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Task Force on Knowledge Cumulation


The Earth System Governance ‘Taskforce on Knowledge Cumulation’ seeks to bring together scholars that share a common interest in making ESG research – and environmental governance research more broadly – more cumulative. Valuing the diversity of research strands and epistemologies within the community, the Taskforce aims to foster collaboration on shared research agendas, theoretical approaches, frameworks, methods, and datasets.

The Taskforce will establish a forum for open and constructive debate and action on issues including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Epistemological foundations of knowledge cumulation: To what extent is it possible and desirable to cumulate in a field as diverse and interdisciplinary as ESG?
  • Diagnosis: In what ways is ESG research already cumulative in the sense of jointly used concepts, frameworks and datasets? What comparative research, systematic reviews and meta-analyses exist? Which research findings are in fact (not) taken up by policymakers, and why (not)?
  • Shared concepts: How can we develop and use widely shared core terminology that is nonetheless open to reinterpretations and novel concepts?
  • Open Science: How can we encourage the development and use of shared and compatible datasets?
  • Content: What are the topics and research questions in the ESG field where knowledge cumulation would be particularly fruitful regarding scientific progress and/or impact on policy and governance?
  • No universal laws: How can we systematically recognise and assess the institutional, political and social context of governance interventions to conduct sound comparative research and meta-analyses as well as reveal general patterns and trends that nonetheless vary by context?
  • Build stronger institutions: How can we co-ordinate collaborations such as common dictionaries or shared databases? How could the ESG community influence the policies of journals and funding agencies to incentivise research activities explicitly aiming at cumulation?

Envisioned products and activities may include:

  • Special issues or edited volumes, international lecture series, and/or sessions at international conferences, to kick off a broader debate on the issue of knowledge cumulation; to work on specific research questions on which to cumulate available knowledge, and/or to present results or methods of cumulative research.
  • Developing joint research proposals.
  • Developing infrastructures for knowledge cumulation, such as wikis, frameworks, etc.


The Taskforce was launched at the Taskforce and Meeting Day of the Earth System Governance Conference in September 2021 in Bratislava. It welcomes everyone who is interested in joining this exciting endeavor!


Taskforce Convenors

  • Jens Newig, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany. Email:
  • Michael Rose, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany. Email:


Steering Committee:

  • Jens Newig, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany. Email:
  • Michael Rose, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany. Email:
  • Chandra Sekhar Bahinipati, Indian institute of Technology Tirupati
  • Thomas Bolognesi, Université of Geneva
  • Dave Huitema, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Mariana Lyra, São Paulo State University
  • Navam Niles, CEPA



  • Zuhre Aksoy, Bogazici University
  • Klaus Eisenack, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Oliver Fritsch, Murdoch University
  • Mariana Galvao Lyra, LUT Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • Dries Hegger, Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development
  • Benjamin Hofmann, Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • Karin Ingold, University of Bern, Eawag Dübendorf
  • Nicolas Jager, Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
  • Sina Leipold, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • Björn-Ola Linnér, Linköping Unviersity
  • Praneeta Mudaliar, Ithaca College
  • Jens Newig, Leuphana University Lüneburg
  • Åsa Persson, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Jonathan Pickering, University of Canberra
  • Michael Rose, Leuphana University Lüneburg
  • Hens Runhaar, Utrecht University and Wageningen University
  • Machteld Simoens, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg
  • Bob Webb, Australian National University
  • Richard Forrest, Hiroshima University of Economics
  • Sean Gordon, Oregon State University
  •  Kaisa Korhonen-Kuri, Finnish Environment Institute
  • Anran Luo, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
  • Christoph Oberlack, University of Bern

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