Regionalforschung und -politik

Aktuelle Forschungsprojekte

  • FOODLEVERS - Leverage points for organic and sustainable food systems

    Projekttitel: FOODLEVERS – Leverage points for organic and sustainable food systems

    Project duration: 12/2020 – 11/2023

    Project summary: Despite the recent uptake of innovative production systems, food systems continue to move on unsustainable trajectories. This can be explained by many sustainability interventions addressing solely more obvious but less powerful areas of intervention rather than engaging with the root causes of unsustainability. Instead, FOODLEVERS’ goal is to identify those leverage points at which interventions promise far more potential to further develop and scale-up existing innovative organic and sustainable food systems (FSs). It aims to promote higher resource-efficiency, highlight inefficiencies, specify the reasons for decision-making processes that led to the current configuration of FSs, and thus identify configurations that “work” and may be scaled up.

    To investigate potential leverage points in FSs, FOODLEVERS applies a systems approach to consider all dimensions and actors of food systems (FSs) as well as their interlinkages, synergies and trade-offs, rather than treating each unit of FSs separately. It uses a framework proposed by Abson et al. (2017) focusing on three realms of “deep leverage” to address in sustainability transitions:

    • “re-connect” people to nature to encourage sustainable behaviors while making feedback loops shorter and improving wellbeing;
    • “re-structure” institutions and consider how institutional dynamics can create an enabling environment for sustainability;
    • “re-think” how knowledge is created and used, shared and validated.

    As a result of a holistic sustainability assessment of innovative case studies of organic and sustainable FSs in different geographical and institutional contexts, the project will identify best practice processes and critical points including barriers, levers and points for intervention. The modelling of scenarios will allow to understand the potential of micro-level changes to achieve system-level change and transition towards sustainable and resilient FSs. “Deep” leverage points to re-connect, re-structure and re-think FSs are consequently formulated.

    Project Partners: Philipps-University of Marburg (Germany), University of Reading (United Kingdom), Institute of Research on Terrestrial Ecosystems (Italy), Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation - State Research Institute (Poland), University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca (Romania), European Forest Institute (Finland), The Progressive Farming Trust Organic Research Centre (United Kingdom), Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Belgium)

    Staff: Prof. Dr. Markus Hassler, Dr. Tim Roesler, Valerie Holzner

    Links: FOODLEVERS | SUSFOOD2 ERA-NET (susfood-db-era.net)

    Transnational Funding: H2020 ERA-NETs SUSFOOD2 and CORE Organic Cofund, under the Joint SUSFOOD2/CORE Organic Call 2019

    National Funding: German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (Germany); Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (Italy); Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Finland); National Centre for Research and Development (Poland); Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Belgium); Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (Romania); Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (United Kingdom)

  • CConnects - Carbon Connects 


    Projektbeschreibung: Obwohl Landwirtschaft ein Drittel der weltweiten C02 Emissionen verursacht, wird sie bei der Bekämpfung des Klimawandels meist ignoriert (UN-Env). 3% der globalen Landfläche ist mit Moorgebieten bedeckt, bestehend aus hohen Konzentrationen organischer Substanzen, die sich über Jahrhunderte ansammelten. Sie speichern 2x so viel Kohlenstoff wie alle Wälder der Erde zusammen. Europa beheimatet 265,000 km2 verschiedenster Moortypen. Falls Diese austrocknen, werden sie vom Kohlenstoffspeicher zu einem massiven, unaufhaltbaren Emitter. Carbon Connects (CConnects) reduziert C02 Emissionen um 50% in Moorgebieten, die durch traditionelle Trockenlegung zur landwirtschaftlichen Nutzung (Energiegewinnung, Pflanzen oder Tierhaltung) unnötig hohe Emissionen verursachen (20-40 t/ha/Jahr). CConnects fördert “Nass-Landwirtschaft”, die Kohlenstoffbindung durch Anheben des Wasserspiegels oder den Anbau neuer Pflanzenarten (z.B. Rohrkolben, Schilf) befördert sowie Kohlenstoff aus Naturmaterialien (Biomasse, Baustoffe) isoliert. Durch die Entwicklung von Gutschriftensystemen für blaue Flächen/Kohlenstoff, fördert CConnects die Implementierung ohne die Notwendigkeit zusätzlicher Subventionen. CConnects entwickelt 8 Pilotprojekte in NL, FR, BE, UK, IE, die alle Moortypen in NWE repräsentieren. Die Lösungen sind relevant für 4,500,000ha Moorgebiet in NWE (größer als NL). CConnects kann so die Emissionen in NWE um 90-180M Tonnen reduzieren, entsprechend einer Abschaffung von 40-80mio Autos. CConnects transnationales “Farmer-2-Farmer” Lernprogramm macht es Landwirten möglich, ihre Erfahrung direkt weiterzugeben und mithilfe einer transnationalen Toolbox neue Landwirte zu interessieren. CConnects umfasst die 6 NWE-Länder, wobei sich jedes mit 10-20% am Budget beteiligt. 50% sind für internationale Aktivitäten, Innovation und Netzwerkpartner und für ein transnationales Austauschprogramm vorgesehen. Die Projektpartner repräsentieren Regierungen, Unternehmen, Wissenschaft und Landwirtschaft.

