
4) Professor Sabine Boerner, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- Leadership and resilience in the healthcare sector, a study with the aim of identifying factors that strengthen the psychological resilience of healthcare professionals. The expected results can lay the groundwork for developing practical recommendations and interventions that support healthcare teams in their everyday work.
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
1) Professor Helmut Cölfen, Department of Chemistry, researches in the field of nano and materials science. His work focuses on the processes of crystalization and biomineralization.
- From biominerals to novel bio-inspired materials, one research aim is to use controlled crystal growth to make fracture-resistant concrete, another aim is to establish mineral plastics as a sustainable, biodegradable plastic with exceptional characteristics
2) Professor Stefan Mecking, Department of Chemistry, researches in the field of nano and materials science (one of the university’s research priorities). His work focuses on sustainable catalysis mechanisms and processes in addition to eco-friendly plastics.
- ERC Advanced Grant DEEPCAT, funded by the European Research Council (ERC), research on degradable plastics that can degrade at the molecular level at designed break points without harming the environment
- Joint research with Professor Cölfen and Professor Schleheck, funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation, on intelligent materials that are non-persistent in ocean water
- Inequality Barometer: A Repeated Representative Opinion Survey on Inequality and Social Mobility, Junior Professor Luna Bellani, Professor Marius Busemeyer, Professor Guido Schwerdt
- Mobilizing Inequalities: From Grievances to Conflict, Professor Miriam Butt, Professor Nils Weidmann, Junior Professor Christina Zuber
- The Politics of Persisting Inequality: Evidence from the US South, Junior Professor Luna Bellani, Junior Professor Stephan Maurer
- Ethnic Policies – Remedy for Between-Group Inequalities?, Professor Katharina Holzinger, Professor Tanja Kupisch
- Perceptions of Inequality in a Socialist Dictatorship: Evidence from the German Democratic Republic, Dr Eda Keremoglu, Professor Nils Weidmann, Dr Patrick Zwerschke
2) Professor Friedrich Breyer, Department of Economics, researches in the areas of economic and social policy, on (among others) the topics of climate policy, housing policy, demographic change and health policy. Friedrich Breyer is a member of the Board of Academic Advisors at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
- “Wie ‘sozial’ ist die Sozialversicherung?” (Just how “social” is social security? Paradox distribution effects of statutory German health insurance and pension insurance)
- “Ist die deutsche Sozialversicherung nachhaltig finanziert?” (Is funding for the German social security insurance system sustainable?)
- “Auswirkungen des medizinischen Fortschritts auf die Gesundheitsausgaben” (The effects of medical progress on healthcare expenses)
- “Wie sieht eine soziale Wohungspolitik aus?” (What does social housing policy look like?)
3) Professor Marius Busemeyer, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- The Future of European Social Citizenship (EUSOCIALCIT), an EU-funded project that examines alternative political measures to strengthen civil society in Europe
Sustainable cities and communities
1) Professor Thomas Hinz, Dr Thomas Wöhler, sociology
- Additional survey in the context of the “Konstanzer Bürgerbefragung” on the situation of residents in Konstanz during the coronavirus pandemic
2) Prof. Dr. Rudolf Schlögl, Fachbereich Geschichte
Responsible consumption and production
1) Professor Tanja Gaich, Department of Chemistry
2) Professor Marcel Leist, Department of Biology, researches, together with is his team, rapid high-throughput test methods that make green chemistry and the development of less toxic chemicals possible. Another research focus is on developing replacement methods for animal experiments to avoid batch testing. He is also active in the Steinbeis Transfer Center CAAT-Europe.
- NeuNet, a project researching the use of neuronal networks of human cells to replace animal models in biomedical research
- InnoSysTox-Moving, a joint research project: SysBioToP-Moving, focusing on the system biology of liver toxicity predictions
- „A roadmap for the development of alternative (non-animal) methods for systemic toxicity testing”, a project in the context of the Steinbeis Transfer Center CAAT-Europe at the University of Konstanz
1) Scientists for Future at the University of Konstanz
Contact: Professor Christine Peter, Department of Chemistry
2) Junior Professor Sebastian Koos, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- The development and future of the “Fridays for Future” movement: results from two surveys conducted during the “Fridays for Future” demonstrations in Konstanz on 24 May and 20 September 2019: research report
Life below water
1) Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour
The Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour” focuses its research on collective behaviour while including a wide variety of categories. The aim of the interdisciplinary research network (involving biology, physics, psychology, sociology, economics, computer science and mathematics) is to uncover the basic principles behind collective behaviour in a range of organisms and at different organizational levels in order to use this knowledge to implement real-world solutions with a positive global impact.
Contacts: Professor Oliver Deussen, Professor Urs Fischbacher, Professor Iain Couzin, speakers of the Cluster of Excellence
2) Professor Christian Voolstra, Department of Biology
- "SymbiOmics – Decoding Structure and Function of the coral metorganism“
- “Bioprospecting of Marine Organisms”
3) Peter Kroth, Department of Biology
Life on land
Contacts: Professor Oliver Deussen, Professor Urs Fischbacher, Professor Iain Couzin, speakers of the Cluster of Excellence
- Protecting and restoring land ecosystems, promoting their sustainable usage, conducting forestry sustainably, combating desertification, ending and reversing soil degradation, stopping loss of biodiversity
2) Professor Martin Wikelski, Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour, Department of biology
Peace, justice and strong institutions
Contact: Professor Daniel Thym, Christopher Möllmann
3) Professor Anke Hoeffler, Department of Politics and Public Administration
4) Professor Katharina Holzinger, Department of Politics and Public Administration
- “Framing Inequalities“, Professor Miriam Butt, Professor Regine Eckardt, Professor Katharina Holzinger
- Identifying, understanding and modeling perceived structural inequalities between political groups
5) Professor Gerald Schneider, Department of Politics and Public Administration
6) Professor Nils Weidmann, Department of Politics and Public Administration
7) Professor Daniel Thym, Department of Law
- “Einwanderungsgesetzgebung: Chancen und Illusionen” (immigration law: opportunities and illusions, article in German)
- “Grundgesetz und Grenzen”, (the German Basic Law and borders, discussion with Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer, in German)
8) Professor Aleida Assmann, Professor Jan Assmann, Junior professor Christiane Bertram began research in March of 2020 with the support of the Dr Karl Helmut Eberle Prize for the project “Civic strength. Political challenges and cultural practices”. Individual projects investigate questions of civic society at the national, municipal and school levels. An associated project “Gemeinsinn im Sport” (civic society in sport) focuses especially on sport organizations.
- Civic strength. Political challenges and cultural practices, awarded the 2020 Dr Karl Helmut Eberle Prize
9) Junior Professor Christiane Bertram, Department of history
- Generation 1975: 14 Years Old and Starting into the New Germany, a video project comprised of recorded oral history interviews (approx. 3 hours each) with 26 contemporary witnesses from Germany’s east and west on their memories of living in a divided and re-unified Germany.
Partnerships for the goals
Currently, the University of Konstanz is not explicitly researching on this UN sustainability goal.