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Prof. Dr. Michael Pregernig

Prof.Dr. Pregernig, Michael

Chair of Sustainability Governance

Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography
Tennenbacher Str. 4
D-79106 Freiburg

Telefon: 0761 203 3708
Telefax: 0761 203 3729


Office hours: Monday, 10.00-12.00; Thursday, 14.00-16.00 and by arrangement




Research Interests  |   Courses Taught  |   Professional Experience  |  Education  |   Publications   |   PhD Supervision


Research Interests


Michael Pregernig's research is at the nexus of sustainability, science and society. In conceptual and methodological terms, he draws and strives to integrate approaches from Sustainability Science and Science & Technology Studies (STS). His current research foci are in the following areas:

  • analysis and evaluation of instruments and processes of sustainability governance with a special focus on questions of effectiveness and legitimacy
  • the role of science and expertise in environmental and natural resource policy with a special focus on the inherent tensions between effective scientific policy advice (‘evidence-based policy-making’) and democratic inclusivity
  • causes, manifestation, and resolution of political conflicts around the distribution and use of natural resources before the background of societal change and the pluralisation of values
  • social studies of risk, uncertainty, and ambiguity
  • integration of temporal, geographic, and institutional scales in political processes
  • possibilities and limits of inter- and transdisciplinarity in research and teaching


  • Flood protection policies and climate change adaptation in Austria, Germany and Switzerland (Flood-Adapt)
  • Environmental Policy in the 21st Century: Approaches to tackle new challenges 
  • Knowledge Dialogue Northern Black Forest (WiNo)
  • DFG Research Training Group Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multiple-Use Landscapes of Central Europe (ConFoBi)
  • Zukunftsstadt Freiburg (2030)


  • Reshaping Science-Policy Interactions in Climate Policy (ReSciPI)
  • Integrating Valuations, Markets and Policies for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (INVALUABLE)
  • Graduate School Sustainable Development (dokNE)
  • New Modes of Governance for Sustainable Forestry in Europe (GoFOR)


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Courses Taught

  • "Sustainability and Governance" (MEG, Core Module)
  • "Human-Environmental Interactions" (MEG, Core Module)
  • "Ecosystem Management" (MEG, Core Module)
  • "Environmental Psychology and Sociology" (MEG, Core Module)
  • "Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning" (MEG, Elective Module)
  • "Environmental Conflict Management and Participation" (MEG, Elective Module)
  • Introduction into International Forestry - Forests & Sustainable Development" (Bsc Forestry and Environment)


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Professional Experience 

Since 3/2016:

  • Professor of Sustainability Governance at the Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg


  • Temporary replacement professorship with full responsibilities (Vertretungsprofessur, until 2015) and guest professorship (2015-2016) at the Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg


  • Program Director of the Msc Environmental Governance (MEG) at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg



  • Habilitation (postdoctoral qualification) in „Environmental and natural resource policy“ at BOKU



  • Assistant Professor (“Universitätsassistent”) at InFER (formerly: Institute of Forest Sector Policy and Economics), BOKU



Researcher at the Institute of Forest Sector Policy and Economics, BOKU


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  •  PdD studies at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU)


  • Studying Forestry with a focus on environmental and natural resource policy at BOKU




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Publications (Selection)

  • Krieger, Tim; Panke, Diana; Pregernig, Michael (eds) (2020): Environmental Conflicts, Migration and Governance. Bristol: Bristol University Press. ISBN: 978-1529202168. URL:

  • Krieger, Tim; Panke, Diana; Pregernig, Michael (2020): Environmental and resource-related conflicts, migration and governance. In: Krieger, Tim; Panke, Diana; Pregernig, Michael (eds): Environmental Conflicts, Migration and Governance. Bristol: Bristol University Press. pp. 1-15.

