Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO) Sets New Standards in Regional Research

Landscape - @Jan Messerschmidt

IFZO's first research phase takes a look at the major societal changes and investigates how life can be changed on, with, and by the Baltic Sea in the years to come. How are healthcare and administration developing in rural areas? How do we contribute to a sustainable economy? How do we protect the Baltic Sea in the process? How do we preserve and make use of cultural monuments? How do we secure our energy demand without destroying nature? These questions are part of complex processes of change, that affect not only Mecklenburg-Vorpommern but the entire Baltic Sea region. These questions can only be answered together with the polyvalent political, cultural, and economic perceptions and ideas of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea.

By attempting to answer these questions, IFZO is breaking new ground. IFZO spokesperson Prof. Dr Michael North comments: “Baltic Sea region research has been interdisciplinary for several decades, but did not cover the scope that we are now able to provide with the help of our five faculties – home to departments from the humanities, social and natural sciences. During the concept phase, it became clear that none of the above-mentioned topics could have been developed to this extent without the expertise of all the participating researchers. The conflicts around Nord Stream 2 cannot be understood without the sustainability debates and the historical lines of economic, political, and legal development in the Baltic Sea region. The preservation of the common cultural heritage in the Baltic Sea region will not succeed without knowledge of climate change beside and in the sea and requires new concepts for the provision of public services to future generations that will look after this heritage.”

This is the background to the two overarching goals of the research centre. The newly developed "Greifswald approach" will be implemented in an application-oriented manner in the interdisciplinary "meeting spaces" to foster conceptual and practical knowledge for coping with transformation tasks. Secondly, new mediation concepts will be used to spread this knowledge to all areas of society. Methods used for teaching drama will help to attain the objective just as much as digital teaching and learning platforms, new satellite-based mapping of the Baltic Sea region, and animations of cultural landscapes. Furthermore, specific policy briefs and excursions will be organised for political and administrative bodies.

"With its Fragmented Transformations approach, IFZO is setting new standards in regional research, whilst at the same time strengthening the institutionalisation of the key field of research Cultures of the Baltic Sea Region at the University of Greifswald," says University Rector Prof. Dr. Katharina Riedel at the digital kick-off meeting. Over the next five years, the University of Greifswald will support IFZO with a contribution of 1.1 million euros.

Further information

Title of the IFZO research project

  • Fragmented Transformations - Perceptions, Constructions and Orders of a Changing Region
    Spokesperson: Prof. Michael North

Approved subprojects and spokespersons

  • Shared Heritage: Canonisation, Conflicted Legacies, Cultural Landscapes and Presentation of Cultural Heritage in the Baltic Sea Region
    Spokespersons: Prof. Eckhard Schumacher, Prof. Gesa zur Nieden

  • The Energy Transistion in the Baltic Sea Region: Perceptions, Acceptance, Opportunities
    Spokesperson: Prof. Michael Rodi

  • The Ambivalence of Deterrence and Cooperation: Challenges of Security Architecture in the Baltic Sea Region
    Spokesperson: Prof. Margit Bussmann

  • Innovations and Policy Mobilities in the Rural Baltic Sea Region: Services of General Interest, Financing Systems and Entrepreneurship
    Spokesperson: Prof. Christine Tamásy

  • New Nationalisms: Utopian and Dystopian Narratives of New Nationalism
    Spokesperson: Prof. Cordelia Heß

  • Sustainability in the Baltic Sea Region: The Baltic Sea Ecosystem as the Nucleus of a Regionally Integrating Sustainability Transformation
    Spokesperson: Prof. Susanne Stoll-Kleemann

  • Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Fragmented Transformations
    Spokesperson: Prof. Sebastian van der Linden

  • Counter-Transformations: Neo-nationalist Narratives as an Analytical Approach to Transformation Processes in the Baltic Sea
    Spokesperson: Prof. Cordelia Heß

Scope of BMBF funding
EUR 10.6 million over 5 years (01/06/2021 to 31/05/2026)

Contact at the University of Greifswald
Dr. Alexander Drost
Academic Coordinator
Interdisciplinary Centre for Baltic Sea Region Research (IFZO)
Bahnhofstraße 51, 17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 3834 420 3341