Prof. Ortwin RENN


Ortwin Renn directs the International Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam (Germany) since February 2016. He continues to serve as acting chair of the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at the University of Stuttgart (ZIRIUS) and as scientific director of the non-profit company DIALOGIK, a research institute for the investigation of communication and participation processes. Renn is Adjunct Professor for “Integrated Risk Analysis” at Stavanger University (Norway) and Affiliate Professor for “Risk Governance” at Beijing Normal University.

Ortwin Renn has a doctoral degree in social psychology from the University of Cologne. His career included teaching and research positions at the Juelich Nuclear Research Center, Clark University (Worcester, USA), the Swiss Institute of Technology (Zuerich) and the Center of Technology Assessment (Stuttgart). At present he is a member of the Scientific and Technical Council of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) in Lausanne, the National Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China and the State Sustainability Council in his home state Baden-Württemberg. In the past he served on the panel on “Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making” of the U.S.-National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. (from 2005-2007), on the German Federal Government’s “Commission on Energy Ethics after Fukushima” (2011) and from 21012 to 2014 on the Scientific Advisory Board of EU President Barroso. He is a member of the Senate of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (Berlin) and of the Board of Directors of the German National Academy of Technology and Engineering (Acatech). In 2012 he was elected President of the International Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) for the 2013-2014 term.

His honours include an honorary doctorate from the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), an honorary affiliate professorship at the Technical University Munich, the “Distinguished Achievement Award” of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) and several best publication awards. In 2012 the German Federal Government awarded him the National Cross of Merit Order in recognition of his outstanding academic performance. Renn is primarily interested in risk governance, political participation as well as technical and social change towards sustainability. Renn has published more than 30 books and 250 articles, most prominently the monograph “Risk Governance” (Earthscan: London 2008).


Global Contract for Sustainability (GCS):

  • Global Soil Forum
  • Ocean Governance
  • Transdisciplinary Panel on Energy Change (TPEC)
  • Closed Cycles, Open Cities
  • Demographic shrinking and infrastructures
  • NIMBY – A Syndrome of the German Energy Transition
  • The role of narratives and models for transformation processes
  • Transformation Governance (TransGov) – completed
  • Cultures of Economics – Cultures of Sustainability
  • Cultural Prerequisites for Sustainable Development: Latin American Experiences
  • Ecological Economics of Payments for Ecosystem Services
  • Sustainable Global Financial System
  • Sustainable Development Goals

Earth Energy and the Environment (E³):

  • Long-distance energy transport through superconducting electric lines
  • Advanced concepts of concentrating solar energy systems
  • Combustion of methane without CO2 emissions
  • Recovery of CO2 for the production of methanol
  • Role and potential of unconventional gas

Sustainable Interactions with the Atmosphere (SIWA):

  • The chemistry of short-lived climate-forcing pollutants
  • Short-lived climate-forcing pollutants: Research Needs and Pathways to Policy Implementation
  • A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley
  • The Interdisciplinary Microcosm
  • EuTRACE – European Transdisciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering
  • Investigation and Assessment of Geo-Engineering Approaches which influence the Composition of the Atmosphere
  • CEMICS (Contextualizing Climate Engineering and Mitigation: Illusion, Complement or Substitute?)
  • Environmental Law and Institutions with the Focus on Air and Sea (ELIAS)
  • Sustainable Modes of Arctic Resource-driven Transformations – SMART (in cross-Cluster cooperation with GCS)

Enabling Technologies for Sustainability (ETS):

  • Sustainable ICT Solutions
  • CO2 as an asset (CCU) – potentials and challenges for society

My Research Projects on our website

Project leader of:

My Reviewed Papers on our website