We present the list of speakers with a short bio in alphabetical order to give you an overview about their individual field of scientific expertise.

Please, note that this section will be updated regularly!

Last update: 04.07.2018








Friedhelm von Blanckenburg

explores the geochemistry of the earth’s surface by isotope geochemical methods. He holds a degree in geology from TU Berlin, a PhD from ETH Zürich and held research posts at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Berne. He held a professorship in geochemistry at the University of Hanover and now at GFZ Potsdam and FU Berlin.
As one main tool he uses cosmogenic nuclides, these rare clocks of the earth surface that allow measuring the rates of landscape development. As second tool he uses mass spectrometry to resolve the small shifts in the relative abundances of the isotopes of metal and metalloid elements such as Li, Mg, Si and Sr. He track the massive biogeochemical fluxes at the earth’s surface – and follow them from the rock to soils and into plants, and from there into river water and eventually into the oceans.








Jean Braun

is a Senior Scientist at the GFZ (GeoForschungsZentrum) in Potsdam and Professor at the University of Potsdam. He has a background in Physics and Mathematics, which he applies to a broad range of subjects in the Earth Sciences. In recent years, he has specialized in the development of numerical models of surface processes, which are used in his newly created section at the GFZ (called “Earth Surface Processes Modeling”) to quantify the relationship between erosion, tectonics and climate. Prior to joining the GFZ in Potsdam, he has worked in many academic institutions in Belgium, France, Canada, Australia and the United States.








Fréderic Hanusch

holds a M.A. from Heidelberg University in political science, philosophy and sociology. From 2011-2015 he did his Dr. phil. as part of the research group „Democracy and Climate Change“ at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI). Besides, he worked from 2013-2016 at the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and was in 2014 a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto. In 2017, his book „Democracy and Climate Change“ was published in the Routledge Global Cooperation Series. His research at IASS focuses on a combination of democracy research and dynamics of global change in a project entitled “Democratic Anthropocene”.








Maik Heistermann

is with the Chair of Hydrology and Climatology at the University of Potsdam. As a geo-ecologist by training, he received his PhD in 2007 for investigating large scale impacts of environmental change on agricultural systems and water. After joining the University of Potsdam, his focus shifted to the investigation of extreme local rainfall events. In this field, he tries to promote open data and open source software, e.g. by co-leading the development of wradlib, an open source software library weather radar data processing. Rather as a hobby, he tends to question the usefulness of the Planetary Boundary framework.








Anne-Katrin Holfelder

joined the IASS in May 2017. Anne studied biology, chemistry, biochemistry and educational sciences at the Universities of Hamburg and Kiel from 2004 to 2011 and received her doctorate from the University of Hamburg in 2016. In her doctoral thesis she examined the significance of implicit knowledge for education for sustainable development. In the Futurisation-project at the IASS, she investigates what imaginations young people have regarding “future people”. Anne likes mountains and all kind of activities related to them (hiking and climbing) but also enjoys urban culture.








Hermann Lotze-Campen

Prof. Hermann Lotze-Campen studied Agricultural Sciences and Agricultural Economics in Germany, UK, and USA. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from HU Berlin. He is co-chair of Research Domain „Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities“, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), and Professor of Sustainable Land Use and Climate Change at HU Berlin. He is working on global land use modelling, climate impacts and adaptation in agriculture, multi-sector impact aggregation, and land-use-based mitigation. He is strongly involved in the Agricultural Model Intercomparison Project (AgMIP) and the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP).








Ira Matuschke

is an agricultural economist and joined the IASS in 2014. She is part of the research group which looks at the social sustainability of the German energy transition. Before joining the IASS, Ira worked in a number of international organizations. Among them are the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, Rome), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, Paris) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, Washington, DC and Addis Ababa). Ira holds a PhD (magna cum laude) in Agricultural Economics from the University of Hohenheim and an MA in Development Economics from the University of Sussex. She also studied Economics and Economic History at the University of Maastricht and the Australian National University.








Johannes Mueller

is a Professor of Paleo-Zoology at the Museum fuer Naturkunde and the Department of Biology at Humboldt-University Berlin. His research concentrates on fossil and extant terrestrial vertebrates, particularly lizards and snakes. He is especially interested in the underlying causes of evolutionary diversification, both at the toxic and morphological levels, for which he employs anatomical, paleontological, molecular, and ecological methods. Much of his fieldwork takes place in Africa, be it fossil prospecting and excavations or studies on extant species ecology and distribution. 3D visualisation and computed tomography (CT) are central to his morphological research, and he uses these techniques for both qualitative and quantitative studies.








Ilona Otto

Dr. habil. Ilona M. Otto holds an Earth Doc position within the Earth League Network. She is based at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany. She graduated PhD in resource economics at the Humboldt University in Berlin, where she also completed recently her habilitation (German academic post-doctoral qualifications). Ilona’s research interests include modeling social-ecological systems, social vulnerability to climate change, sustainability transformation, and non-linear social change processes. In her work she combines various data bases and research methods in analyzing problems related to global environment changes, development and inequalities. She publishes in leading scientific journals and she co-authored the “Turn Down the Heat” report series commissioned by the World Bank Group. Ilona regularly teaches Climate and Energy Management and Advanced Empirical Methods for Social-Ecological System Research at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Additionally, Ilona made two documentary movies about her work that were used in stakeholder engagement processes in Europe and China.








