COAST- Center for Environmental and Sustainability Research

Governance and transitions


© [Dirk Peters]

No doubt - the world is a-changin. Inviduals and society´s diverse groups have to take action according to change processes. Shifts and transitions are ranging from home environments to global interactions and from shorter-term to decades. Informal collaboration of societal partners is gaining relevance in governing change processes. COAST is involved in the governance of transitions in several fields and regions.


  • Energy transition pathways
  • Water management, flood and coastal protection strategies
  • Land use and resource management
  • Integrated coastal management, marine spatial planning, ocean governance

Running Projects



The Board Game on Climate Change

Main Focus: Within KEEP COOL each player takes a role within global climate politics. You have to put through economic interests, e.g. of the USA and its partners or of the Developing Countries. Yet you must not forget the strong lobby groups in your country like the oil industry or environmental groups as they also decide whether you win or loose. Freely following the motto 'jeopardise the climate,' players are free to influence climate policies as well as corporate decision making.

Institutions: CENTOS

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New opportunities for a sustainable food system through transformative enterprise models

Funding body: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Main focus: Sustainable food supply system, that enables food sovereignity and resilient food production on a regional level

Project duration: 01.04.2015 - 31.03.2018

Institutions: CENTOS

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A North Sea Perspective on Shipping, Energy and Environment Aspects in MSP

Funding body: EU-INTERREG VB NSR

Main focus: Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is a societal process to balance different and competing user interest as well as environmental protection aims. NorthSEE launches a sea-basin wide coordination process among MSP authorities in the North Sea Region (NSR). NorthSEE aims to achieve a greater coherence in MSP across the NSR for three transnational topics: environmental aspects, shipping routes and energy infrastructure. Current and future synergies and mismatches of national planning solutions and approaches will be identified and planning solutions for selected sites with incompatibilities will be developed.

Project duration: January 2016 to December 2018

Institutions: COAST

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ZenTra - AG II "ZenTraClim": Climate Change and transnational Politics

Funding body: ZenTraClim is a joint initiative of Stiftung Mercator, the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg and the University of Bremen.

Main focus: Working Group "ZenTraClim" (WG II) deals with the role for climate change of transnational activities and of the formation of norms both at the individual and the collective level.

Project duration: 01.01.2013 – 31.12.2017

Institutions: CEM, CENTOS

Completed Projects

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A new initiative for green start-ups

Funding body: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

Main focus: StartUp4Climate is the world's first national start-up initiative for a green, low-carbon economy. Its goal is to mobilize the potential of new start-ups for climate mitigation in Germany. This will allow previously unexploited potential for decarbonization to be tapped.

StartUp4Climate develops and tests new incentive systems and tools for planning start-ups, carries out measures for awareness-raising, qualification, and consulting, and supports networking and exchange of start-up consultants, business development promoters, investors, financial supporters, and universities.

Project duration: 01.07.2013 – 28.02.2017

Institutions: CENTOS



Support Systems for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Transformation

Funding body: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Main focus: The main goal of SHIFT was to enable universities, incubators, business development organisations, financial institutions, design service providers and other relevant actors and intermediaries to support sustainable entrepreneurship more effectively. SHIFT was investigating the impact of different actors of the entrepreneurial support systems at different stages in the life cycle for eco-product and eco-service development (eco-innovation). SHIFT was seeking to identify existing deficits and gaps as well as recommend changes, strategies and policy development for more effective support of entrepreneurs, start-ups and Micro-SMEs developing innovative green products and services.

Project duration: 01.02.2013 - 31.01.2016

Institutions: CENTOS



Sustainable Coastal Land Management: Trade-offs in Ecosystem Services

Funding body: BMBF

Main focus: The collaborative research project will perform an inter- and transdisciplinary investigation of four land management scenarios, applied to coastal regions along the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in Germany. COMTESS will quantify and evaluate the performance of multiple ecosystem functions and services in each scenario in socio-economic and ecological terms.

Project duration: October 2010 bis December 2016

Institutions: COAST, CEM, ZENARiO

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The North-South-Network on Climate Proofing of Vulnerable Regions

Funding body: DAAD

Main focus: Interdisciplinary cooperation project for adaptation strategies to climate change between the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg (UO), the Tanzanian University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and the South African Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)

Project duration: November 2010 - December 2014

Institutions: COAST

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Combined functions in coastal defence zones

Funding body: EU - Interreg

Main focus: Important elements to take first steps towards a future-oriented coastal protection as part of an integrated land use planning, are: The consideration of multifunctional use, the joint development of different usage options (scenarios), an objective socio-economic and ecological evaluation and the participation of all relevant user groups (participation) in each step of the implementation process. The ComCoast project had set itself the goal to develop approaches that support the implementation of multi-functional coastal protection zones. Due to climate change, but also because of pre-existing stress (e.g. unsustainable underground, increased usage of space and materials at reinforcement of dykes) coastal protection in the southern North Sea region faces new challenges. So new strategies for the implementation of coastal protection measures are needed. A basic idea is to move from the present protection system which is oriented on the coast lines towards a protection system based on coastal zones. Diverse concepts with differing thematic priorities for the use of multi-functional coastal protection zones have been developed in the European partner countries Belgium, England, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

Project duration: April 2004 - December 2007

Institutions: COAST

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CPA - Climate Proof Areas

Development and implementation of strategies for adaptation to climate change at the communal and county level

Funding body: EU - Interreg IV B

Main focus: In this project we brought together scientific data on the regional effects of climate change, policy recommendations how adaptation can be realized, innovative technical solutions on the ground and a toolkit for drawing up your own adaptation plan

Project duration: October 2008 - December 2011

Institutions: COAST, ZENARiO

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Developing Sustainability

Interdisciplinary research network with universities in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Funding body: DAAD

Main focus: (Further) Development of inter-disciplinary teaching programs, research activities and institution building regarding sustainability at all partner institutions

Project duration: August 2009 – December 2013

Institutions: COAST



Local World of Social Cohesion

Funding body: European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration

Main focus: The focus of LOCALISE's research lies on the organisational challenges of an integrated social and employment policy.

Project duration: 2011 - 2014

Institutions: ZENARiO

SSP: Speichern statt Pumpen

Funding body: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation

Project duration: 01.02.2009 - 28.02.2010

Institutions: COAST