Mission and Goals

The DLGS doctoral programme provides exceptional PhD candidates from around the world with opportunities and support in the field of spatial sustainability sciences. It serves as a nurturing environment for the development of innovative ideas, closely intertwined with all research areas of the IOER and their long-term interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research programme. The DLGS welcomes candidates from diverse scientific disciplines, providing novel insights, recognizing the value of different perspectives in tackling the spatial challenges of the Anthropocene.

In addition to advancing knowledge and understanding in spatial sustainability sciences, the DLGS recognizes the importance of the doctoral dissertation phase as a critical period for personal and professional growth. This phase serves as a unique career development opportunity, allowing candidates to acquire and refine essential leadership qualities. A key objective of the DLGS fellowship is to cultivate an appreciation for the crucial role of leadership in driving spatial sustainability transformations. The program aims to develop specific qualities associated with transformative leadership, such as system thinking, vision articulation, co-creation, reflexivity, and the cultivation of core values like integrity and accountability.

Therfore, DLGS aims to act as a catalyst for scientific innovations within the IOER, aspiring to inspire and enable transformative change. It strives to motivate its graduates to assume leadership positions both within the scientific community and in society at large.

The establishment of this scientific profile and mission took place in 2021 as part of the IOER's collaborative development of its guiding principles (Leitbild). Since its inception in 2008, the DLGS has engaged with a wide range of topics, with a particular focus that has evolved over time, often centred around demographic change, climate change, and sustainability, all of which are closely aligned with the research conducted at the IOER.


Scientific Excellence

  • Develop interdisciplinary competence within the field of sustainability science
  • Deepen relevant theoretical and methodological knowledge

Sustainability Impact

  • Produce results of practical relevance and impact on spatial sustainability transformations
  • Enable transdisciplinary research involving diverse stakeholders

Professional Qualification

  • Develop management and organisational capabilities for doing effective research
  • Enhance skills to take a sustainability leadership role in the future