We are a team of young, junior scientists who together want to critically examine the megatrend of digitalization. Our project is a cooperation between the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW); on the part of the TU Berlin, the project is headed by Tilman Santarius from the Department of Social-Ecological Transformation with the participation of the Center for Technology and Society (ZTG) and the Einstein Center Digital Future.
Prof. Dr. Tilman Santarius
Head of Research Group
In my previous years at the Wuppertal Institute and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, I have focused on two megatrends: globalization and climate change. The central questions for me were how to shape world trade and climate policy in such a way that they contribute to more equity in the world. This concern is also reflected in my long-term voluntary work in civil society, for example for Germanwatch and Greenpeace. During my doctoral thesis at the University of Kassel, I dealt with the rebound effect and concepts for the transition to a post-growth society.With this research project, I am now transferring these findings to digitalization. Within the research group, I observe how digitalization influences social institutions and individual consumption patterns from a sociological perspective, and how this change in turn affects energy and resource consumption as well as the chances for sustainability transformation. The tending of my sheep, however, which I like to do at the weekend, still works completely analogously. You can find further information about me at www.santarius.de
Dr. Steffen Lange
Project management at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research
My work deals with ecological aspects such as energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions on a macroeconomic level. My work is guided by the question of how to make our economy environmentally sound, social, and democratic at the same time. For this purpose, I use theories and methods from environmental economics, ecological economics, growth economics and plural economics. In addition to science, I am involved in civil society with actors who are working on the implementation of a social-ecological economy – especially with Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie and Common Future. In the junior research group, I work on environmental-economics perspectives on the digitalization of the economy.
Dr. Vivian Frick
I work on the effects of digital environments on (non-)sustainable behavior. As an environmental and social psychologist at TU Berlin, I explore how different aspects of digitalization change human motivations and needs, values, and social norms. My current research interests lie in the areas of sufficiency and subsistence, socio-ecological transformation, and transdisciplinary research methods. Previously, I worked on sufficiency in the energy sector at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. I am active in Wandelwerk e.V. and the Bits & Bäume movement, as well as on the advisory board of the Initiative Psychologie im Umweltschutz (IPU) Schweiz.
Dr. Maike Gossen
My research aims ath the intersection of sustainability marketing and sustainable consumption. My interest in sustainability motivated me to complete anextra-occupational master’s programme in sustainability management after studying media science. Since then, I have been working as a researcher at IÖW, where I have conducted several research projects over the course of the last five years on sustainable consumption, digitalization, environmental awareness, sharing, sustainability awareness and youth-engagement. Digitalization has also made many things easier and more convenient in my everyday life – but when I go on holiday, I still prefer to travel in an old VW bus from the pre-internet days. In the research group, I am investigating sufficiency-promoting marketing strategies of companies.
As a researcher at the TU Berlin, I am involved in the ecological assessment of digital systems. I am an engineer for waste management / contaminated sites and studied at the TU Dresden and at the Dokuz Eylül Üniversitisi in Izmir, Turkey. During my studies, I worked for the Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) on basic energy supply in the Global South. I wrote my diploma thesis at the German Biomass Research Centre on ecological effects of heat supply in Germany. I spent a good part of the last years on train rides from Dresden all across Europe and back to Berlin. In the junior research group, I am doing research on ecological assessment methods of digitalization and calculate the ecological effects of the increasing digitalization of services.
I am a researcher at IÖW and as a sociologist of technology, I am particularly interested in the interplay between technical developments and societal processes of change. The topic of Smart Cities has been with me for a long time and in the last few years, I have dealt a lot with the digitalization of the energy system. Currently, in addition to networked living, I am increasingly concerned with the topic of “artificial intelligence” in all its ecological and social facets. I am particularly interested in negotiation processes between different groups of actors, questions of power and institutional change. I analyze how different groups of actors produce visions of the future with regards to the role of technology in social and individual life. To escape the constant digital seduction of my smartphone, I still prefer to read a book during my morning commute from Berlin’s greenest district to the city.
As a Sustainability Economist with a background in communication science, I seek to understand the effects of digitalization on our economy and communities. Furthermore, I am interested in how this societal change can be shaped to provide opportunities for sustainability – and not to destroy them. In the junior research group, I work as a research assistant at IÖW and support the group as a whole and the researchers individually in their scientific work, both in terms of content and organization. In addition to my professional activities, I am involved in netzwerk n for a sustainable transformation of the university sector. All these activities as well as my leisure time are characterized by digital services and communication technologies. Nevertheless, analog and material isles remain – whether it is handwritten letters, my stereo system with a 5-disc CD changer, or jumping into the cold water.
I support the researchers of the junior research group with my sociological perspective on technology development and digitalization as a student assistant. In addition to this work, I am studying technical Sociology at TU Berlin. The focus of my studies is the sociology of technology, organization and work. Previously, I was a tutor at TU Berlin, discussing social and ecological responsibility with engineering students in the seminar “Sociology of the Engineering Profession”. On a voluntary basis, I continue to be active in political youth education and support TU Berlin’s Sustainability Council. In my free time, I receive my vegetables in a very analogous way through solidarity-based agriculture.