European FEdA-Conference Statement

“Designing the European Research Landscape to Reverse the Trend in Biodiversity Loss and to Achieve Sustainability”

The major global challenge for humankind is to achieve a system transformation towards sustainability in all of its three dimensions: “Prosperity” (economic issues), “People” (social issues) and “Planet” (environmental issues). Only if we resolve the conflicting goals of economic prosperity, peaceful coexistence and the preservation of nature, it will be possible to stop the loss of biodiversity, as well as climate change and environmental pollution and thus to safeguard human well-being.

The complexity of addressing this global challenge is well illustrated by the difficult and protracted negotiations of the various UN Conferences of the Parties on climate change and on biodiversity. As IPBES (Annex II to decision IPBES-8/1, 2021) rightly points out: “transformative change for nature and people presents specific challenges as it involves the consideration of science-based and indigenous and local knowledge-based understandings of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, together with normative ethics, different worldviews and collective values about visions of a sustainable future.” Moreover, the required transformative change needs to cover and consider all spatial scales, from local to global, as well as all temporal scales, from short-term (<decades) to long-term (>100 years).

The science and funding landscape must also align itself with this transformative change and undergo a corresponding transformation itself to overcome its strong disciplinary tradition. This necessity is well reflected by Albert Einstein’s famous statement:

“You can never solve problems with the same way of thinking that created them.”

It is precisely here, in the development of new planetary thinking (as outlined for instance by Dipesh Chakrabarthy, 2021) and of options for integrative sustainable system pathways (in the sense of IPBES, see above), where there is the mega-challenge for science today. To meet this mega-challenge, we need a major transformation of the traditional sustainability research design and research funding to foster new thinking and approaches. More specifically, the European Green Deal and the efforts to implement the European Biodiversity Strategy and to achieve the UN SDGs should be accompanied by a re-design of the European and national research landscape which complements the classical (and still necessary and relevant) disciplinary and interdisciplinary research concepts with

A) national and European research programs which foster transdisciplinary, systemic (i.e. nexus-oriented) and transformative research on

  • planetary thinking, including global justice and stewardship, and consequent holistic approaches ranging from the micro- to the macroscale
  • analysis and modelling of complex social-ecological systems, based on planetary thinking,
  • options for synergistic sustainable system solutions based on planetary thinking,

B) funding and evaluation schemes adequate for transformative transdisciplinary research, including long-term studies and strong partnerships with relevant stakeholders, reinforcing the sustainability goals,

C) transdisciplinary and systemic education, training and PhD-programs preparing for and promoting planetary thinking and transdisciplinary systemic sustainability and transformative research,

D) broad research initiatives to explore and harness the potential of digitalization, open science and advanced data science and technologies to develop options for integrative system solutions for sustainability and corresponding transformation pathways (see UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science, 2021),

E) innovative dialog formats between science, policy and administration, the private sector, and the general public to initiate societal negotiation processes in contentious decision-making situations, beyond sudden crises such as the Covid19-pandemic,

F) “governance experiments” that allow testing different sets of regulations at landscape scales, accompanied by transdisciplinary systemic sustainability and transformation research.

Based on these ideas we propose national and European transdisciplinary workshops (i.e. including stakeholders) to explore options for adapting the funding and research landscape toward promoting and strengthening planetary thinking, transdisciplinary and systemic sustainability and transformation research, and supporting local to global system transformation to sustainability for the future that we want and need. These workshops should also help to further develop a fair research environment for researchers.

Adopted at the European FEdA-Conference “Biodiversity and Human Well-Being – Europe’s Role in Shaping our Future” on November 11, 2022.


