Aug 2010	GeoGovernance ist zentrales Element Im Antrag zur Exzellenzinitiative

Geogovernance is a central element in the application for the Excellence Initiative.       > read more


Sep 2010	Beim Schiffbauergasse-Fest wird Wissenschaft zum Anfassen präsentiert

Sep 2010: At the "Schiffbauergasse"-festival science is presented to be touched      > read more


29.10.2010: PCPM Climate Breakfast with Prof. Bierbaum         > read more

Apr 2010	Geo- und Klimawissenschaften im Auswärtigen Amt

Apr 2010: Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Federal Foreign Office.


Feb 2010	PROGRESS startet mit Kickoff-Meeting

Feb 2010: PROGRESS started with Kickoff-Meeting.        > read more

Sep 2010, Bonn/Bruxelles: Tackling Climate Change

"Tackling Climate Change" in Bonn and Bruxelles
The PPM Study tour focused for the first time on the topic of climate change. Students spent five days at the end of September in Bonn and Brussels to learn about climate change and its impacts on development politics. Led by the academic coordinator Giulia Corboni, the students visited, among others, the UNFCCC Secretariat, the European Commission and the WWF European Policy Office. During a visit to the Renewable Energy House in Brussels the group could get an overview on sustainable solutions on problems caused by climate change.

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Sep 2010, Bonn: New proposal entitled "Earth in transition: Preparing for the unpredictable"

The University of Potsdam in cooperation with regional high-level research partners (among them FU Berlin, PIK and GFZ) submitted a new proposal to DFG in the nationwide competition for establishing a Cluster of Excellence within the DFG Excellence Initiative. With this proposal, University of Potsdam aims to further strengthen its research competences in Geogovernance and interdisciplinary Earth Sciences.

Earth in Transition: Preparing for the Unpredictable

… is a proposal submitted to DFG (Sep 2010) to achieve support for establishing a cluster of excellence within the DFG Excellence Initiative, which aims to promote top-level research at German universities.


The Potsdam proposal aims to measure, assess, and where possible, to forecast the dynamics of Earth system changes across a broad range of scales, from the Earth’s interior to the surface of its continents. To achieve this ability, we particularly face the challenge of advancing our understanding of Earth’s systems to the point where a quantitative assessment of their exceedingly complex functionality allows appraising the prospects and limits of their predictability. With this information we will be able to assess how political-administrative systems and societies can best deal with the risks and opportunities associated with unpredictable Earth System changes.

The non-linear behavior of the Earth system and the broad range of spatial and time scales over which changes occur determine the principal elements of the proposed research. While the Earth Sciences increase our scientific knowledge of Earth system changes, attempts to translate this knowledge into political strategies often fail, both as a result of the uncertainties that may sometimes be present in scientific knowledge, and also because institutional and organizational requirements for effective planning and response are often not available. Understanding and dealing with inherent uncertainties in the Earth System, however, is a prerequisite for scientists, public policy-makers, and policy-implementers alike, in the pursuit of strategies to ensure the sustainability of an increasingly complex global society.


To achieve this goal we will first need to harness our knowledge of the physico-chemical processes underlying Earth System changes and their potentially adverse impacts on the human habitat. Secondly, we must combine geoscientific approaches with expertise of the Political and Administrative Sciences. In the proposed attempt, we will analyze the states of the Earth System within four interrelated process-based research themes, dealing withthe restless continents, water and soils, climate and surface processes, and geo-governance. Our research network will be centered on the Potsdam-Berlin International Earth Campus. The Earth Campus will be ideally equipped to take on this challenge because of the diverse nature of its human resources, the excellent cooperation between universities, and long-standing partnerships with extramural research institutes. In order to provide a link between the research expertise, public policy-making, outreach, and graduate education, a Young Academy will be established within the Earth Campus. This will provide a platform for transdisciplinary activities, as well as equipping the next generation of Earth scientists and policy-makers with the skills that they will require to confront dealing with our changing planet.


Partners of the initiative are:

  • Universität Potsdam

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences and Department of Biochemistry and Biology

  • Freie Universität Berlin

Institute of Meteorology, Institute of Geological Sciences and Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU)

  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum
  • Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung e.V.
  • Stiftung Alfred-Wegener-Institut  für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Forschungsstelle Potsdam
  • Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam
  • Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Berlin



Link to projects