  • Storch, Ilse, Penner, Johannes, Asbeck, Thomas, Basile, Marco, Bauhus, Jürgen, Braunisch, Veronika, Dormann, Carsten F., Frey, Julian, Gärtner, Stefanie, Hanewinkel, Marc, Koch, Barbara, Klein, Alexandra-Maria, Kuss, Thomas, Pregernig, Michael, Pyttel, Patrick, Reif, Albert, Scherer-Lorenzen, Michael, Segelbacher, Gernot, Schraml, Ulrich, Staab, Michael, Winkel, Georg & Yousefpour, Rasoul (2019): Evaluating the effectiveness of retention forestry to enhance biodiversity in production forests of Central Europe using an interdisciplinary, multi-scale approach. Ecology and Evolution, 10/3, 1489-1509. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.6003

  • Nordbeck, Ralf; Löschner, Lukas; Pelaez Jara, Melani & Pregernig, Michael (2019): Exploring Science-Policy Interactions in a Technical Policy Field: Climate Change and Flood Risk Management in Austria, Southern Germany, and Switzerland. Water, 11/8, 1675. DOI: 10.3390/w11081675

  • Wolff, Franziska, Brohmann, Bettina, Fischer, Corinna, Grießhammer, Rainer, Gsell, Martin, Heyen, Dirk Arne, Jacob, Klaus, Graaf, Lisa, Pregernig, Michael, Espinosa, Cristina, Potthast, Thomas, Meisch, Simon, Kerr, Matthias, Richerzhagen, Carmen, Bauer, Steffen & Brandi, Clara (2019): Perspektiven für Umweltpolitik: Ansätze zum Umgang mit neuartigen Herausforderungen Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt. UBA-Texte 83/2019. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt. URL: English summary:

  • Richerzhagen, Carmen; Bauer, Steffen; Espinosa, Cristina & Pregernig, Michael (2019): Entwicklungspolitisch sensible Umweltpolitik. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt.

  • Espinosa, Cristina & Pregernig, Michael (2018): Narrative in der Umweltpolitik: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen. politische ökologie, 152, 41-46.

  • Pregernig, Michael, Rhodius, Regina & Winkel, Georg (2018): Design Junctions in Real-World Laboratories: Analyzing Experiences Gained from the Project Knowledge Dialogue Northern Black Forest. GAIA, 27/S1, 32-38. DOI: 10.14512/gaia.27.S1.9

  • Rhodius, Regina & Pregernig, Michael (2018): Per 'Wissensmesse' zum Forschungsprogramm: Arbeitsphasen und Abstimmungsprozesse zwischen Wissenschaft und Praxis. In: Defila, Rico & Di Giulio, Antonietta (Hg.) Transdisziplinär und transformativ forschen: Eine Methodensammlung. Wiesbaden: Springer. 163-194. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-21530-9_10

  • Espinosa, Cristina, Pregernig, Michael & Fischer, Corinna (2017): Narrative und Diskurse in der Umweltpolitik: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen ihrer strategischen Nutzung. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt. URL:

  • Feichtinger, Judith & Pregernig, Michael (2016): Beyond mandated participation: Dealing with hydro power in the context of the water framework directive. Environmental Policy and Governance, 26/5, 351-365. DOI: 10.1002/eet.1699
  • Bauer, Anja, Pregernig, Michael & Reinecke, Sabine (2016): Enacting effective climate policy advice: Institutional strategies to foster saliency, credibility and legitimacy. Evidence & Policy, 12/3, 341-362. DOI: 10.1332/174426416X14712636744181
  • Hermann, Andrea Tony, Hogl, Karl & Pregernig, Michael (2016): Science-Policy Interactions in Austrian, Dutch, and Swiss Climate Policy: A Comparative Account. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 19/2, 168-182. DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2016.1180238

  • Mangelsdorf, Marion, Pregernig, Michael & Kuni, Verena (eds) (2016): (Bio-)Diversität, Geschlecht und Intersektionalität. Baden-Baden: Barbara Budrich. ISSN: 0948-9975

  • Mangelsdorf, Marion, Pregernig, Michael & Kuni, Verena (2016): (Bio-)Diversity, Gender, and Intersectionality. Freiburger Zeitschrift für GeschlechterStudien, 22/2, 5-15. DOI: 10.3224/fzg.v22i2.27054

  • Rhodius, Regina, Bachinger, Monika, Pregernig, Michael & Koch, Barbara (2016): Co-design und co-production im Reallabor Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald. GAIA, 25/2, 131-132. DOI: 10.14512/gaia.25.2.15

  • Rhodius, Regina, Pregernig, Michael & Koch, Barbara (2016): Herausforderungen transdisziplinären Arbeitens im Reallabor 'Wissensdialog Nordschwarzwald'. Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis, 25/3, 19-25.

