Bremen Goes Sustainable: One Million Euros for Sustainability at Bremen’s Higher Education Institutions

Developing, testing and anchoring sustainability concepts for research, teaching and operations together – higher education institutions in the state of Bremen and the Alfred Wegener Institute are pursuing this goal with “BreGoS – Bremen Goes Sustainable.”

All state higher education institutions in the state of Bremen – the University of Bremen, Bremen City University of Applied Sciences (HSB), the University of the Arts Bremen (HfK) and the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences – will jointly develop and test sustainability initiatives in the areas of biodiversity, mobility, and the use of resources and energy by the end of 2025 under the leadership of the University of Bremen. The findings are to be anchored in the structures of the higher education institutions. The Alfred Wegener Institute Heimholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) supports BreGoS with input from its own sustainability processes and organizes forums for exchange. Researchers, students and staff from administration and technology are involved in the project. Accompanying sociological research evaluates the development of networks and practices that emerge in the project. “With “Bremen Goes Sustainable,” our state higher education institutions are working together for the first time on a large joint project on the important future topic of sustainability. This is an excellent example of cooperation and networking that can also serve as a model for other cities,” says Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports.

Public kick-off event on March 13

Interested parties can learn more about BreGoS at a kick-off event on Monday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Haus der Wissenschaft. After welcoming speeches by Dr. Claudia Schilling (Senator for Science and Ports), Prof. Jutta Günther (President of the University of Bremen) and Prof. Antje Boetius (Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute), the work packages of the project will be presented and discussed. Representatives from the university administration, Enno Nottelmann (State Councilor to the Senator for Climate Protection, the Environment, Mobility, Urban Development, and Housing) and representatives of Students for Future will then discuss how concepts for sustainable action can be anchored at the higher education institutions. The event is open to the public and free of charge.

From cargo bikes to sustainable laboratories – the work packages at a glance

Bremen’s higher education institutions are cooperating on five work packages:

  • Real labs

At the University of Bremen, the campus itself becomes a research object and laboratory: The participants analyze energy production, transport and consumption in order to design measures for efficient energy use. In the “Biodiversity Hub,” students, building management staff, gardeners, lecturers and the University Executive Board work together on ways to implement a new green space management system to promote biodiversity on campus.

  • Model projects for a campus development strategy

The Bremen City University of Applied Sciences (HSB) builds on already implemented model projects such as the model bicycle district Alte Neustadt Bremen and the bicycle repair café realized in this context. Students analyze their campus in terms of selected sustainability criteria such as quality of stay, biodiversity and bicycle-friendliness. On this basis, projects are developed and implemented by the students themselves and evaluated in terms of their effectiveness. The approaches tested as part of these DesignBuild projects are pooled to form a holistic campus development strategy.

  • Sharing concepts

Sustainable mobility concepts are the focus of the University of the Arts Bremen. As a higher education institution in the city center, it connects with its surroundings as a center of excellence. Specifically, a cargo bike-sharing system adapted to the district is being developed here. Participants manufacture and test cargo bikes and electric micro-vehicles in their own prototype workshop.

  • Sustainable laboratory operations

The aim of the work package at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences is to make laboratory work more sustainable. In doing so, the project staff examine all areas and material flows and determine how and which materials can be used and recycled more efficiently and how waste can be minimized. Sustainability should also play a major role when it comes to purchasing materials. This includes social sustainability, for example by purchasing fair trade products.

  • Sustainability governance, networks and practices

Several times a year, the project participants exchange information about the progress of the project with one another, with experts and stakeholders from civil society. These “marketplace” exchange forums are organized by the Alfred Wegener Institute in cooperation with the Department of Communication at the University of Münster. Sustainability governance, networks and practices are researched, evaluated and discussed in all subprojects. The focus here is on the question of which management and control mechanisms are necessary in order to successfully embed sustainable action in university operations.

 “Starting on our own doorstep”

“BreGoS is a collaborative project that deliberately starts on our own doorstep, i.e. directly on campus. There’s a lot of work to do in terms of sustainability. The idea behind BreGoS is that the projects address this work and at the same time integrate into research and teaching. BreGoS should set an example – including with regard to exchange and networking betwenn higher education institutions (HEI),” says Prof. Jutta Günther, President of the University of Bremen.

Professor Karin Luckey, President of the Bremen City University of Applied Sciences: “The Bremen City University of Applied Sciences (HSB) is a science-based transformation center. Here there is practice-oriented research that is closely linked to teaching. Together with partners from academia, business, industry and society, we are working on answers to the pressing questions of our time. Sustainability is of fundamental importance. Already today, one in three degree courses at the HSB deal with the key issues of climate change, energy, the environment and sustainability. Our “Region in Change” research cluster is an important center of excellence. The HSB is contributing this broad expertise to the BreGoS research project. Because only together can we make our higher education institutions (HEI) in Bremen more sustainable and climate-neutral.”

“As part of the “Bremen Goes Sustainable” collaborative project, Bremen’s higher education institutions and the university are tackling topics of great social significance. This approach is certainly forward-looking. Within the framework of the project, the focus of the HfK is on issues relating to sustainable mobility and sharing concepts. Approaching these areas from an artistic-scientific perspective offers the potential for a new way of looking at the topic,” says Prof. Andrea Sick, Vice President for Research/Artistic Development and International Affairs at the University of the Arts Bremen.

Prof. Rabea Diekmann, Vice President for Research, Transfer and Continuing Education at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences: “We can only respond to man-made climate change with innovative concepts and ideas: The networking of Bremen’s higher education institutions (HEI) in the “Bremen Goes Sustainable” project is an important and right step towards climate-neutral teaching and research at our locations. With its contribution Sustainable Development in Labs, Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences shows how laboratories can be operated in a sustainable and resource-conserving manner and at the same time meet the highest scientific requirements.”

Prof. Antje Boetius, Director of the AWI: “We are delighted to be part of BreGoS and to contribute our expertise as well as our hope of moving ahead faster with the transformation together thanks to regional cooperation. This will be based on the “Reflection Framework for Research in Social Responsibility,” which was developed as part of the LeNa project of the Helmholtz Association together with the Leibniz Association and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The marketplace provides information on the sustainability organization of research institutes, which on the one hand are intended to directly support the transformation process of the network partners, but on the other hand will also be incorporated into research. A further focus will be on informing and discussing approaches to sustainable research – in other words, sustainability in the research process itself.”

Futher Information:


Professor Marko Rohlfs
University of Bremen
Project coordination “Bremen Goes Sustainable”
Phone: +49 421 218-62936
Email: rohlfs1protect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Kleiner See am Boulevard.
All state higher education institutions in the state of Bremen will jointly develop and test sustainability initiatives in the areas of biodiversity, mobility, and the use of resources and energy by the end of 2025 under the leadership of the University of Bremen.