demons – Supplying the Population

The scientists of the demons junior research group examined links between demographic developments, needs and supply systems.

Research approach

demons (demographic trends, needs & supply systems) brought together natural and social scientists to engage in interdisciplinary research within a junior research group. Seeking to draw inter-cultural comparisons, they analysed the correlations between different population dynamics and supply systems for water and food. demons was a joint project between ISOE and Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main.

Case studies

In this project, scientists combined theoretical work with historical and current empirical case studies, both in industrial and developing countries (Europe, South-East Asia, the Middle East, Ghana, Namibia). Concepts for problem-solving approaches were developed with the aim of promoting the adaptability of supply systems to demographic change.

Interdisciplinary junior research group

Social and natural scientists from the disciplines of geography, sociology, economics and politics were involved in the project. Its members used the research as a means of qualifying themselves within their respective disciplines and in transdisciplinary social-ecological research.

Research questions

  • In what way do the services to be delivered by supply systems depend on the overall number, needs, social status, consumer behaviour and lifestyles of the recipients?
  • How relevant are demographic processes to the crisis-ridden development and transformation of supply systems?
  • What are the preconditions for sustainable supply systems and their capacity for adjusting to demographic change?

Project partner

Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding programme Social Ecological Research


2002/03 – 2007/08