  • Hermann, Andrea Tony, Pregernig, Michael, Hogl, Karl & Bauer, Anja (2015): Cultural Imprints on Scientific Policy Advice: Climate  science–policy interactions within Austrian neo-corporatism. Environmental Policy and Governance, 25 (5), 343-355. DOI: 10.1002/eet.1674

  • Osei-Tutu, Paul, Pregernig, Michael & Pokorny, Benno (2015): Interactions between Formal and Informal Institutions in Ghanaian Local Forest Contexts. Forest Policy and Economics, 54, 26-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2015.01.006
  • Pregernig, Michael (2014): Framings of science-policy interactions and their discursive and institutional effects: examples from conservation and environmental policy. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23/14, 3615-3639. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-014-0806-3
  • Osei-Tutu, Paul, Pregernig, Michael & Pokorny, Benno (2014): Legitimacy of Informal Institutions in Contemporary Local Forest Management: Insights from Ghana. Biodiversity and Conservation, 23/14, 3587-3605. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-014-0801-8
  • Freytag, Tim, Pregernig, Michael & Detten, Roderich von (2014): Institut für Umweltsozialwissenschaften und Geographie: Disziplinoffene Perspektiven für Forschung und Lehre. SOZIALE TECHNIK, 2/2014, 11-14. 
  • Bauer, Anja & Pregernig, Michael (2013): Whose look into the future? Participation in technology assessment and foresight. Critical Policy Studies, 7/1, 18-36. DOI: 10.1080/19460171.2012.745992
  • Reinecke, Sabine, Pistorius, Till & Pregernig, Michael (2014): UNFCCC and the REDD+ Partnership from a networked governance perspective. Environmental Science & Policy, 35, 30-39. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2012.09.015
  • Pregernig, Michael & Böcher, Michael (2013): The role of expertise in environmental governance: Theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence. In: Siebenhüner, Bernd, Arnold, Marlen, Eisenack, Klaus & Jacob, Klaus (eds) Long-Term Governance for Social-Ecological Change. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 29-46
  • Bauer, Anja & Pregernig, Michael (2012): Wissen für eine vorausschauende Politik: Der Umgang mit Unsicherheit in Strategischer Umweltprüfung, Technikfolgenabschätzung und Foresight. In: von Detten, Roderisch, Faber, Fenn & Bemmann, Martin (Hg.) Unberechenbare Umwelt: Zum Umgang Mit Unsicherheit und Nicht-Wissen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. pp. 121-155. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-531-94223-0-7
  • Pregernig, Michael; Hogl, Karl; Nordbeck, Ralf (2012): The Politics of Sustainability Evaluation: Analysis of Three Austrian Strategies for Sustainable Development. In: Sedlacko, Michal; Martinuzzi, André (eds): Governance by Evaluation for Sustainable Development: Institutional Capacities and Learning. Cheltenham et al.: Edward Elgar. pp 21-44.
  • Hogl, Karl; Kvarda, Eva; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (eds) (2012): Environmental governance: The challenge of legitimacy and effectiveness. Cheltenham et al.: Edward Elgar. DOI: 10.4337/9781849806077
  • Hogl, Karl; Kvarda, Eva; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (2012): Legitimacy and effectiveness of environmental governance: concepts and perspectives. In: Hogl, Karl; Kvarda, Eva; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (eds): Environmental governance: The challenge of legitimacy and effectiveness. Cheltenham et al.: Edward Elgar. pp. 1-26. DOI: 10.4337/9781849806077.00008
  • Pregernig, Michael; Böcher, Michael  (2012): Normative and analytical perspectives on the role of science and expertise in environmental governance. In: Hogl, Karl; Kvarda, Eva; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (eds): Environmental governance: The challenge of legitimacy and effectiveness. Cheltenham et al.: Edward Elgar. pp 199-219. DOI: 10.4337/9781849806077.00020
  • Hogl, Karl; Kvarda, Eva; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (2012): Effectiveness and legitimacy of environmental governance: synopsis of key insights. In: Hogl, Karl; Kvarda, Eva; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (eds): Environmental governance: The challenge of legitimacy and effectiveness. Cheltenham et al.: Edward Elgar. pp. 280-304. DOI: 10.4337/9781849802703.00024 
  • Silvestrini, Alessandra; Monni, Suvi; Pregernig, Michael; Barbato, Anna; Dallemand, Jean-Francois; Croci, Edoardo; Raes, Frank (2010): The role of cities in achieving the EU targets on biofuels for transportation: The cases of Berlin, London, Milan and Helsinki. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 44 (6), 403-417. DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2010.03.014
