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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network


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Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE)


The ISOE, based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is a leading non-profit and non-university institute for transdisciplinary sustainability research. For 25 years, the Institute has carried out problem-oriented research providing support for decision-makers and viable concepts for the future directed at policy makers, civil society and enterprises – both at regional and international level.

Research at ISOE revolves around these topics: water, energy, biodiversity and mobility. It looks at how these topics are interlinked and how they are influenced by global developments such as urbanisation, climate change, and demographic change. The research conducted at ISOE contributes towards the understanding of social-ecological systems. It helps evaluate crisis situations and build transformational processes to ensure sustainable development. ISOE endeavours to come up with solutions to the challenges facing society today and tomorrow.

ISOE currently employs around 50 members of staff, 36 of whom work as scientists. They hold qualifications from the fields of social, natural and engineering science, including planning. The researchers represent a varied range of methodological expertise as practised in empirical social research, impact assessment, modelling, and scenario development. ISOE also devises communication strategies geared to specific target groups with the aim of transferring project insights as well as providing support with implementation. Furthermore, the research institute can draw on a wealth of experience and skills when it comes to evaluating implementation measures and programmes, and holding dialogues with stakeholders. The theoretical basis for all research projects is social ecology, the science that studies how society relates to nature.

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