8 October 2015

Frank Biermann appointed Professor of Global Sustainability Governance at Utrecht University

The Executive Board of Utrecht University has appointed Professor Dr. Frank Biermann as professor of Global Sustainability Governance with the internationally renowned Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the Faculty of Geosciences. He will join Utrecht University by 1 December 2015.

Better Global Governance for Sustainable Development

Global environmental change has become one of the most challenging political problems of our time. For example, the average temperatures on our planet might increase by three to four degrees Celsius by the end of our century if no additional political measures are taken soon, with unprecedented consequences for our societies. What we urgently need, therefore, are better policies and more effective institutions that can help move our societies towards more sustainable ways of production and consumption. The analysis of current global institutions and governance arrangements, with a view towards progressing towards a truly sustainable development in North and South, will be the focus of this new research-oriented chair at Utrecht University.

The political scientist and international lawyer Frank Biermann will study, for example, international climate negotiations, options for a reform of the United Nations, global adaptation policies, the political role of science in international politics, as well as ethical and normative questions of global justice and the legitimacy of institutions.

Connecting Utrecht’s strategic themes of “Institutions for Open Societies” and “Sustainability”

Utrecht University has bundled its research into four interdisciplinary strategic areas, including Sustainability and Institutions for Open Societies. The complex relationship between sustainable development and global institutions has been the focus of Professor Biermann’s research for the last two decades, which makes a move to Utrecht a logical step in his career.

A leading role in prominent international research and policy networks

At Utrecht University, Frank Biermann will also continue his leading role in prominent international research and policy networks, especially his role as chair of the Earth System Governance research alliance, the largest social-science network in the field of sustainability governance with institutional partners in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Africa and several European countries. Frank Biermann pioneered in 2005 the novel paradigm of ‘earth system’ governance in global change research to denote the novel quality of environmental challenges in our time, yielding 40000 Google hits for this term today. More information about the strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies.

A rich past

Prof. Frank Biermann is also frequently invited to governmental commissions and panels and has spoken among others in the United Nations General Assembly, the European Parliament, and the European Economic and Social Committee. Professor Biermann’s previous affiliations include universities of Harvard, Lund, Maryland, Stanford, VU Amsterdam, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, as well the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi.

Twenty years of teaching experience

Prof. Frank Biermann also looks forward to teaching in the internationally leading MSc and BSc programmes at the Faculty of Geosciences, bringing to Utrecht twenty years of teaching experience in Germany, India, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. 

Sustainability at Utrecht University

By combining its expertise in the field of sustainability, Utrecht University develops integrated solutions for sustainability issues contributing to a better future for following generations. This theme connects Utrecht’s excellent sustainability research from the humanities, sciences and social sciences with a focus on water, energy and a healthy environment. Sustainability is one of the four strategic research themes at Utrecht University.

More information on the research theme Sustainability