  • Pregernig, Michael; Reinecke, Sabine (2010): Führungskompetenz in Nachhaltigkeitsfragen. Internationaler interdisziplinärer Master of Science "Environmental Governance" an der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Soziologie. Forum der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie, 39 (1), 51-56.
  • Hogl, Karl; Nordbeck, Ralf; Pregernig, Michael (2008): New Modes of Governance: Programmatic Rhetoric and Actual Practices. GAIA, 17/4, 399-401.
  • Pregernig, Michael (2007): Science-Policy Consultation as Boundary Spanning: the Interaction of Science and Politics in Two US Bioregional Assessments. In: Reynolds, Keith M.; Thomson, Alan J.; Köhl, Michael; Shannon, Margaret A., Rae, Duncan; Rennolls, Keith (eds): Sustainable Forestry: From Monitoring and Modelling to Knowledge Management and Policy Science. Wallingford: CABI Publishers. pp. 129-144. DOI: 10.1079/9781845931742.0129
  • Pregernig, Michael (2007): Wirkungsmessung transdisziplinärer Forschung: Es fehlt der Blick aus der Distanz. GAIA – Ecological Perspectives in Science, Humanities, and Economics, 16/1, 46-51.
  • Pregernig, Michael (2007): Zwischen Alibi und Aushandlung: Ein empirischer Blick auf die Interaktion zwischen Wissenschaft und Politik am Beispiel der österreichischen Umwelt- und Ressourcenpolitik. In: Krott, Max; Suda, Michael (Hg.): Macht, Wissenschaft, Politik? Erfahrungen aus der wissenschaftlichen Beratung im Politikfeld Wald und Umwelt Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. S. 43-79.
  • Pregernig, Michael (2006): Transdisciplinarity viewed from afar: science-policy assessments as forums for the creation of transdisciplinary knowledge. Science & Public Policy, 33/6, 445-455. DOI: 10.3152/147154306781778867
  • Hogl, Karl; Pregernig, Michael; Weiss, Gerhard (2005): What is New About New Forest Owners? A Typology of Private Forest Ownership in Austria. Small-scale Forest Economics, Management and Policy, 4/3, 325-342. DOI: 10.1007/s11842-005-0020-y
  • Feichtinger, Judith; Pregernig, Michael (2005): Participation And/Or/Versus Sustainability? Tensions Between Procedural and Substantive Goals in Two Local Agenda 21 Processes in Sweden and Austria. European Environment, 15/4, 212-227. DOI: 10.1002/eet.386
  • Feichtinger, Judith; Pregernig, Michael (2005): Imagined Citizens and Participation: Local Agenda 21 in two communities in Sweden and Austria. Local Environment, 10/3, 229-242. DOI: 10.1080/13549830500075503
  • Pregernig, Michael (2005): Wissenschaftliche Politikberatung als kultur­gebundene Grenzarbeit: Vergleich der Interaktionsmuster in den USA und Österreich. In: Bogner, Alexander; Torgersen, Helge (Hg.): Wozu Experten? Ambivalenzen der Beziehung von Wissenschaft und Politik. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. S. 267-290.
  • Pregernig, Michael (2005): Biodiversity in national forest and environmental policy. In: Geburek, Thomas; Turok, Josef (eds): Conservation and Management of Forest Genetic Resources in Europe. Zvolen: Arbora Publishers. pp. 13-32.
  • Hogl, Karl; Pregernig, Michael (2002): Forest policy research in small countries: between (national) politics and (international) science. In: Biro, Yves; Buttoud, Gerard; Flies, Robert; Hogl, Karl; Pregernig, Michael; Päivinnen, Risto; Tikkanen, Ilpo; Krott, Max: Voicing interests and concerns: institutional framework and agencies for forest policy research in Europe. Forest Policy and Economics, 4/4, 343-347. DOI: 10.1016/S1389-9341(02)00076-X
  • Pregernig, Michael (2002): Perceptions, Not Facts: How Forestry Professionals Decide on the Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems. Journal of Envi­ronmental Planning and Management, 45/1, 25-38. DOI: 10.1080/09640560120100178
  • Pregernig, Michael (2001): Values of forestry professionals and their implica­tions for the applicability of policy instruments. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 16/3, 278‑288. DOI: 10.1080/02827580120186
  • Pregernig, Michael (2000): Putting science into practice: The diffusion of scien­tific knowledge exemplified by the “Austrian Research Initiative Against Forest Decline”. Forest Policy and Economics, 1/2, 165-176. DOI: 10.1016/S1389-9341(99)00008-z
  • Pregernig, Michael (1999): Die Akzeptanz wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse. Determinanten der Umsetzung wissenschaftlichen Wissens am Beispiel der österreichischen ‚Forschungsinitiative gegen das Waldsterben’. Frankfurt am Main et al.: Lang.

