The research area "Environmental and Societal Change" focuses on transformation processes arising in connection with environmental challenges and associated societal changes, especially in relation to air quality, the ocean, and the Arctic. Questions asked include: What can policy contribute to more sustainable outcomes? What gaps and challenges are there in current approaches or practices, and how can these be addressed? How can science support policymaking and action for sustainable development through co-creative research? The research groups within this area employ a transdisciplinary and transformative approach in which the research is developed and conducted in cooperation with partners from academia, government, civil society, and the private sector. The researchers support and cooperate with these partners and reflect critically on transdisciplinary practice and, in doing so, contribute to both transformation research and transformative research.
All groups incorporate a wide range of disciplines and expertise to contribute to policymaking and the shaping of governance systems and structures, as well as providing input on the necessary systems knowledge. Working closely with decision-makers and societal actors, the research group on "Ocean Governance" analyses pressing problems for ocean sustainability and develops new approaches to improve the conservation and the sustainable use of the ocean. The "Arctic Governance" research group cooperates with Indigenous rights holders and stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the socio-cultural, political, economic, and ecological changes affecting the Arctic and contribute to sustainable solutions. In the group "Air Quality, Mobility, and Health", researchers study the links and interactions between air quality, mobility policy, and the implications for exposure and health with a focus on urban areas. The group " Extreme Air Pollution - The South Asian Hotspot" aims to develop effective measures to improve air quality in South Asia with a focus on Nepal. The research group "Air Quality Modelling for Policy Advice" performs numerical simulations of air quality and its impacts at scales ranging from global to urban in support of clean air governance. The overall complementarity in the topics fosters collaboration and allows for mutual learning across governance levels and policy processes for effective transdisciplinary approaches.