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Universität Osnabrück
Institut für Geographie
Forschungszentrum Institut für Umweltsystemforschung
Barbarastr. 12
49076 Osnabrück

Room 66/E22
Tel: +49 541 969 3122
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Dr. Laura Mae Jacqueline Herzog

I'm a postdoctoral researcher interested in the transformation pathways towards sustainable interactions of human and nature in so-called social-ecological systems and the question of how transformation processes in society come about. I work predominantly inter- and transdisciplinary and focus on aquatic ecosystems.

I am member of the working group Resources Management


Scientific Outreach


Research Interests

  • Participatory processes, scenario development & transformation pathways
  • Human-nature relations and their impact on the way we treat the environment
  • Influence of land use practices and climate change on aquatic ecosystems
  • Dynamics of social-ecological systems
  • Environmental governance & water management


  • participatory modelling
  • interviews & surveys
  • comparative case study analysis
  • causal loop diagrams
  • Social Network Analysis
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Illustration of my research by Cristian Olmos Herrera


I conduct research on digitalization in the water sector of Lower Saxony as part of the Zukunftslabor Wasser. Here, I am particularly interested in how digital applications can make our use of water more sustainable. And I study transformation processes regarding the use and protection of peatlands in the Verbundvorhaben MOOSland. In our work packages, my team and me a) investigate the transformation process towards rewetted peatlands together with regional stakeholders and b) take care of the knowledge transfer of the project's findings and their integration into teaching material and exhibition modules.

Previously, I assessed future scenarios of lake management at lake Dümmer within the LimnoScenES project. To this end, I conducted a participatory process with regional stakeholders.

As a researcher interested in societal transformation and transdisciplinary research methods, I was member of the 3rd cohort of the PostDoc Academy for Transformational Leadership of the Robert Bosch Stiftung (2020-2022). Moreover, I am founding member of the Working Group on Governance of Social-Ecological Systems of the Earth System Governance network.

At Osnabrück University, I am representative of the mid-level faculty staff in the faculty council of Fachbereich 1 Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften for the term 2024-2026.

I was member of the scientific advisory board of two research projects: BaltAqua strived to advance cooperation by initiating a dialogue and building a Partner Network between German and Baltic actors in the water sector; the project "Participatory visioning for collective action in natural resource management" investigated the participatory visioning (PVB) approach and its implications for the (over)use of natural resources.

I received my PhD from the University of Bern where I was a research assistant at the Chair of Policy Analysis and Environmental Governance. During this time, I worked in an interdisciplinary research project (CrossWater) together with researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER). The project focused on the regulation and the extent of micro-pollutants in the river Rhine, combining concepts from policy analysis with mass flow analysis and perspectives from economic geography.

In my PhD research, I investigated cooperation among actors involved in the cause and the regulation of the common-pool resource (CPR) problem of micro-pollutants in the surface water of the river Rhine. I analyzed the cooperation networks of stakeholders in three sub-catchments of the Rhine: the Ruhr basin, the Moselle basin on Luxembourgian and German territory, and the Rhine catchment around the city of Basel. I found that at an early stage of CPR management, actors' perception of the CPR problem plays a crucial role for cooperation to start. At a later stage, once the CPR problem is known and measures to tackle it are under way, it's the institutional setting, more precisely actors' participation in forums, that consolidates cooperation between actors. Moreover, the intensity of information exchange and the density of cooperation among actors showed to be quite similar across the cases and across the different stages of CPR management.     

I gained my diploma in political science at the Otto-Suhr-Institut (OSI), Freie Universität Berlin. In my studies, I focused on CPR problems and environmental conflicts due to landgrabbing and mining, applied concepts of political ecology, and studied the concepts of human security and Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in post-war settings. In my diploma's thesis, I analyzed the local mobilization of social movements at two Peruvian mining sites, applying social movement theory.

Research Projects


Zukunftslabor Wasser

LimnoScenES project

I signed the statement concerning the protests for more climate protection.
For the activities of Scientists4Future in Osnabrück, see our web page and our ongoing lecture series.