Volker Mosbrugger Former Director General of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research / Spokesman of FEdA
Julian TaffnerHead of the Central Coordination Office of FEdA
Philipp SprengerCentral Coordination Office FEdA
Julia Heinz Hochschule Osnabrück / Wuppertal Institut
Josef SetteleHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Iris WeicheMinistry for Rural Development BW
Johanna BergerBioDivKultur, TU Darmstadt
Janina KleemannMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Institut für Geowissenschaften und Geographie, Fachgebiet Nachhaltige Landschaftsentwicklung
Margarita HartliebBioDivKultur, TU Darmstadt
Birte HauserSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Jody H. VogesMuseum für Naturkunde, Berlin
Khalil AliThe Urban Unit, Lahore
Jan EberhardtSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Sonja N. K. Daum BiodivKultur, TU Darmstadt (Philosophie)
Anita KirmerHochschule Anhalt
Gitte KraghAarhus University / NORDECO
Aidin NiamirSenckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Institute
Thomas JahnISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Nicole NöskeLeibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
Dirk SteinkeUniversity of Guelph
Angelika BrandtSenckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt
Julian WendlerTechnische Universität Dresden
Berta Martin-LopezLeuphana University
Gisela WachingerDialogik gemeinnützige GmbH
Patrycja RomaniukGraduate School for Social Research of Polish Academy of Sciences
Maria KerneckerLeibniz Centre for Agricultural Research
Andre LindnerTU Dresden, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Asimina SkouteriHellenic Agricultural Organization - Dimitra
Nikolas LioupisUniversity of Ioannina
Edwin OgarWise Administration of Terrestrial Environment and Resources
Worthy Association for Tackling Environmental Ruins
Marc DeconchatINRAE-Dynafor
Holger PabstInstitut für ländliche Strukturforschung, Frankfurt a. Main
Tobias PlieningerUniversity of Kassel and University of Göttingen
Karsten GrunewaldLeibniz-Institut für ökologische Raumentwicklung (IÖR)
Simone MarkoffUniversity of Basel
Marina MoserUniversität Hohenheim
Yu-Shan Lin FeuerTU Dresden
Heba ElsalahyLeibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Vladimir GrossCentral Coordination Office FEdA
Floriane ClementINRAE
Birgit GemeinholzerUniversity Kassel
Amibeth ThompsonUniversity Freiburg
Peter ManningUniversity of Bergen
Patrick TrötschlerLake Constance Foundation
Sarah Veltenadelphi research gGmbh
Twan StoffersWageningen University & Research
Cornelia KrugUniversität Zürich
Christian SchleyerUniversity of Kassel / University of Innsbruck / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Diana HummelISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Jenni LehtimäkiFinnish Environment Institute
Alexandra LuxISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Stefan LiehrISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research
Malwina SchafftLeibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB)
Flurina SchneiderISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Sophie TudgeUniversity of Surrey
Brigitte BraschlerUniversität Basel
Bina PerlSenckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Frankfurt (Main)
Julia IntemannSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Nadja SimonsBioDivKultur, TU Darmstadt
Susanne HenneManager One Health Research Centre (OHRC), Universität Greifswald
Luigi de GaudenziSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Ulrike DammSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Patrick MäderTechnische Universität Ilmenau
Christian ReichelMuseum für Naturkunde Berlin - Netzwerk Naturwissen
Henrik KrehenwinkelTrier University
Jörg OvermannLeibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von MIkroorganismen und Zellkulturen
Moritz SonnewaldSenckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt, Germany
Diana BowlerUK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Nico EisenhauerGerman Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Leipzig University
Peter GrobeLeibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
Péter BatáryCentre for Ecological Research, Hungary
Kai NeumannConsideo
Fatima Lehnhardt-LambarraaLeibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Martin WiemersSenckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut
Karsten RinkeHelmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, Department Seenforschung
Genevieve WaltherTU Darmstadt, BioDivKultur
Gregor ScheiffarthNationalparkverwaltung Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer
Katrin Böhning-GaeseSenckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre / Goethe University Frankfurt
Anita KirmerHochschule Anhalt
Hans Jürgen HahnUniversität Koblenz-Landau
