Prof. Dr. Silke Beck

Professor for Sociology of Science

Sociology of Science

Silke Beck’ is an internationally recognized expert in the field of global environmental expertise as well evidence-based policy-making on climate change, biodiversity and transformation towards sustainability. After an academic year in the Global Environmental Assessment Project (Harvard University), Beck has worked at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ Leipzig), one of Europe’s leading research centers on interdisciplinary environmental research development. She was (co)leading international inter- and transdisciplinary projects on climate change, ecosystem management, environmental innovation and sustainable transformation. The overarching goal of her research is to combine MCTS research on science in society with real-world engagements in advisory bodies and societal co-production in an interactive and reflexive way. She is also a founding member of the UFZ Science-Policy Expert Group which has performed a leading role in providing research in support of the design and evaluation of real-world interfaces in the field of global environmental politics: They have provided direct input into negotiation processes on the reform of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on the establishment of the national biodiversity network (Nefo) and the set-up of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) ( Beck serves as lead expert for the IPBES Assessment of transformative change ( Recently, Beck is the principal investigator of the project “Governance of sociotechnical transformation” as part of the Belmont-Norface research programme “Transformation towards Sustainability”

Her work has been published in peer reviewed international academic journals such as Science, Nature, Current Opinion Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Science and Policy, Global Environmental Change, Global Environmental Politics, Regional Environmental Change, Science, Technology and Human Values, Futures and Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change.

ORCID 0000-0002-4157-0777


Qualifications and Career

Stages Periods and Details
Magistra Artium (Political Science, Germanistik) October 1985 February 1996

University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, GE



July 1996 – October 2000

Ph.D. studies: Science and Technology Studies, Sociology; Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, GE

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. P. Weingart, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, GE

Stages of academic career


Research Fellow


Sept. 1999 October 2000

Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge/ Ma. USA

Research Scientist


August 2000 – June 2005

Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Research Centre Karlsruhe/ GE

Senior Research Scientist June 2005 – June 2015

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ Leipzig/ GE

Subprogram Leader/Group Leader


June 2015 – June 2021

Acting Chair Environmental Politics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ Leipzig/ GE

Associate Professor


2014: Guest professorship (Universitätsprofessur), Department of Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna, A
  2021-2022: Acting Chair, Friedrich Schiedel-Lehrstuhl für Wissenschaftssoziologie, TUM/ GE
Full Professor (W3) and Chair Since 2022:

W3 Full Professor and Chair of Sociology of Science and Technology, TU Munich, GE

Global environmental expertise as well evidence-based policy-making on climate change, biodiversity and transformation towards sustainability

Category A

Beck, S., & Oomen, J. (2021). Imagining the corridor of climate mitigation–What is at stake in IPCC’s politics of anticipation? Environmental Science & Policy 123, 169-178,

Beck, S. et al. (2021). The governance of sociotechnical transformations to sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 49, 143-152.

Díaz-Reviriego, I., Turnhout, E. & Beck, S. (2019). Participation and inclusiveness in the Intergovernmental Science – Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Nature Sustainability 2(5), 457-464

Beck, S. & Mahony, M. (2018). The IPCC and the new map of science and politics. WIREs Climate Change 9(5), e547.

Beck, S. & Mahony, M. (2017). The IPCC and the politics of anticipation. Nature Climate Change 7(5), 311-313.

Lövbrand, E., Beck, S., et al. (2015). Who speaks for the future of Earth? How critical social science can extend the conversation on the Anthropocene. Global Environmental Change 32, 211-218.

Geden, O. & Beck, S. (2014). Renegotiating the global climate stabilization target. Nature Climate Change 4, 747-748.

Beck, S. (2012). The challenges of building cosmopolitan climate expertise: The case of Germany. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 3 (1), 1-17.

Beck, S. (2011). Moving beyond the linear model of expertise? IPCC and the test of adaptation. Regional Environmental Change 11(2): 297-306.

Hulme, M., Beck, S. et al. (2011). Science-policy interface: Beyond assessments. Science 333(6043), 697-698. 10.1126/science.333.6043.697


Category B

Beck, S. & Pfotenhauer, S.M. (2021). Germany. In S. Jasanoff, S. et al. (eds.). Comparative Covid response: crisis, knowledge, politics. Schmidt Futures Forum Report. Cornell University and Harvard Kennedy School.

Beck, S., & Forsyth, T. (2019). Bridging science and culture: participation and representation of transformative change in biodiversity assessments. Seeds of Change: Provocations for a New Research Agenda, 54-58.

Ammann, T., Baatz, C., Bauer, N., Beck, S. et al (2019). Climate engineering and our climate targets-a long-overdue debate. DFG Broschüre des SPP 1689,

Geden, O. & Beck, S. (2015). Klimapolitik am Scheideweg. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, 65(31-32), 12-18.

Deutsches Klima-Konsortium (DKK) (2015). Perspektiven für die Klimaforschung 2015 bis 2025: Positionspapier.


Beck, S., et al. (2011). Synergien und Konflikte von Strategien und Maßnahmen zur Anpassung an den Klimawandel. Climate Change, 18,

Beck, S. (2010). Vertrauen geschmolzen? Zur Glaubwürdigkeit der Klimaforschung. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 32, 15-21.

Mickwitz, P., Aix, F., Beck, S., et al. (2009). Climate policy integration, coherence and governance. Synthesis Report of PEER Climate Change Initiative – Project 2. http://peer-

Bechmann, G., Beck, S., et al. (1996). Sozialwissenschaftliche Konzepte einer interdisziplinaeren Klimawirkungsforschung. Endbericht. Wissenschaftliche Berichte FZKA 5715. doi: 10.5445/IR/270039081

2022 – today   Editorial Board, Environmental Science and Policy

2014 – 2021   Senior Editor for the Oxford research encyclopedia of climate science

2005 – 2018   Co-Chair of the Working Group SCIENCE IN SOCIETY/ DKK/ GE

2007 – 2019   Steering committee of the DFG SPP 1689 Climate Engineering

2020 – today   Lead expert/ Intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (Ipbes) assessment of transformative change

2014 – 2021   Co-speaker of the Working Group Politics, Science and Technology/ (DVPW)

2020 – today   Member of the Advisory Board for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC): Feasibility of afforestation and biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (FAB- GGR)

2020 – today   Member of the Advisory Board for the Norwegian research council: Understanding the international context for Norway’s low-emission economy transition (CONNECT)

2020 – today   Member of the Advisory Board: FORMAS: Opening the portfolio of negative emissions technologies: A comprehensive study of social, techno-economic and ethical dimensions of biomass-based NETs in Sweden and Tanzania

2020– today    Member of the Advisory Board for FORMAS: Tradeoffs between negative emissions and near-term emission reductions?

2022                           W3 Full Professorship “Environmental Sociology”/ University Augsburg

2020                            UFZ-Knowledge Transfer Prize 

2020                           Scoping Report of the IPBES Assessment of Transformative Change

2016-2021                  Steering committee of the Priority Programme (SPP DFG) 1689 climate engineering, GE

2007-2022                  Governing Council of the Science & Democracy Network, Harvard University, USA

1999                           National Science Fellowship for the Academic Year 1999/ 2000/ Harvard University, USA

1996 – 1999                Doctoral Fellowship by German Science Foundation (DFG), GE