CSPO People


Ortwin Renn

Managing Scientific Director, IASS Potsdam


Professor Ortwin Renn serves as Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam (Germany). He is professor for technology assessment and evironmental sociology at the University and directs, together with Dr. Marion Dreyer and Agnes Lampke, the non-profit company DIALOGIK, a research institute for the investigation of communication and participation processes. Prof. Renn is Adjunct Professor for Integrated Risk Analysis at Stavanger University (Norway) and Affiliate Professor for Risk Governance at Beijing Normal University. Professor Renn’s main research activities at the IASS focus on the role of systemic risks as threats to sustainable development, and the structures and processes for sustainable transformations in Germany and beyond. His research is particularly directed towards transitions of energy systems and energy governance. His aim is to contribute to the mission of the institute to become a highly reputable and acknowledged international center for transdisciplinary studies on sustainable development. Professor Renn has a PhD in social psychology from the University of Cologne. His career has included teaching and research positions at the Jülich Research Centre (Germany), Clark University (Worcester, USA), the Swiss Institute of Technology (Zurich) and the Center of Technology Assessment (Stuttgart). He is a member of several boards, including the National Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Vienna), the National German Science Academy Leopoldina, and the Governing Board of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). He is also engaged in multiple commissions and boards. He chairs the 2018 established Working Group „Making Sense of Science”, that was initiated by SAPEA (Science Advise on Policy of the European Academies of Science) und SAM (Scientific Advice Mechanisms) for providing scientific advice to the EU Commission. On a regional level, he is in charge of the action platform “Sustainability”, i.e. a State of Brandenburg network for coordinating sustainability initiatives from the private, public and civil society sectors. In the past he served on the panel on “Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making” of the US National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. (from 2005 to 2007) and on the German Federal Government’s Commission on Energy Ethics after Fukushima (2011). He was elected president of the International Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) for the period from 2012 to 2013. Ortwin Renn has published more than 30 books and 250 articles. The book Risk Governance (Earthscan: London, 2008) is his most prominent monograph.

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