Link zu einer detaillierten Publikationsliste in der Forschungsdatenbank der Universität Freiburg.


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PhD Supervision

  • Gorricho, Julia (2018): Protected Areas Governance: Key to Advancing Conservation in the Midst of Armed Conflict - The cases of Alto Fragua Indiwasi National Park and La Planada Nature Reserve in Colombia. (Supervisor)

  • Reinecke, Sabine (2015): Governing the climate across the science-state-society divide: Experiences from the REDD+ Partnership and climate services. PhD Thesis at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. (Supervisor)

  • Espinosa, Maria Cristina (2015): Apart from Nature or a Part of Nature? Discourse Analyses of the Politics of Redefining the Relationship between Humans and Nature. PhD Thesis at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. (Supervisor)

  • Bauer, Anja (2015): Thinking in the Long-Term: Anticipatory Policy Advice in Strategic Environmental Assessment, Technology Assessment, and Foresight. PhD Thesis at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. (Supervisor)
  • Osei Tutu, Paul (2015): Local Forest Management Institutions in Ghana: Interactions, Legitimacy and Compliance. PhD Thesis at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg. (Supervisor)
  • Feichtinger, Judith (2013): Politischer Wandel im Gewässermanagement: Die Implementation der EU-Wasserrahmenrichtlinie im Spannungsfeld von Wasserkraft und Gewässerschutz in Österreich und Bayern. Dissertation an der Universität für Bodenkultur Wien. (Supervisor)

  • Uprety, Hima Devi (2011): Street-level Bureaucrats in Community Forestry Policy Implementation: A Case Study from Nepal. PhD thesis at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. (Supervisor)

  • Helgenberger, Sebastian (2010): The capacity of business organizations to respond to the short-term and long-term impacts of climate change: Case studies on the Alpine winter tourism industry in Austria. PhD thesis at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. (Supervisor)

  • Renner, Renate (2010): How Do Networks Matter? Implementation of the Innovative Practice of Care Farming in Austria and the Netherlands. PhD thesis at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. (Supervisor)

  • Bitterling, Urs (2010): Coordination and the Politics of Climate Protection. The contribution of six Austrian climate protection measures to a more coherent climate policy. PhD thesis at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. (Supervisor)


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