Peter-Paul Pichler

is deputy co-chair of research domain Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and a senior scientist in the social metabolism group. Paul’s background is in computer science and complex adaptive systems; he received his Diplom from the University of Ulm, Germany (Neuroinformatik) in 2005 and his PhD degree from the Adaptive Systems Research group at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, in 2009. His doctoral studies focused on how environmental constraints shape Darwinian evolution in computational ecosystems. Since he joined PIK in 2009, his main research interests lie on interactions in the evolution of social and natural systems (nature-society co-evolution) with a special focus on urban metabolism.








Alexander Popp

Dr. Alexander Popp is Senior Scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and leads a research group on land-use management. He is responsible for and coordinates the development of the global land-use model ‘Model of Agricultural Production and its Impacts on the Environment’ (MAgPIE). Alexander Popp has long-standing experience to work in an international and transdisciplinary environment. Hereby his research focuses on future land transformations, competition for land, food and water security, biodiversity, climate change impacts, land-based mitigation and climate policy. His scientific work has led to the publication of more than 80 peer reviewed articles. Alexander Popp contributed to the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), contributes to the IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5 ºC (SR1.5), is Lead Author for the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) as well as the upcoming 6th Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC. In addition, he co-chairs the Stanford Energy Modelling Forum on land-based mitigation (EMF33), co-ordinates the land-use assessment for the Shared-Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and is member of the expert group on global scenarios for The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). (https://www.pik-potsdam.de/members/popp)








Christian Reichel

is a Postdoctoral lecturer at the Institute for Social- and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universitaet Berlin. His background is in Environmental Anthropology and Human-Geography, and his work focuses on past and current human-nature relationships, ecosystem services, sustainable natural resource management, and community-based disaster risk management in the context of rapid environmental change. Reichel uses ethnographic and cartographic methods to examine social-ecological resilience and adaptive capacities in different social-ecological settings, mainly in agriculture- and fishery-dependent societies. He has worked extensively in coastal areas of Indonesia, and the German speaking alps and shortly in the Lake Victoria basin in Uganda. The thematic link between his focus on coastal areas as well as high mountain regions is the dependence of local societies on natural resources from especially vulnerable ecosystems that are undergoing drastic and destructive social-ecological change.








Ina Richter

is senior research associate at the IASS within the project Governance & Participation and a PhD-Candidate at the Environmental Policy Research Center of Free University Berlin. She is interested in meanings and practices of social and political participation in and for democratic sustainability transformations. Her thesis investigates decision-making processes from the comparative perspective of three local public administrations. Main questions are: How and why are local administrations organizing public participation? What does the current practice tell us about their role between the political and the public sphere? The focus is upon ‘urban mobility and transportation’, a policy field under severe pressure for change towards sustainability.
Ina Richter holds a master in German Studies, Sociology and the Science of Media and Communication from the University of Leipzig and Università degli Studi di Palermo. She has worked for various (inter)national organisations, including environmental NGOs, consulting and research institutes before joining the IASS in 2013.








Falk Schmidt

has been the head of Secretariat of the German Science Platform Sustainability 2030 since 2017. In the previous years, he has worked on transdisciplinarity and he served as academic officer of IASS Executive Director Klaus Töpfer. Falk studied philosophy, business and law at the Freie Universität Berlin and holds a PhD in political science.








Kathrin Stephen (née Keil)

is Scientific Project Leader at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany, where she leads the Arctic research project GloCAST (Global Change and Arctic Sustainable Transformations). GloCAST uses the Arctic as a prominent case to illustrate interrelations between global and regional change processes and between stakeholders from within and outside the Arctic. Kathrin received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin. She is Senior Fellow of The Arctic Institute – Center for Circumpolar Security Studies and part of the German observer delegation to the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council.








Martin H. Trauth

is an earth scientist with a first degree in geophysics and geology at the University of Karlsruhe. He received his doctorate in paleoceanography at University of Kiel, before he accepted a permanent position at the University of Potsdam in 1995. After his habilitation in Earth Sciences in 2003, he became a lecturer, and finally adjunct professor at the University of Potsdam in 2011. His research is on the paleoclimate dynamics of the lower latitudes, with special emphasis on the impact of environmental changes on the biosphere on various time scales. In addition to his research in South America and Africa, he is also known for his textbooks and shortcourses on data analysis in the earth sciences.








Helmuth Trischler

is head of research at the Deutsches Museum, Munich, professor of modern history at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, and director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. His main research interests are innovation cultures in international comparison; science, technology and European integration; and environmental history. He has conceptualized the world’s first major exhibition on the Anthropocene (Welcome to the Anthropocene. The Earth in Our Hands) which has been on display at the Deutsches Museum 2014-2016.

His recent books include Building Europe on Expertise. Innovators, Organizers, Networkers (2014), Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in Our Hands (2015), and Cycling and Recycling. Histories of Sustainable Practices (2016).








Constanze Werner

is a junior researcher in the flagship project “Planetary Opportunities and Planetary Boundaries” at the Potsdam institute for Climate impact Research. She holds a Master’s degree in Physical Geography of Human-Environment-Systems from Humboldt University in Berlin. Constanze’s current PhD project focuses on the trade-offs between planetary boundaries – in particular the opportunities to protect the climate while maintaining land-systems, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles. She analyzes the side-effects of negative emission technologies, like bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and biochar systems. Additionally, Constanze works on alternative definitions of the planetary boundary of land-system change.