“Political and legal research for a world that is more equal, less wasteful, more inclusive, and in balance with nature.”


Frank Biermann is a research professor of Global Sustainability Governance with the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He is an internationally leading scholar of global institutions and organizations in the sustainability domain.


Founder of the Earth System Governance network

Biermann pioneered the ‘earth system’ governance paradigm in global change research in 2005 and was the founder and first chair (2008-2018) of the Earth System Governance Project, a leading global transdisciplinary research network of sustainability scholars.


Research programme on the effects of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

He currently directs a 2.5-million EUR research programme on the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals, supported by an European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’, among other functions.


Over 200 publications

Biermann has authored or edited 19 books and published about 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in academic books. He is frequently invited to participate in advisory and evaluation committees and has spoken in the United Nations General Assembly, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee.


Previous appointments

From 2003 to 2015, Biermann was professor and head of the Department of Environmental Policy Analysis at the VU University Amsterdam, which was evaluated in 2014 as being ‘world leading’ and ‘one of the highest profile academic research groups involved with sustainability governance from around the world’. In 2007-2014, he also directed the Netherlands Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment, evaluated in 2014 as a ‘network of excellence’.



Biermann has won numerous awards, including the 2021 Distinguished Scholar Award in Environmental Studies by the International Studies Association (recognizing ‘outstanding scholars whose long history of excellent research and teaching has had substantial impact on fields associated with international relations and environmental issues’); a European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’ (the highest personal award from EU institutions); Ecological Society of America’s 2019 Innovations in Sustainability Science Award; the 2013 Societal Impact Award of VU University Amsterdam for ‘path-breaking research on global environmental policy’; the 2011 Social Science Research Prize of VU University Amsterdam; and the 1998 Joachim Tiburtius Prize awarded for the best dissertations of the Berlin universities. Biermann is an elected Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, a group of 700 individuals ‘chosen for eminence in art, the natural and social sciences, and the humanities’.


Recent books

Biermann's most recent books are The Political Impact of the Sustainable Development Goals (Cambridge UP, 2022); Architectures of Earth System Governance: Institutional Complexity and Structural Transformation (Cambridge UP, 2020), and Anthropocene Encounters: New Directions in Green Political Thinking (Cambridge UP, 2019). 

Many of his articles and papers can be downloaded for free at Academia.edu and Research Gate.

For information and availability of all his books, please visit Professor Biermann's Amazon page.

For regular updates on Professor Biermann's research, see his blog


Cambridge University Press, 2022

Cambridge University Press, 2020

Cambridge University Press, 2019

MIT Press, 2017

MIT Press, 2014

MIT Press, 2012

Edward Elgar, 2012

Cambridge University Press, 2010

MIT Press, 2009

Routledge, 2009

Edward Elgar, 2007

Springer, 2007

Ashgate 2005

Analytica, Berlin, 2001

Nomos, Baden-Baden, 1998

Edition Sigma, Berlin, 1997

European University Studies, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 1995

European University Studies, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, 1994
Global Sustainability Governance