Social-ecological transformation network

The social-ecological transformation network was founded in April 2017. The aim of the network of scientists is to initiate and conduct relevant empirical-analytical and normative-strategic research in order to help shape the transformation of society that lies ahead. The challenges must be better understood (system knowledge), the question of the goal of development must be clarified (orientation knowledge) and research must be carried out into how such a change can be shaped (transformation knowledge).

It is important to communicate that transformation is already taking place today and will continue to take place: The network wants to make this visible and, in particular, to name cases and possibilities of socio-ecological transformations towards sustainability as well as to show possibilities for a socio-ecological design. Overall, the aim is to expand the scope for transformation; this includes: offering solutions that can also be implemented; Use niches if they contain options for sustainable solutions; to initiate media discourses in Austria etc.

The members of the network see themselves as part of their institutions and society and want to contribute to their shaping from there. The aim of the network is also to discuss the role of science in Austria, the independence of science, and the understanding of science and research in politics. In the field of transformation research, this role must be redefined and explicitly disclosed.

In the field of tension between science, politics and civil society, meetings with sounding boards from civil society, research sponsors and ministries take place in connection with the network meetings. This is about a trusting exchange that should make it possible to support each other in order to drive the change towards sustainability.

Following the network meeting in October 2017, the first public message was an open letter to Federal President Van der Bellen and the party leaders of the governing parties from the network.

The network has been a thematic working group of the CCCA (Climate Change Center Austria) since the beginning of 2018.


  • Co-speaker of the WG: Univ.-Prof. Marianne Penker (BOKU)
  • Co-speaker: Univ.-Prof. Ulrich Brand (University of Vienna)