Dossier Sustainability

As an international networking organisation connecting outstanding researchers and leaders in all science-related fields around the world, the Humboldt Foundation feels under a special obligation to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We also consider ourselves well-positioned to make a significant contribution to sustainable global development.

Cover of the Humboldt Foundation’s Sustainability Agenda: "Sustainably crafting excellent connections"

Driving sustainability

The climate crisis is the global challenge of our times. It is not restricted to our planet’s ecological resources but has far-reaching social and economic implications, too. In its Agenda 2030, the United Nations defined a framework for action which is designed to help anchor sustainability as a key objective in our global communities.

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Sustainability agenda

Sustainably crafting excellent connections: The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is developing measures for a sustainable global network on the basis of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability agenda (PDF, 167 KB)
Shaping networks for the future (Press release, September 2021)

From affordable, clean energy to high-quality education – science organisations around the world provide fertile ground for innovations and concrete solutions to achieving the 17 sustainability goals. They themselves also have a responsibility to implement sustainability goals. At the latest by 2045, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation wants to be climate neutral. To this end, the Foundation has developed a sustainability agenda that covers both concrete research promotion and inhouse measures. In addition to supporting sustainable mobility for its staff, these measures also include the resource-friendly construction of the Foundation’s new head office in Bonn.

Three fields of action on the sustainability agenda

  • driving sustainability with the scientific expertise of the Humboldt Network
  • practising sustainability and conserving resources in the Humboldt Network
  • reinforcing sustainability at the Foundation

Cooperation with other science organisations

In its efforts to conserve resources and drive climate neutrality the Humboldt Foundation collaborates closely with other national and international partners.

Research to combat climate change

Through its International Climate Protection Fellowships, the Foundation sponsors proposals from non-European developing countries and emerging economies which address the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable use of the seas and oceans as well as sustainable consumption and urban development.


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Network within the network

The Foundation wants to pool the expertise of sustainability researchers in the Humboldt Network and focus it in a “network within the network.” It is achieving this by bringing researchers together via various networking and dialogue formats such as the Humboldt New Mobility Conference 2021, the Communication Lab for Exchange between Research and Media, and the Frontiers of Research Symposia. Sharing ideas across cultural boundaries facilitates the necessary international and interdisciplinary work on exploring climate change and helps to channel research results into the dialogue in society.

Opening of the Humboldt New Mobility Conference 2021
ComLab#3: Fair for all? Sustainability and Social Justice


Chandapiwa Molefe mit Gras im Hintergrund
Brief enquiries

Why should we listen to women when it comes to fighting climate change?

Extreme aridity and drought; and when it does rain, it rains so heavily that everywhere is flooded – this is the reality of climate change in Botswana.

Mädchen vor ihrem Laptop beim Homeschooling

Sustainable education: Ways out of the crisis

About resilience in everyday school life and the creative power of teamwork, which can only help us in the development of global sustainable education. Humboldt Research Fellow Miri Yemini from Israel reports on how this can be achieved.

Brief Enquiries

How Are You Taking Green Energy to Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan wants to establish renewable energies. Materials researcher Mirabbos Hojamberdiev has the knowledge required: he develops promising solar technologies which could become a model for other places, too.

Porträt von Joacim Rocklöv
Alexander von Humboldt Professorship for Artificial Intelligence 2022

Joacim Rocklöv

By introducing innovative mathematical and bioinformatics methods in modelling and quantifying the impacts of climate change on public health, Joacim Rocklöv is on course to give fresh impetus to climate change research at the University of Heidelberg.


The Desert is Alive!

The Spanish ecologist Fernando T. Maestre investigates how protecting arid regions can help to mitigate climate change. A conversation on greening drylands and how a small project can turn into a global research network.

Brief Enquiries

How can smartphones influence the energy transition?

Anyone who wants to can take part in Hans-Arno Jacobsen’s research project – all you need is a smartphone.

Press release

Sustainable mobility will be a social challenge

How will we travel, transport goods and get around in cities and rural areas more sustainably in the future? International researchers discussed pathways to sustainable mobility.

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship 2022

Kate Rigby

Literary scholar Kate Rigby is a central figure in environmental humanities research. By appointing her as director of the new centre for Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities, the University of Cologne is looking to establish itself as a location for interdisciplinary global environmental research.

Press release

“The future is now!”

Humboldt Fellows present approaches to greater sustainability in society, culture and research at the Long Night of Ideas 2021.

Zeichnung zweier Wissenschaftler im Labor und Überschrift "ComLab3"
Humboldt Communication Lab

ComLab#3: Fair for all? Sustainability and Social Justice

Sustainable transformation also means social transformation. The third ComLab addressed the field of tension between sustainability and social justice.

Humboldt Communication Lab

ComLab #2: Climate Research and European Green Deal

Addressing climate change and taking political action to mitigate its consequences requires fast action. Scientific research plays a crucial role in investigating anthropogenic climate change.