Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ortwin Renn is an Affiliate Scholar with a career in science, sustainability, and risk governance. He served as the Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) until December 31, 2022, and has continued his research activities at the Research Institute for Sustainability - Helmholtz Center Potsdam.
Before retirement, Prof. Renn held the position of a full professor for environment and technology assessment at the University of Stuttgart. His academic contributions extend globally, with roles as a visiting professor at Beijing Normal University in China and the University of Stavanger in Norway.
Prof. Renn co-directs the non-profit research institute Dialogik. This institute focuses on innovative forms of science communication and participation, emphasizing the importance of engaging the public in scientific discourse.
At the IASS, his research addressed the challenges of implementing the energy transition, systemic risks on a global scale, and the impact of digitalization on sustainable development. He aimed to establish the IASS as a leading center for transdisciplinary sustainability research.
Renn studied economics, sociology, and social psychology. He completed his master's and Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Cologne. With a diverse research and teaching background in Germany, the USA, and Switzerland, Prof. Renn has become a recognized expert in various fields.
He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the German Academy of Science and Engineering Acatech (serving on the Board), and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). Prof. Renn actively contributes to policy advice through various commissions and committees, serving as the chairman of the Sustainability Advisory Board and the Sustainability Platform of the State of Brandenburg.
His commitment to addressing contemporary challenges is evident in his role as a member of the Steering Committee of the Federal Government's Science Platform for Climate Protection and chairmanship of the scientific board of trustees of the Citizens' Climate Council.
Prof. Renn's contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Federal Cross of Merit, First Class, honorary doctorates from ETH Zurich and Mid-Sweden University, and an honorary professorship from the Technical University of Munich. His publication record includes over 30 monographs, edited volumes, and more than 250 scientific articles, with his 2008 monograph "Risk Governance" standing out as particularly influential.
Risk governance (assessment, management, communication)
Transdisciplinary research methods
Public participation (theory and practical application)
Sustainable development (concept, social science perspective)
Digitalization, sustainability, and societal impacts
Technology assessment and foresight (methodology, conceptual issues, case studies)
Selected Recent Publications:
"Partizipative Klimapolitik: Wie die Integration von Stakeholder- und Bürger*innenbeteiligung gelingen kann" (2023)
"Participatory versus analytic approaches for understanding risk perceptions: a comparison of three case studies from the field of biotechnology" (2023)
"SDGs at the halfway point: How the 17 global goals address risks and wicked problems" (2023)
"How sustainable is the digital world?" (2023)
"Narratives for personal and collective transformations" (2023)
Prof. Renn's commitment extends to supporting effective science communication and engagement, as evident in his blog contributions on various contemporary issues. His dedication to advancing sustainability and addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene makes him a prominent figure in the fields of risk governance and sustainability research.