Junior development programme

Since its foundation, the Oeko-Institut has been committed to training and fostering the next generation of researchers. To this end it works closely with both university and non-university research institutes.

We believe that imparting knowledge and learning from each other are equally important. In keeping with our mission statement, we involve students from a wide range of disciplines – including those pursuing courses in a variety of scientific, technical, economic, sociological and legal subjects – in our research work.

Supporting student research projects and practical placements

The researchers at the Oeko-Institut regularly support students’ work on theses and dissertations. The Institute is particularly interested in projects that complement its work on the energy transition, sustainable resource policy, consumer research and other issues. The research teams teach students methodological skills and familiarise them with transdisciplinary working methods.

The studies that the Oeko-Institut has supported recently include “Analysis of the success factors in introducing and increasing the proportion of organic foods in municipal mass catering”; “SVHC from mixtures: Time trends for problematic substances and their substitutes contaminating surface water”; “Corporate due diligence in highly complex value chains – Human rights risk assessment based on the example of a tablet computer”; “The transformation of the German electricity system. An in-depth analysis of transformation governance in the field of German transmission grid expansion”; “FahrRad: Sufficiency in the mobility sector”.

Compulsory work placements and legal internships also provide opportunities for students and graduates to become acquainted with the Oeko-Institut’s research work. Interns and trainees who join us for a few months acquire practical experience in a number of areas. We actively involve them in project work and often put them in charge of specific aspects of the research.

Strengthening international cooperation

To that end, the Oeko-Institut also collaborates with study programmes at the international level. It supports student research projects and placements by facilitating regular supervision by one or more experts on specific research topics, by contributing to continuous dialogue in transdisciplinary teams and participating in ongoing scientific work. This enables students to intensify their research experience in Germany and expand their local networks.

As an example, researchers at the Oeko-Institut support academics and practitioners from non-European developing and transition countries who have been awarded an International Climate Protection Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to conduct a one-year research-based project in Germany focusing on climate change. As part of our cooperation in the project "Transnational Centre for Just Transitions in Energy, Climate & Sustainability (TRAJECTS)", we supervise climate protection fellows in the two focus areas of phasing out fossil fuels and changes in land management and ecosystem protection. These and other collaborations will be expanded further over the coming years.

Teaching contracts and collaboration with universities

Collaboration with university research centres and institutes is another strand of our support for the next generation of scientists. Through teaching contracts and collaboration on specific projects we maintain a constant exchange of scientific ideas and information with universities and non-university research institutes. Our staff teach regularly at universities, thus imparting our scientific findings to students in the most direct manner.

The Oeko-Institut also collaborates with German and international universities in the course of its regular scientific work. For example, the Institute’s experts regularly publish the results of their projects in academic journals, books and ministry publications or as individual reports.