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Completed research programmsEnvironmental Policy

Completed research programs

Research Professorship
Environmental Policy

  Research Concept  

Work, technology, and the natural environment interact closely in many different ways. In principle, these interactions can be mutually beneficial; however, they also can be seriously detrimental to each other. By establishing a special research professorship, the WZB aims to improve the ability to identify these interactions and to learn how to manage them through environmentally sound and sustainable development of society.

Two strands of interactions are being studied in some detail. One concerns the influence that local, national, and international environmental policies have on the development and use of technology ("clean technology") and forms and content of work ("ecologically sound work"). The other strand involves detecting and investigating the environmental effects of pending or likely changes in the use of technology and labor deployment ("environmental damage or environmental relief").

This research approach demands a specific methodology by which the interlinkages of economy, technology, and ecology can be recognized. It requires a comprehensive policy analysis that integrates standard-setting (goals), regulation (instruments) and organization (institutions), taking into account various actors (individuals, non-governmental organizations, governments, and international institutions) and their interdependencies. Thus both the impacts of and the future design for modern society are being dealt with.

In actual research work, special attention is given to the international dimension of the aforementioned interactions because it seems that there are still major shortcomings in the internationalization of environmental policy and because far-reaching environmental effects, both positive and negative, are expected to result from the world’s ever wider use of technology and intensification of work. In that sense, the professorship conceives of social science research as a chance and an obligation to actively promote international communication on environmental issues.


Prof. Udo E. Simonis


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Last change: 2002-04-17 19:14