Antoine GuisanUniversity of Lausanne
Lydia BeuckSenckenberg – Leibniz Institution for Biodiversity and Earth System Research
Sven BacherUniversity of Fribourg
Helge BruelheideMartin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute of Biology and Botanical Garden
Christian WirthGerman Centre or Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Leipzig University
Jonas ZimmermannFreie Universität Berlin, Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin
Maria J. SantosUniversity of Zurich
Vera SchreinerMartin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
Sascha NickEPFL
Alexandra-Maria KleinUniversity of Freiburg
Franz EsslUniversity Vienna
Marion MehringISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Germany
Bernd Hansjürgens Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ
Anna CordECO²SCAPE, Chair of Computational Landscape Ecology, TU Dresden
Claudia Pahl-Wostl Osnabrück University, Institute of Geography and Institute of Environmental Systems Research
Franziska TannebergerGreifswald University / Greifswald Mire Centre
Katrin VohlandNaturhistorisches Museum Wien
Tino DegenhardtKarlsruher Institute of Technology
Christian HofTechnical University of Munich
Thomas SattlerSwiss Ornithological Institute
Nina FarwigUniversity of Marburg
Christian RistokGerman Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Leipzig University
Johannes MekaSenckenberg Society for Nature Research
Henny-C. GreweHochschule Anhalt
André MascarenhasUniversität Stuttgart
Christine FürstMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Eva SpehnSwiss Biodiversity Forum, SCNAT
Julia OstermanUniversity of Freiburg
Raphaël ArlettazConservation Biology Department – University of Bern, Switzerland
Georg NiedristUniversity of Innsbruck
Sara LeonhardtTechnical University of Munich
Thomas DrapelaForschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau FiBL Österreich
Aletta BonnHelmholtz Center for Environmental Research- UFZ/ German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) / FSU Jena
Oliver PintoOpintO Inc.
Monika EgererTechnische Universität München
Georg ZizkaSenckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt and Goethe University
Matthias BraunBund für Umwelt und Naturschutz
Andreas BruderUniversity of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland
Matthias VögeliSwiss Ornithological Institute
Brigitte MartinBUND Darmstadt
Matthias TschumiSwiss Ornithological Institute
Tobias Papegrünweg - Projektmanagement & Beratung
Sonja JähnigLeibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB) & Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Tim NattkemperBielefeld University
Desiree JakubkaFriedrich Schiller Universität Jena
Jörg FreyhofMuseum für Naturkunde
Rüdiger GrebeWanderbeauftragter der Stadt Bad Berleburg
Michael WeberSanobis GmbH
Benjamin BurkhardLeibniz University Hannover
Greta TheilenUniversität Rostock
Lennart SteinGreifswald University / Project HoMaBiLe
Lisanne HöltingTU Dresden
Stefan WötzelSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Anne FindeisenIdentMe GmbH
Christian RixenWSL
Barbara EbertGerman Federation for Biological Data
Aji SuhartoyoNicolas Copernicus University
Martin SchlaepferUniversity of Geneva, Switzerland
Aletta BonnHelmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ / Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv)
Carola GreveSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Stephanie JahnHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig
Angela TurckUniversity of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg - International Center for Sustainable Development
Julian Richard MassenbergHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Ioana Alexandra Patru-DuseLeuphana University
Anneke BeylichIFAB Institut für Angewandte Bodenbiologie GmbH
Rosa HildebrandtTeichLausitz, Internationales Hochschulinstitut (IHI) Zittau, TU Dresen
Kathrin JanuschkeUniversity of Duisburg-Essen
Daniel MüllerLeibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)
Thomas RoedlTU Munich
Stefanie von FumettiUniversity of Basel/Department of Environmental Sciences
Victoria GrießmeierSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Mechthilde FalkenhahnSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Carsten NowakSenckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Christian K. FeldUniversity of Duisburg-Essen
Tobias SchulzSwiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (WSL)
Tanja StrakaTechnische Universität Berlin
Doreen BabinJulius Kühn Institute
Laila RiesStaatsbetrieb Sachsenforst, Biosphärenreservatsverwaltung Oberlausitzer Heide- und Teichlandschaft
Finn RehlingUniversity of Freiburg
Eva RahnerLeibniz Research Network Biodiversity / Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research