Prof. Dr. Paul Burger

Head of the Sustainability Research Group

Professor for the socio-cultural domain within the interdisciplinary Master in Sustainable Development



Born 1956, initially trained as a technician, he studied philosophy and history (doctorate 1992, habilitation 1997), was scientific assistant for philosophy in Basel und Luzern, SNF-research fellow, lecturer at the universities of St. Gallen, Fribourg, Innsbruck, Maribor, and from 1998-2005 head of the interfaculty teaching program People Society Environment at the University of Basel; since 2006 he has been in charge of the Sustainability Research Group and responsible for the social sciences within the tri-faculty Master in Sustainable Development at the University of Basel; among others he is currently head of trinational Upper Rhine Cluster for Sustainability Research (give link), head of the SCCER-CREST work package 2 on change of behavior and member of the SCCER-CREST board.


Research and teaching interests

Among his research interests are theoretical foundations for sustainable development including its normative basis as well as approaches to human-nature-interrelations, empirical research on governance of sustainable development in general and of change of individual behavior in particular, interdisciplinary approaches to understanding individual behavior in the energy sector; the role of quality of life issues within sustainability transformation in the North and the South, and epistemology and methodology of inter- und transdisciplinary research.


Topics of supervised Master as well as PhD thesis are normally situated in these fields.

Currently offered themes for Master theses at the Program sustainability research [PDF [PDF/78 KB]]


Current projects

Current ongoing research activities:

- Mercator



- Sustainabilization of administrations

- Governance and sustainability

- A capability based understanding of sustainable development

Latest Publications

Burger, Paul; Bezençon, Valéry; Bornemann, Basil; Brosch, Tobias; Carabias-Hütter, Vicente; Farsi, Mehdi; Hille, Stefanie Lena; Moser, Corinne; Ramseier, Céline; Samuel, Robin; Sander, David; Schmidt, StephanSohre, Annika; Volland, Benjamin: Advances in understanding energy consumption behavior and the governance of its change - outline of an integrated framework, in: Frontiers in Energy Research 3, 2015, S. 27. edoc, URL
Lienert, Juri; Burger, Paul: Merging capabilities and livelihoods: analyzing the use of biological resources to improve well-being, in: Ecology and Society 20, 2015, H. 2, S. 20. edoc, URL
Schultz, EmilyChristen, Marius; Voget, Lieske; Burger, Paul: A Sustainability-fitting Interpretation of the Capabilities Approach: Integrating the Natural Dimension by employing Feedback Loops, in: Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 14, 2013, H. 1, S. 115-133.

> All Publications



Office hours:
Wednesday 16:00-18:00
Appointments by email.

Bernoullistrasse 16
CH - 4056 Basel

Office room number 02.005

Office phone:
+41 (0)61 207 04 03