The Wuppertal Institute is a leading international think tank for sustainability research focused on impacts and practical application. Since it was founded in 1991, the Wuppertal Institute’s core mission has been to contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. One particular focus is on showcasing and actively helping to shape transformation processes for a climate-friendly and resource-efficient world. To this end, the work of the Institute’s scientists includes researching and developing practical guidelines and strategies at all levels – locally, in Germany, in Europe and all around the world. With its interdisciplinary team of 250 staff, its transdisciplinary and transformative approach to research, and its involvement in a wide range of scientific networks, the Institute is in an excellent position to fulfil its mission.
The Wuppertal Institute is driven by the major challenges facing society and focuses on seven arenas that constitute the “transformation”: the transition in energy, resources, nutrition, urban living, mobility and industrial activity as well as prosperity and consumption. In addition, the Institute works to address questions relating to the management of structural change and the opportunities and limitations of digitalisation. On this point, it is particularly interested in the extent to which digitalisation can be put on a sustainable footing and support the implementation of transformation processes. Through research, the Institute aims to build a better understanding of change processes as well as generating target knowledge and system knowledge, thereby allowing it to serve as a catalyst for transformation processes. The Wuppertal Institute works intensively with partners from the worlds of science and industry to generate knowledge in these three areas and refers to their interplay as “Zukunftswissen” (future knowledge).
The Wuppertal Institute is organised into 13 research units within four divisions: Future Energy and Industry Systems; Energy, Transport and Climate Policy; Sustainable Production and Consumption; and Circular Economy. Since the Institute was founded in 1991, the number of research scientists it employs has increased more than fivefold. At present, it has 250 employees, over 50 per cent of whom are women. The Institute’s researchers currently supervise around 170 projects in 70 countries, publish 200 scientific publications annually, hold 40 university teaching posts and deliver about 500 talks each year. With more than 3,000 reports in the media that are either about the Institute or relate to its work, its employees actively share their research findings with the worlds of politics, business and society. Although it receives basic funding from the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is also the sole shareholder in the non-profit limited company, the Institute is mainly financed by external bodies.
Locations: Wuppertal, Berlin
Founding: 1991 by Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
Staff: ~ 250 employees
Divisions: Future Energy and Industry Systems; Energy, Transport and Climate Policy; Sustainable Production and Consumption; Circular Economy
Management Board: Prof. Dr. Manfred Fischedick (Scientific Managing Director), Michael Dedek (Administrative Managing Director)