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Research Centre Oldenburg

The Earth System Governance Research Centre Oldenburg at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Germany, is committed to contribute to the implementation of the Earth System Governance Project as part of the global alliance of Earth System Governance Research Centres.

Oldenburg offers students an interdisciplinary Sustainability Economics and Management (SEM) Master´s programme. The SEM aims towards training future leaders to enable them to effectively address pressing problems such as global warming, loss of biodiversity, diseases or poverty by imparting economic knowledge and a well founded combination of expertise in ecological and social issues, as well as a sense of responsibility. It provides graduates with factual knowledge in their main subjects, as well as the analytical, interdisciplinary and social skills to prepare them for work in businesses, NGOs, government agencies or international organisations.

Since 2006, the Oldenburg Centre for Sustainability Economics and Management (CENTOS) bundles the university´s research, teaching and consulting activities within the area of sustainability economics. Furthermore, CENTOS is part of the COAST Centre, which acts as a platform for all sustainability-related research and teaching activities at the University of Oldenburg. COAST pools the resources of scientists from a wide range of disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, geosciences, landscape ecology, information technology, social sciences, economics and law.

The Research Centre Oldenburg focuses on inter- and transdisciplinary research for governance and social learning and will therefore contribute research on the analytical problem of adaptiveness and the cross cutting theme of knowledge. Profound expertise was also acquired within earlier projects that have, among others, been concerned with social learning and sustainability.

The Research Centre Oldenburg is involved in several North-South collaborative research and exchange activities.


The Research Centre Oldenburg offers several seminars and lectures with regard to sustainability issues: International Sustainability Management, Practical Projects in Sustainability Economics and Management, International Environmental Governance, Ecological Economics, and Environmental and Sustainability Policy

International Sustainability Management: The module gives an overview of current sustainability strategies for companies and presents a variety of instruments to integrate and initiate sustainable development within corporations. It includes both theoretical approaches and basic concepts of corporate sustainability management as well as a variety of case studies and business cases to demonstrate different concepts and instruments of sustainability management.

Practical Projects in Sustainability Economics and Management: The module’s intention is to integrate current research activities of the University from the research areas of sustainability, economics and management into teaching activities. The Module gives students the possibility to actively participate in current research at the University of Oldenburg. The module’s seminars each year deal with different projects. This teaching concept addresses the interface between theory and application of scientific theories into research practice. Thus, this module also introduces research work at universities in general.

International Environmental Governance: The module gives an overview of terms, concepts and theories of international relations. Different actors will be introduced, and the question what international organisations and regimes as well as new forms of cooperation can contribute to solving environmental issues will be discussed.

Ecological Economics: The aim of the seminar is to introduce students to core concepts from the field of Ecological Economics. The students will be introduced to the specific vision and paradigms of Ecological Economics as distinguished from environmental & resource economics and to the history of ecological economics. Furthermore, the students work out and discuss the core analytical concepts (carrying capacity, entropy, ecosystem services, substitutability of natural capital, time) as well as the core normative concepts (human behaviour, justice) in Ecological Economics. Finally, the students will discuss and reflect certain policy implications following from Ecological Economics – including the steady state economy, the measurement of welfare and the potential of commons for providing ecosystem services.

Environmental and Sustainability Policy: The module gives an overview of national and European environmental and sustainability policy, its historical development, principles, instruments, actors and strategies.