Change within the executive board

Flurina Schneider becomes new scientific director of ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research

From April 1, 2021, Flurina Schneider is going to be new scientific director and spokesperson of the executive board of ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research. She is taking over from Thomas Jahn, who co-founded the Institute for Social-Ecological Research in 1989. Simultaneously, Flurina Schneider is taking up a professorship for social ecology at the Department of Biosciences at Goethe University Frankfurt. This way, ISOE and Goethe University are aiming to intensify their long-standing cooperation in research, teaching and transfer. The professorship is the first in Germany with a focus on social ecology.

| Pressrelease
Porträtfoto Flurina Schneider
Foto: CDE / Manu Friederich

With the Swiss geographer Flurina Schneider, an internationally connected scientist with a proven track record in transdisciplinary sustainability research is joining ISOE. “With her extensive experience in international transdisciplinary research programs and her impressive research profile, Flurina Schneider brings excellent qualifications for her new task at ISOE,” says Thomas Jahn. Schneider’s research interests include sustainability transformations, participation and knowledge integration in transdisciplinary research, as well as governance and use of natural resources. Flurina Schneider thus presents an asset for the institute's research: early on, ISOE developed basic principles and methods for understanding, critically assessing and sustainably shaping social-ecological transformation processes and is now one of the leading institutes in transdisciplinary sustainability research.

Viable solutions for sustainable transformation processes

Consistently, ISOE scientists have focused on the transdisciplinary research mode that involves social actors in the research process. “In the current situation, in which climate, biodiversity and resource conflicts are coming to a head, we see how intense the pressure is for sustainable action in the Anthropocene,” says Alexandra Lux, spokesperson of the associates’ board of ISOE. “But the necessary social-ecological transformations can only succeed if they are supported by society. That is why we are particularly pleased that we could win Flurina Schneider, a highly competent and committed scientist, especially in the field of transdisciplinary research, for the position of scientific director ,” says Lux. 

First professorship for Social Ecology in Germany

The combination of the position of ISOE’s scientific director with a professorship in social ecology is a first. “The further development of social ecology not only as our research program, but also as a scientific field, is a central component of our concept for the future. And by putting this into practice, we also take up a recommendation made by the German Council of Science and Humanities in 2016,” says Alexandra Lux. With its Institutional Strategy 2022, ISOE has unequivocally decided to intensify its cooperation with Goethe University where the institute has already been taking on teaching tasks since 2008 on theoretical concepts, methods and empirical fields of application of social-ecological research. “The social-ecological explanatory models which have been shaped quite significantly by ISOE have contributed decisively to sustainability research in recent decades and have helped to better understand and shape transformation processes,” says Flurina Schneider. “For me, it is both a great pleasure and a challenge to have the opportunity to further expand social ecology in science and research together with my colleagues at the Institute.”

Practical research results

The Department of Biological Sciences had actively lobbied for the establishment of the professorship "Social Ecology" at Goethe University Frankfurt. Sven Klimpel, dean of the department, says: "The natural sciences are now conducting transdisciplinary research and among other things, they see added value in translating their research results into practical and viable concepts for society." He adds “It is therefore becoming increasingly important to relate basic research to discourses and decision-making processes in politics, economics, society and the social sciences”. With the appointment of Flurina Schneider, this research area will now be excellently represented.

Expertise in international sustainability research projects

Schneider’s academic career began with her PhD in 2008 on the topic of sustainable soil management in Swiss agriculture and the co-creation of knowledge through network building and social learning. She completed her habilitation in 2016 on the topic of transdisciplinary and transformative research for sustainable governance of natural resources with a view to intergenerational justice at the University of Bern, where she has been employed as a researcher since 2010. There, at the Center for Development and Environment (CDE), Flurina Schneider has been leading the Land Resources Cluster since 2017. Her scientific activities cover a broad spectrum of environmental and sustainability research: from soil conserving farming systems and quality assurance of eco-products on to equity in land and water governance and research projects dealing with the role of transdisciplinary knowledge production in sustainability transformations. Flurina Schneider has led research projects funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the Mercator Foundation, the International Science Council, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and has been abroad several times for research stays, such as a year at Arizona State University. 

As spokesperson of the institute’s executive board, Flurina Schneider will closely collaborate with its members, namely Diana Hummel, Martina Winker and Frank Schindelmann.

Scientific contact: 

Dr. Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart
Head of Knowledge Communication & Public Relations 
Tel. +49 69 707 69 19-30

Press contact:

Melanie Neugart
Tel. +49 69 707 69 19-51