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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-11-01 - 2021-10-31

In February 2018, almost one million German metal industry workers won the right to reduce their working week from the standard 35 hours to 28 hours for up to two years. The employees involved work for companies such as Bosch and Daimler, whose actions are widely followed across the whole economy, thus raising the possibility that shorter working weeks will spread to other firms, sectors and countries. This development is of great interest, as it connects three important issues: (1) the future of work in a world transformed by automation, (2) changing lifestyles in contexts where economic security and basic needs are satisfied, and (3) a new approach to sustainability, given the inadequacy of traditional technology-biased measures to mitigate catastrophic climate change. Ecological economists have long speculated about the potential of a reduction of working hours to lower time pressure for individuals, decrease unemployment, and energy use and emissions due to less mobility and less consumption. Despite sustained media attention, there is little empirical research on the aspirations and practices of those voluntarily reducing their paid working time, as well as the implications for everyday life, mobility and consumption. For example, does the availability of more free time translate into a larger carbon footprint due to more leisure-related driving and flying? Within this project, we investigate actual changes in the lives of people who participate in the recently implemented German working time scheme, using a multi-methods approach to study two main questions: Firstly, we aim to understand what it takes for individuals to reduce their working time, taking into account motivations, actions and barriers. For this purpose, we conduct an online survey and several focus group discussions with scheme participants who choose shorter working hours, in order to identify their common characteristics and aspirations, as well as their motivations for joining the scheme. Upon this basis, we determine which aspects of working time reductions are socially attractive, gaining insights on how it could be popularised. Secondly, we want to know if working time reductions influence mobility patterns, energy consumption and therefore emissions associated with everyday life of the participating households. For this purpose, we empirically observe changes in scheme participants’ energy consumption due to reductions in working hours. We use expenditure statistics for a top-down estimation and our survey for a bottom-up estimation of relevant changes of consumption patterns. Utilizing household budget surveys and multi-regional, environmentally-extended input-output analysis, we quantify the global energy and emissions footprints of household consumption. In essence, we aim to determine under which conditions working time reductions are socially and environmentally beneficial and how they can be leveraged to increase the social and environmental potentials of WTR. Throughout the analysis of both aspirations and actual changes to consumption and energy footprints, we pay special attention to paid work in structuring everyday life and the role of mobility in lifestyle decisions. Whether mobility-related considerations influence working time decisions and how they matter for energy implications will provide useful insights for a new vision of sustainable prosperity.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-05-01 - 2021-07-31

Co-creation practice – and co-creation research – are at a crossroads: More than ever, initiatives to boost innovation through collaboration among diverse actors are flourishing across Europe. Yet, this mainstreaming poses new challenges to better understand “co-creation processes and outcomes under various cultural, societal and regulatory backgrounds to allow better-targeted policy support” (SwafS-13-17). To date, no systematic studies exist that detail how co-creation instruments operate under different socio-cultural conditions, i.e. if “best practices” will be effective elsewhere or if the resulting products and services are compatible with new markets. SCALINGS addresses the challenge of mainstreaming co-creation across a diverse Europe head-on: In the first ever rigorous comparative study, we will investigate the implementation, uptake, and outcomes of three co-creation instruments (public procurement of innovation, co-creation facilities, and living labs) in two technical domains (robotics and urban energy) across 10 countries. Using comparative case studies and coordinated cross-country experiments, we explore if and how these instruments can be generalized, transferred, or scaled up to new socio-cultural, economic, or institutional conditions to unleash their innovative power. Based on this unique data set, we will develop two new transformative frameworks – “situated co-creation” and “socially robust scaling” – to guide the wider dissemination of co-creation. We will synthesize our findings into an “EU Policy Roadmap” to support ongoing EU innovation policy efforts. Empirically, SCALINGS is closely integrated with over two dozen European co-creation initiatives that deal with cross-cultural transferability on a daily basis. Together with these partners, we will co-create enhanced practices that feed directly back into their work and strategy. Finally, we will launch a training program (“boot camp”) on co-creation in diverse settings for other EU consortia.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-05-01 - 2022-04-30

Besides more and larger forest reserves, biodiversity conservation goals in European forests (BAFU, 2013b; EC, 2011) also require the integration of nature conservation into the management of forests for commodity production (Kraus and Krumm, 2013). Currently, however, such policy integration is hampered: i.e. policies are often not formulated explicitly enough (Winkel and Sotirov, 2016), they are not sufficiently based on findings of conservation science (Winter et al., 2014) and implementing agencies at lower levels are reluctant to accept objectives imposed from above (Treby et al., 2014) or lack capacity (Maier and Winkel, 2017). The main objective of present research proposal is to assess the potential effectiveness of policies concerning integrated nature protection in managed forests and to establish how these policies are dependent on actor constellations (including the science-policy interface) as well as decentralization. To measure our dependent concept, potential regulatory effectiveness, we will assess the content of recent regulation addressing important aspects of integrated nature conservation in managed forests (o.a. dead-wood, habitat trees, old-growth islands) and judge its potential effectiveness based on criteria of policy design (e.g. promising combinations of compulsory and voluntary instruments, the degree of financial compensation etc.). Our explanatory concepts (actor constellations, the science policy interface, decentralization) we will derive from document analysis and qualitative interviews as well as a standardized social network survey among the previously identified main actors. As such the study will add to the growing body of evidence about the importance of actor constellations and the science policy interface on environmental and resource conservation policy outputs. This evidence is based on systematic comparative research based on sub-national units, which is almost lacking in the field of forest policy and nature conservation (Geitzenauer et al. 2016). Maria Geitzenauer, Karl Hogl, Gerhard Weiss (2016): The Implementation of Natura 2000 in Austria – A European policy in a federal system. Land Use Policy, Volume 52, March 2016, Pages 120-135.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations