Knowledge for the Transformation

The transformation to a sustainable, low-carbon and resource-light society is an open search process. Research and education are key. 

Science has the task to work with policy makers, business and society as a whole to develop visions and paths for development. It also needs to support and create sustainable technical and social innovations. Education improves our understanding of the problems, aids systemic thinking, provides required skills and can help us find guidance in complex processes of transformation.

We are living in a knowledge society. Modern life is inconceivable without science. Technological progress has become as natural to us as using science to grasp hard-to-see environmental problems such as climate change.

Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda
To find knowledge on systems, transformations and valid goals a change of perspective can be enough: A birds-eye view of the high country near Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda. A new model of sustainable tourism is being explored here. Photo: Jiro Ose / Redux / laif

The way we do science has significant impacts on our understanding of progress and our approach towards great ecological and societal challenges. Scientific processes are of tremendous relevance to modern knowledge societies. 

Orientation in complex processes of transformation

How we deal with societal transformations such as moving towards sustainable development is of special importance. These are fundamental changes to our technological basis, our economic processes as well as their societal and cultural foundations. Such dramatic changes need a special "transformative literacy", the ability to find orientation in complex if not chaotic revolutions. Such a literacy will have technological, economic, institutional and cultural elements. 

Enabling such literacy is a tremendous challenge to research and education; the Wuppertal Institute is working to do its part. Transdisciplinary research that does not only integrate knowledge from various disciplines but actively draws on the knowledge of practitioners can be one approach. 

Real-world laboratories, especially living labs, are another important approach of the Wuppertal Institute in understanding and managing complex processes of change together with practitioners. Skills in actually implementing transformation become a part of scientific practice. Our real-world and living labs are located in Wuppertal, other nearby cities and within European consortiums.


Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind

Tel.: +49 202 2492-100

Fax: +49 202 2492-108

Education for Sustainable Development means empowering people and society to competently orientate themselves within complex transformation processes and to shape changes and perfectly fitting sustainability solutions that are suitable for daily use in real life laboratories.

Dr. Carolin Baedeker


In the field of science and education and within the context of sustainability, the Wuppertal Institute deals with system challenges on all levels of the science and education sector:

    Education for Sustainable Development
    Science in Transition


Here you find up-to-date information about research findings and publications in the field of science & education.


The focus of research projects in the field of science & education lies on the mutual learning process. Here you find selected sample projects.