Institut für Umweltsystemforschung

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Universität Osnabrück
Institut für Umweltsystemforschung
Barbarastr. 12
49076 Osnabrück

Raum 66/E10
Tel: +49 541 969 2297
Fax: +49 541 969 2599

Dr. Johannes Halbe

Dipl.-Ing., B.A. Econ.

Resource Management Group

Research Interests

  • Governance of co-transformation processes towards sustainable water, food and energy supply systems (transforming the water-energy-food nexus)
  • Integrated modeling and assessment of sustainability visions
  • Participatory model building using system thinking, system dynamics modeling and fuzzy cognitive mapping
  • Methodologies for case-specific design and evaluation of participatory processes
  • Analysis of socio-cultural contexts and opportunities for institutionalization of participatory processes

Recent Publications

Halbe, J., Pahl-Wostl, C. & Adamowski, J., 2018. A methodological framework to support the initiation, design and institutionalization of participatory modeling processes in water resources management. Journal of Hydrology 556, 701-716. Link to Article

  • This article presents a stepwise methodological framework that addresses the challenges of context-sensitive initiation, design and institutionalization of participatory modeling processes.
  • The methodological framework consists of five successive stages: (1) problem framing and stakeholder analysis, (2) process design, (3) individual modeling, (4) group model building, and (5) institutionalized participatory modeling.
  • A case study on water quality management in Québec is provided.

Halbe, J., Knüppe, K., Knieper, C. & Pahl-Wostl, C., 2018. Towards an integrated flood management approach to address trade-offs between ecosystem services: Insights from the Dutch and German Rhine, Hungarian Tisza, and Chinese Yangtze basins. Journal of Hydrology 559, 984-994. Link to Article

  • The article analyses how flood management has dealt with trade-offs between ecosystem services and practical constrains towards more ecosystem-based solutions.
  • The evolution of flood management and impacts on ecosystem services are analyzed in four case studies in the Dutch and German Rhine, the Hungarian Tisza, and the Chinese Yangtze basins during the last decades.
  • Results show a trend in flood management practice towards the combination of different paradigms under the umbrella of integrated flood management, which aims at utilizing synergies between ecosystem services and finding the most suitable solution depending on the respective regional conditions.

Halbe, J., 2016. Governance of Transformations towards Sustainable Development - Facilitating Multi-Level Learning Processes for Water, Food and Energy Supply. Dissertation, University of Osnabrück. Link to Dissertation

  • A multi-level learning framework has been developed that conceptualizes learning at different societal levels as specific learning contexts ranging from individual and group contexts to organizational and policy contexts.
  • Based upon the conceptual framework, a methodology for the identification and analysis of case-specific intervention points for sustainability transitions at multiple societal levels was developed. The methdology focuses on sustainability innovations to identify opportunities for practical interventions for overcoming implementation barriers of innovation. A temporal analysis and design of transition governance processes also supports the proactive planning as well as monitoring of transition processes.
  • The results demonstrate that all societal levels play an important role in sustainability transitions. Individuals, groups, organizations and policy actors can support sustainability transitions in a self-reliant way (i.e., endogenous factors). Most learning factors however require cooperation between actors from different societal levels. The methodology presented allows for the analysis and design of these interlinkages between learning contexts.

All Publications


  • Participatory Modeling (winter terms 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)

    Concepts: Transformative research; Transdisciplinarity; Social learning; Group model buidling, Mediated modeling
    Methods:            Role playing games; Systems Thinking; System Dynamics; Fuzzy Cogintive Mapping; Serious Games
    Course design: Lectures, Exercises, Transdisciplinary project on a local issue (e.g., strategies to support cycling in the city; renewable energy management; food awareness)

  • Social Network Analysis (summer term 2017)

    Goal: Development of methodological expertise in social network analysis
    Application areas:Natural resources and disaster management; Sustainability transitions; Ecosystem analysis and management

  • Environmental Risk Assessment (summer terms 2013, 2015, 2017)

    Lectures:Flood and drought management
    Exercises:Hydrological modeling (HEC-HMS); Hydraulic modeling (HEC-RAS); Bayesian networks (Netica); Role playing game on risk perceptions regarding electromagnetic pollution

  • Seminar on scientific writing and presentation (winter term 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Seminar on "Uncertainties in Resource Management" (winter term 2011): Typology of uncertainties; Adaptive resource management; Approaches to deal with uncertainties in environmental modeling
  • Transitions in Human-Technology-Environment Systems (summer term 2011): Problem-based learning on sustainability transitions

Supervised Theses


Anouk Firle (M.Sc.): "Sustainability transitions in the digital age - Participatory modeling to identify intervention points for implementing sustainable digital innovations"

Willem Rill (M.Sc.): "How Can System Dynamics Transform Society? Integrated Strategy Development for the System Dynamics Society"

Nikkola Lenski (M.Sc.): "Nachhaltigkeitspotenziale der digitalen Transformation - quantitative Analyse eines Mittelstandsunternehmens" (second supervisor, first supervisor: Prof. Sandra Rosenberger University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück)

Fabian Vormann (M.Sc.): "Nutzung von Ökosystemdienstleistungen in der Raumplanung zur Erhöhung der Klimaresilienz im Landkreis Friesland"


Nils Eikemeier (M.Sc.): "A Participatory Modeling Approach to understanding the Role of Social, Demographic and Cultural Issues in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus – Application to a Case Study in the Zambezi River Basin"

Simon Hötten (B.Sc.): "Taking participatory modeling online - Design of an interactive web application supporting social learning"

Julian Maguhn (M.Sc.): "Vielfalt auf bäuerlichen Höfen - Dimensionen und Chancen landwirtschaftlicher Produkt(ions)vielfalt jenseits des Weltmarkts" (second supervisor, first supervisor: Prof. Reinhard Pfriem, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg)

Ursula Jehle (M.Sc.): "Die Relevanz von lokalem Wissen im Hochwassermanagement – Vergleichende Fallstudie in Georgsmarienhütte und Grenzach-Wyhlen"

Hagen Daum (M.Sc.): "Integrierte Bewertung der Postwachstumsgesellschaft auf Basis des World3-Modells"

Stefan Gausling (M.Sc.): "Systemtechnologie Power-to-Gas als integratives Element der Energiewende - Technikfolgenabschätzung unter Verwendung  von System Dynamics"

Sebastian Weide (M.Sc.): "Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping zur Analyse von kognitiven Hindernissen der Energiewende im Raumwärmebereich – Warum bleibt die energetische Sanierungsrate hinter ihren Erwartungen zurück?"

Christina Velonis (M.Sc.): "Der Water-Food-Energy Nexus in Zypern – Intersektorale Analyse zur Bestimmung nachhaltiger Entwicklunsgpfade"