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Julia Tschersich is Junior Assistant Professor of Environmental Governance and Transformations at the Copernicus Institute at Utrecht University. Her main research interests include social-ecological transformation, food and environmental governance, ecological democracy and Seed Commons. She is passionate about better understanding the interplay of governance levels and scales in processes of social-ecological transformations, and ways to co-create more empowering structures to enhance democracy and justice in the governance of agri-food transitions. Moreover, Julia is teaching in the European CHARM-EU Master on Global Challenges for Sustainability as Utrecht facilitator for the food theme & co-coordinator of the Capstone project.

Julia Tschersich obtained her cumulative PhD in the transdisciplinary research project RightSeeds at the University of Oldenburg. Her dissertation examined how Seed Commons initiatives are affected by the complex Multi-Level Governance system around plant genetic resources, biodiversity, intellectual property rights and seed legislation in Germany and the Philippines, and on the global level. Moreover, she analyzed how these seed initiatives as ‘real utopias’ on the ground contribute to creating empowering institutions for a social-ecological transformation of agri-food systems.

During her PhD, she completed a research stay at the University of California, Santa Cruz, at the Environmental Studies Department. Previously, she obtained a Master degree in ‘Sustainability Economics and Management’ at the University of Oldenburg and a Bachelor degree in ‘International Relations’ at the Technical University of Dresden.

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Selected Publications:

Hebinck, A., Klerkx, L., Elzen, B., Kok, K. P. W., König, B., Schiller, K., Tschersich, J., van Mierlo, B., & von Wirth, T. (2021). Beyond food for thought – Directing sustainability transitions research to address fundamental change in agri-food systems. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, S2210422421000782.

Tschersich, J. (2021). Norm conflicts as governance challenges for Seed Commons: Comparing cases from Germany and the Philippines. Earth System Governance, 7, 100097.

Tschersich, J. (2021). Seed Commons in the Multi-Level Governance Regime: Creating Empowering Institutions for a Social-Ecological Transformation of Agri-Food Systems. Dissertation at the University of Oldenburg for attainment of Doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences.

Sievers-Glotzbach, S., Tschersich, J., Gmeiner, N., Kliem, L., & Ficiciyan, A. (2020). Diverse Seeds – Shared Practices: Conceptualizing Seed Commons. International Journal of the Commons, 14(1), 418–438. DOI:

Sievers-Glotzbach, S.; Euler, J.; Frison, C.; Kliem, L.; Mazé, A. & J. Tschersich (2020): Beyond the material: knowledge aspects in seed commoning. Agriculture and Human Values (2020).

Sievers-Glotzbach, S. & J. Tschersich (2019): Overcoming the process-structure divide in conceptions of social-ecological transformation: Assessing the transformative character and impact of change processes. Ecological Economics 164.


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