The PhD study program “biodiversity and society”

Biodiversity research is one long-standing focus of teaching and research at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Thus, the new PhD program is embedded in an exceptionally strong disciplinary and interdisciplinary research environment with active participation by ecology, systematics/taxonomy, agricultural and forestry sciences, conservation science, and several social sciences. Affiliated with Göttingen Graduate School for the Social Sciences (GGG), the program is co-ordinated by Prof. Dr. Rainer Marggraf, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.

Biodiversity from a social science perspective
From its very first methodological steps, biodiversity science needs social science input. This applies to the definition of the targets of biodiversity conservation as well as to the design of the procedures by which biological diversity is measured and valuated. In this sense, the social sciences are a necessary complement to the natural sciences. Even more so, the social sciences are essential to develop successful instruments for the protection and sustainable utilization of biological diversity because these instruments are virtually always employed in complex social, economic and legal contexts.

In spite of the high importance of social science knowledge for implementing a modern conception of nature conservation, structured academic training at the PhD level has not been available in the area of "Biodiversity and Society" in Germany. With the establishment of this PhD program, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen caters to a demand which is enticed, inter alia, by the scientific needs of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as national and European Union biodiversity strategies.

With this focus of social sciences of biodiversity, up to 20 scientists will start their PhD by the beginning of April 2010 and vitalize the new promotion study course. Besides professional interdisciplinary research, the study course is characterized by an accompanying graduate school programme for obtaining methodical competences and key qualifications, which serve to link and to publish our analysis internationally.

You will find some further information concerning the promotion study course, on the website of the Göttingen Graduate School of Social Sciences (GGG), during the next months. (

Research Topics as pdf