Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Understanding and Managing Technology Conflicts – A course for natural scientists

Date: 01 October 2018
Location: UFZ Leipzig, Germany

Target audience

Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers


Within the frame of the German energy transition, novel approaches for energy provision and storage are being developed and implemented into practice. Although the primary technical benefit, i.e. reducing greenhouse gas emissions, of these innovations remains in many cases unquestioned, increasing controversies and conflicts on these technologies occur.

Taking case studies from the field of geothermal energy provision, this course offers deeper insights into understanding and managing conflicts by introducing concepts and knowledge from social sciences. Thereby, technology assessment can be used as an approach to deal with technological controversies. Basics principles of technology assessment will be introduced within this course for natural scientists.

Alena Bleicher is geographer and sociologist at the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology. Her research has been on geothermal energy and is currently on socio cultural aspects of technologies for resource extraction. Thomas Vienken is a geologist working at the Department Monitoring end Exploration Technologies. His special interest is dedicated at the high resolution subsurface characterization, e.g. for the sustainable intensive thermal use of the shallow subsurface.

Didactic aim

  • Familiarizing non-social scientists with social scientific perspectives on technological issues
  • Providing materials and approaches to include social scientific aspects/perspectives, e.g. conflict management, in teaching of natural sciences

> More information, Module 2018H-38