    Homepage: CConnects

    Mitarbeiter: Prof. Dr. Markus HasslerDr. Tim RoeslerNina Röhrig


    Finanzierung: EU INTERREG VB North West Europe 

    EU-Funding (ERDF): 3,2 Mio. €

    Gesamtbudget: 5,4 Mio. €

    Projektpartner: Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Science (NL), Province of North Brabant (NL), Radboud University (NL), Waterboard Aa en Maas (NL), Dutch Agricultural and Horticultural Association (NL), The Rivers Trust (UK), Wear Rivers Trust (UK), Flemish Land Agency (BE), European Landowners Organization (BE), Association of the Chambers of Agriculture of the Atlantic Area (FR), Durham County Council (UK), Limerick Institute of Technology (IE).

  • ECCO - Creating new Energy Community COoperations.

    (INTERREG VB North West Europe, 2017-2021) 

    Project summary: Policymakers want to unlock Renewable Energy (RE) to meet their GHG reduction targets. Currently, they can only turn to the establishment of energy producers to realise their objectives. These traditional actors are slowly becoming interested in RE but are very reticent to share socio-economic benefits with the local communities concerned. The result is a growing public resentment (NIMBY) and a failing market for RE.
    Characteristically, RE allows for distributed production and for involving local communities. Bio-Energie Dörfer in DE are the best proof of this: actively involving local communities in their RE production is a feasible way to address the failing RE market. Especially rural areas and farmers offer the physical and social resources needed for a decentralised, community based approach to providing RE.
    However, emerging local community initiatives are presently facing barriers. They lack adequate knowledge (of finances, technology, marketing, and management), which prevents them from becoming reliable RE providers. Numerous policymakers have indicated, therefore, that an effective exchange of knowledge is needed to speed up the RE transition.
    We aim to accelerate the growth of local Energy Community Co-Operatives (ECCOs), both in effectiveness and in numbers. We will achieve this by bringing ECCOs together and linking them up with relevant sources of knowledge from around NWE to overcome the barriers they face at present. Additionally, we will inspire policymakers and community groups to initiate their own ECCOs and, subsequently, we will facilitate their initiatiation and development processes. By designing and establishing a transnationally connected Accelerator Network (AN), we build the organisational structure that secures that the support activities are continued after the project has ended. The large number of policymakers and organisations that have already signed up as associated partners to this project are seen as a first testimony of commitment to the results we want to deliver.
    We start off bottom-up with the combined experience and best practices of 9 existing ECCOs spread around NWE. The transnational work of these pilots will function as 'beacons' for us during the project period and beyond to inspire policymakers and prospective ECCOs.
    We will reach and engage 50 new ECCOs during the project, each producing at least 600 MWh RE on average, reducing GHG emissions by 7.500 tns/yr in total. The tangible demonstration of this potential will encourage other policymakers to adapt their policies in favour of ECCOs (20 policies expected in 10 years post project).
    REScoop originated as an H2020 thematic EU network for mostly larger RE coopertives. The AN will make them well equipped to reach out to individual local ECCOs. This results in 500 additional ECCOs in 10 years post project, bringing the GHG reduction total up to 150.000 tns/yr.

    Project partners: Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland), Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany), Stichting Streekhuis Het Groene Woud (Netherlands), South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. (Ireland), REScoop.eu (Belgium), Energies Citoyennes en Pays de Vilaine (France), Agrobeheercentrum ecokwadraat (Belgium), Innovatiesteunpunt (Belgium), LochemEnergie (Coöperatie UA) (Netherlands), Zuidelijke Land- en Tuinbouworganisatie (Netherlands), The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest Company (United Kingdom)

    Staff: Prof. Dr. Markus Hassler, Dr. Tim Roesler, Dr. Julian Schwabe

    Links: Innovatiesteunpunt  (Belgien) &  ECCO Homepage

    Funding: EU INTERREG VB North West Europe     

  • KOMOBIL2035 

    Koordinierung von Haupt- und Ehrenamt in ländlichen Räumen am Beispiel der Koproduktion von Mobilitätsdienstleistungen. Kommunen innovativ, (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, 2017-2020)

