GAIA Best Paper Award for ITAS scientists

Jürgen Kopfmüller and Markus Winkelmann from ITAS developed criteria for responsible research which were published in GAIA. The article now received the editors’ award of the journal for environmental and sustainability issues.

The constitutionally guaranteed freedom of research has to be in accordance with the researchers’ responsibility for creating a sustainable development. Based on this thesis, the team of authors – the two ITAS scientists together with Katharina Helming, Johanna Ferretti, Katrin Daedlow, Aranka Podhora, Jürgen Bertling and Rainer Walz – developed their contribution which was published in GAIA 3/2016. In their article they point out that the responsibility of scientists should not only be reflected in the content of their research, but also in the way in which they do research.

Therefore they developed a reflection framework for researchers and people in research management which can be applied to this “how” of research, which has hardly been reflected so far; it covers eight criteria for socially responsible research, among those are transdisciplinarity, transparency, an adequate way to deal with complexity and uncertainty or the acknowledgement of impacts on the environment and society. These criteria are described and discussed in the article. The authors also deal with the question how the research system has to change to systematically apply the basic principle of responsible research in the future.

According to the editors, the article provides an important contribution to the diffusion of the transformative research approach. The framework for reflection can be applied to the critical analysis of all research fields and all levels of the research process and thus has the potential to influence the scientific system regarding its orientation towards more sustainability. (27.03.2017)

Further information:

  • All award-winning texts can be found at the oekom Verlag’s website