Professor Ortwin Renn

Prof. Ortwin Renn is a social scientist focusing on risk governance. He retired as scientific director at the International Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam (Germany) in December 2022 and serves as a professor emeritus for environmental sociology and technology assessment at the University of Stuttgart. He directs the non-profit company DIALOGIK, a research institute for the investigation of communication and participation processes. Renn is Adjunct Professor for “Integrated Risk Analysis” at Stavanger University (Norway), Honorary Professor at the Technical University Munich and Affiliate Professor for “Risk Governance” at Beijing Normal University. His research interests include risk governance (analysis, perception, communication), stakeholder and public involvement in environmental decision making, transformation processes in economics, politics and society and sustainable development.

Ortwin Renn has a doctoral degree in social psychology from the University of Cologne. His career includes teaching and research positions at Clark University (Worcester, USA), the Swiss Institute of Technology (Zuerich) and the Center of Technology Assessment (Stuttgart). His honours include the National Cross of Merit Order, honorary doctorates from the Swiss Institute of Technology and the Midsweden University, the “Outstanding Research Award” of the Society for Integrated Disaster and Risk Management (IDRiM) and the “Distinguished Achievement Award” of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). In 2019, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the State of Baden-Württemberg for special achievements in scientific policy advice. 

Renn is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences “Leopoldina”, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (Berlin), and of the Board of Directors of the German National Academy of Technology and Engineering (Acatech). He chairs the Sustainability Council of the State of Brandenburg and the associated sustainability platform in which ca 170 sustainability initiatives are organized. In 2011 he served on the Ethics Commission "The Future of Energy" appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Until 2014, he was a member of the "Science and Technology Advisory Council", an advisory body for EU Commission’s President Jose Manuel Barroso.

 Renn has published more than 30 monographs and over 250 peer reviewed articles. His most prominent English publication is the book “Risk Governance. Coping with Uncertainty in a Complex World (London: Earthscan 2008).