    Projektzusammenfassung: In vielen ländlichen Räumen gehen Gemeinden neue Wege, um die Versorgung ihrer Bevölkerung mit allen Angeboten des täglichen Bedarfs zu sichern. Dies gilt für die Nahversorgung, für soziale Dienste und für die Mobilität. Um dies zu gewährleisten, ist ehrenamtliches Engagement unverzichtbar geworden. Vor Ort unterstützen zunehmend aktive Bürger Angebote der Daseinsvorsorge und gestalten somit das gesellschaftliche Leben. Doch die vorhandenen Ressourcen und die notwendige Bereitschaft zu ehrenamtlichem Engagement sind keineswegs langfristig gesichert. Im Zuge des gesellschaftlichen und demografischen Wandels stellt sich die Frage nach der zukünftigen Tragfähigkeit ehrenamtlicher Lösungen und der Verknüpfung von „Ehrenamt“ und „Hauptamt“.
    Am Beispiel der Region Ostwürttemberg erarbeiten der Regionalverband Ostwürttemberg, die Landkreise Heidenheim und Ostalbkreis und die Gemeinde Rainau, wie die Angebote der Daseinsvorsorge für die Bevölkerung besser erreichbar werden und wie sich ehrenamtlich engagierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger hierfür einsetzen können.
    Mit dem Projekt sollen Antworten auf die Fragen gegeben werden, inwieweit die heute vorhandenen ehrenamtlichen Strukturen auch in den kommenden Jahren verfügbar sind und wie diese langfristig aufgebaut und unterstützt werden können, um die Daseinsvorsorge in der Zukunft zu sichern.

    Projektpartner: Regionalverband Ostwürttemberg, Gemeinde Rainau, Landkreis Heidenheim, Landkreis Ostalbkreis, Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg mbH, nexus – Institut für Kooperationsmanagement und interdisziplinäre Forschung, pakora.net, Philipps-Universität Marburg

    Mitarbeiter: Prof. Dr. Markus Hassler, Dr. Tim Roesler, Florian Hennig

    Links: KOMOBIL2035 Homepage Kommunen innovativ

    Förderung: Kommunen innovativ, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

Abgeschlossene Forschungsprojekte

  • Sagiter– Savoirs agroécologiques et ingéniosités des terroirs

    (November 2013 - Oktober 2016, Leonardo Lifelong Learning)


  • Betriebliches Mobilitätsmanagement im Landkreis Marburg-Biedenkopf.

    (Landkreis Marburg-Biedenkopf, 2014-2015)

  • TWECOM - Towards eco-energetic communities.

    (EU INTERREG IVB North West Europe, 2013-2015)


    Project summary: TWECOM wants to demonstrate that local short chain valorization of biomass from landscape elements is economical feasible, with a surplus value for the current ecological, cultural and social functions that these landscape elements have.

    The TWECOM project wants to sustainably valorize the up till now unused biomass from landscape elements for heat and energy production on a local scale. Landscape elements like hedgerows had an economic function in the past and are typical for a large part of NW-Europe. In the 20th century this economic use disappeared. As a result, landscape elements disappeared in many regions. Because landscape elements also have ecological (biodiversity) and social (recreation, regional identity) functions, efforts for landscape management were set up. Unfortunately, this is quite expensive and not sustainable on a long term basis, as subsidies are not guaranteed in the future. The TWECOM-project wants to revalorize the biomass from landscape elements in an economically feasible way, with respect for ecological and social functions. As the search for renewable energy sources is really actual, time has come to think about revalorization of this unused biomass. Because of the links with biodiversity and cultural heritage, tourism, recreation, this biomass has not been valorized yet in many cases. This project will prove that, through cooperation with all involved stakeholders, an economic (re)valorization is possible. As this is an actual issue in many parts of NW-Europe (similar agricultural and thus landscape element history), cooperation in this NWE-region is obvious and necessary.

    Project partners: Regionaal Landschap Lage Kempen vzw (Belgium), Boerenbond Projecten vzw (Belgium), Philipps-University Marburg (Germany), Organic Research Centre (United Kingdom), Inagro (Belgium), Zuidelijke Land- en Tuinbouworganisatie (Netherlands)

    Staff: Prof. Dr. Markus Hassler, Dr. Tim Roesler

    Links: TWECOM Homepage

    Funding: EU INTERREG IVB North West Europe

  • Rural Alliances

    (EU INTERREG IVB North West Europe, 2010-2015)

    Rural Alliances 

    Project summary: The Rural Alliances Project brought together 12 partners from North West Europe to tackle the challenges of demographic change in rural areas. These challenges included: young people leaving rural towns and villages; the elderly becoming increasingly isolated & in need of social and medical care; shops, post offices, pubs, public toilets and telephone boxes closing; and increasingly difficult environments for setting up and running sustainable businesses.

