Skip to content


Since three decades, I have worked at the CDE, a Swiss interdisciplinary centre of excellence for sustainable natural resource use, regional development and global change. In this capacity I have provided advice and developed concepts and tools for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and for CDE’s long-term North-South research programmes. Since its implementation, CDE has further developed inter-and transdisciplinary theory and practice for SD, but it has always been strongly challenged by conflicting reference systems and objectives of academia and policy – and by fairly disciplinary natural-science dominance. Thus, aside of and as much as possible in my daily work I try to capitalise and reflect on my own learning and CDE’s institutional experiences with inter-and transdisciplinarity approaches.

In my (late) PhD I focus the role of research in institutionalising co-production of knowledge and societal learning processes for SD, with the intention to expanding the theoretical and methodological foundations, and deducing implications with regard to engaging in, and further developing, sustainability science and transdisciplinarity. I am following the IHDP (Berlin Conferences since 2001) and the ESG project since its beginning. I participated in nearly all ESG conferences; usually with presentation). I try to follow the developments within the ESG and the transdisciplinarity and sustainability science discourse in many other conferences, but EGS is my cognitive and emotional ‘home’. In 2017, I could publish an article within the ESG harvesting initiative for the ESG Task Force Conceptual Foundation.

As ESG research fellow, I gave comments in the developing of the new science plan and act as reviewer of ESG conference abstracts. I am seeking a closer interaction and exchange with an international community devoted to Global Governance, research partnership and transcultural studies. I hope to further strengthen my network and forge friendships within a sustainability oriented research community.

Latest publications

  • Ott Cordula. 2019. Reflection on Responsible Innovation in Earth System Governance. Abstract presented: 2019 Mexico Conference on Earth System – Urgent Transformations and Earth System Governance: Towards Sustainability and Justice, Oaxaca, Mexico, November 8–10
  • GSDR 2019/UN Sustainable Development Report 2019: The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development. (Contributing author). Cordula Ott. 2019. Nachhaltigkeitswissenschaft/Nachhaltigkeitsgouvernanz. In: Nachhaltigkeit interdisziplinär. Konzepte und Diskurse nachhaltiger Zukunftsgestaltung in Medien, Politik und Fachdisziplinen. Ein Kompendium, hg. v. Ursula Kluwick u. Evi Zemanek, in der UTB-Lehrbuch Nr. 5227, Böhlau.
  • Bergöö, Michael; Ebneter, Laura Isabella; Bader, Christoph; Ott, Cordula; Breu, Thomas (2019). Über Silos hinweg kohärente Politik gestalten. Die Bedeutung von Wechselwirkungen zwischen den SDGs für eine weitsichtige Nachhaltigkeitspolitik der Schweiz Policy Brief. Zürich, Schweiz: Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Switzerland; SDSN Switzerland. (also available in French, English)
  • Oberlack, C; Breu, T, M; Giger, M; Harari, N; Herweg, KG; Mathez-Stiefel, S; Messerli, P; Moser, S; Ott, C; Providoli, I; Tribaldos, TM; Zimmermann, A; Schneider, F (2019). Theories of change in sustainability science: Understanding how change happens. GAIA – Ökologische Perspektiven für Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft / ecological perspectives for science and society 28(2), pp. 106-111. Oekom Verlag
  • Cordula Ott (2017). Enabling Transformative Research: Lessons from the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (1999–2015). Challenges in Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 15–23. DOI: 10.12924/cis2017.05010015 / ISSN: 2297–6477
  • Ott, Cordula; Kiteme, Boniface (2016). Concepts and practices for the democratisation of knowledge generation in research partnerships for sustainable development. Evidence and Policy, 12(3), pp. 405-430. Policy Press 10.1332/174426416X14700793045951


Related people