ENGAGE – Commitment to sustainable public welfare

The ENGAGE project investigates the conditions under which the participation and commitment of citizens to sustainability can lead to “sustainable public welfare”.

Research approach

The research team of ENGAGE investigates different forms of civic engagement and political participation at national and local level as well as in the context of associations and self-organized initiatives. In addition to the analysis of general trends in civic engagement and political participation, five case studies will serve to examine in depth the different forms of engagement and political participation that are aiming to promote sustainable public welfare. The focus will be to assess the influence of process design, inclusion strategies and the framework conditions of engagement. ISOE researchers will work on case studies of civil society engagement in traditional and precarious milieus and conduct focus groups and interviews with individual initiatives.


An important goal of social and political action is the promotion or protection of the common good. Civic engagement for sustainability can contribute significantly to this goal. However, many new forms of commitment and participation are accused of being supported only by certain groups within society. And consequently, instead of promoting the common good, only their own particular interests are promoted, with the result that societal inequalities are further consolidated.The inter- and transdisciplinary project team of ENGAGE is researching the conditions under which the participation and commitment of citizens for sustainability can actually lead to “sustainable common good”. The term “sustainable common good” refers to safeguarding the ecological, societal, and economic conditions for the future creation of common good. The project is based on the assumption that the common good is constantly being redefined in the course of societal negotiation processes. 

Project partners

  • The Center of Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research (ZIN) | University of Münster
  • Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (IÖW)
  • Öko-Institut e.V. – Institute for Applied Ecology


The project “ENGAGE – Engagement for Sustainable Public Welfare” is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the directive “Participation and Public Welfare”.


Sattlegger, Lukas (2022): Gemeinschaft im Kleingartenverein stärken. Bundesweiter Online-Workshop für Kleingärtner. Kleingarten Magazin (3), 27


2019/11 – 2022/10