    The project tackled these challenges by actively bringing rural communities and businesses together capitalising on their two distinct attributes. Rural businesses with their "make it happen" attitudes with the values of rural communities of loyalty, pride and self-esteem to create over 76 Rural Alliances. Together they have reshaped their areas to make them friendly, buzzing and vibrant, creating a more stable future for all their residents. Rural Alliances cover a wide spectrum of activities, from health care, renewable energy, food, tourism, festivals, arts and crafts and financial engineering. The alliances have worked at local, regional and transnational levels. They have included improving rural inclusion, resource efficiency, alternatives to conventional finances and rural governance.

    Project partners: Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (UK), University of Wales, Trinity Saint David (UK), Boerenbondvereniging voor Projecten vzw (BE), Vlaamse Landmaatschappij (BE), Stichting Streekhuis Het Groene Woud en De Meierij (NL), Stichting Streekhuis Kempenland (NL), Gemeente Lochem (NL), Philipps-Universität Marburg (DE), South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. (IE), Comhairle Contae Mhaigh Eo (IE), Maison de l'Emploi, du Développement, de la Formation et de l'Insertion du Pays de RedonBretagne Sud (MEDEFI) (FR), Laval Mayenne Technopole (FR)

    Staff: Prof. Dr. Markus Hassler, Dr. Tim Roesler, Dr. Florian Warburg

    Links: Rural Alliances Homepage

    Funding: EU INTERREG IVB North West Europe

  • Mobilitätskonzept im Rahmen des  für den Landkreis Marburg-Biedenkopf.

    (Landkreis Marburg-Biedenkopf, 2013)

    Masterplans 100% Klimaschutz für den Landkreis Marburg-Biedenkopf
  • Integrated Preventive Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Concepts for the Aging Society in Europe.

    (EU-Verbundprojekt, 2009–2012)

  • Internationalisierung des Einzelhandels in der Türkei.

    (DFG - Forschungsprojekt, 2009-2011)

  • Ambient Assistant Living Mittelhessen – Fallstudie Cölbe-Schönstadt.

    (Einzelhandelsverband Nordhessen, 2008)

  • SustainFARM - Innovative and sustainable intensification of integrated food and non-food systems to develop climate-resilient agro-ecosystems in Europe and beyond.

    FACCE Surplus (ERA-NET, Horizon 2020, BMBF 2016-2019)  

    Project summary: The main objective of SustainFARM is to enhance agronomic, environmental and economic performance of integrated food and non-food production systems (IFNS) by optimizing productivity and valorizing woody components, residual wastes and co-products. IFNS are systems in which trees, crops and livestock components are integrated in different ways at different scales(plot-field-farm).

    The specific objectives are to: a) assess resource use efficiency and design innovative and cost-effective IFNS for optimum productivity, b) develop sustainability metrics to assess agronomic productivity and environmental performance, c) valorization of the woody components, residual waste and co-products into high value bio-energy carriers and bio-products.

    To achieve the objectives, SustainFARM has adopted an innovative case-study approach, whereby locally relevant IFNS are already identified, to work in close collaboration with the local end-users of the technology such as farmers, advisory services and policy makers. By involving the end-users and other stakeholders from the start of the project activity, we will co-generate technology, relevant at the local scale to address productivity issues and enhance valorisation of the unused, residual and co-products.

    SustainFARM is funded through the FACCE SURPLUS ERA-NET Co-fund formed in collaboration between the European Commission and a partnership of 15 countries in the frame of the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI).

    Project partners: University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Organic Research Centre (United Kingdom), Philipps-University Marburg (Germany), Universidad de Cordoba (Spain), University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca (Romania), National Research Council (Italy), Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation - State Research Institute (Poland)

    Staff: Prof. Dr. Markus Hassler, Dr. Tim Roesler, Moritz von Oppenkowski, Nina Röhrig

    Links: SustainFARM Homepage

    Funding: FACCE Surplus, ERA-NET, Horizon 2020, BMBF

  • Sfate - Smart Farm Training for Employment.

    (Erasmus +, 2017-2018)

    The project Sfate aims to support the introduction of new techniques (agriculture 4.0) into agricultural education and training. Sfate