Cooperation and Transformative Governance (CAT) aims to analyze governance systems addressing sustainability at different scales and to generate cooperative solutions.
Societal transitions caused by unprecedented technological innovations and industrial transformations, such as energy transitions or digitalisation, as well as environmental or health related crises require new effective governance approaches to handle inherent social dilemmas and wicked problems.
Transformative governance includes formal and informal institutions which are involved - at multiple scales - in responding to, managing, and triggering positive shifts in coupled social-ecological systems towards sustainability. A growing complexity of decision-making processes in modern society requires improved synchronization and coordination of different branches and levels of governance. Transformative governance faces two major challenges. First, the underlying difficulty of any transformative governance process is a social dilemma, that is a collective action situation when interests of separate individuals contradict interests of a community or society. Second, transformative governance involves with wicked problems – problems that are difficult or impossible to solve as they are characterized by incomplete information and contradicting and constantly evolving views and objectives of involved stakeholders and social groups.
Th CAT group focus is on wicked problems and social dilemmas in decision-making advancing appropriate methodologies and conducting a series of case studies. Areas of application include:
- Public health including COVID-19;
- Climate change and natural hazards,
- Biodiversity and ecosystems, including oceans;
- Societal transitions caused by technological innovations, industrial transformations or environmental changes; and
- Digital world and misinformation spread in the Internet.
The CAT group is using the following methods:
- cooperation models, including game-theoretical models for public good and common pool management with real-world complexities as well as bounded rationality, social heterogeneity, cultural dispositions, and institutional incentives;
- decision support systems accounting for multiple conflicting objectives; and
- methods to facilitate stakeholder dialogue, including participatory modelling, systems mapping, gamification, scenario planning.
The overarching methodological ambition of CAT’s work is to advance the practice of using models to understand and support decision making processes that are characterized by uncertainty, volatility, ambiguity and complexity.
CAT has a unique composition of researchers from a wide area range of disciplines that are fundamental for addressing its goals. The Research Group includes researchers from political sciences, mathematics, game theorists, behavioural economists, among others. The unique combination of deep disciplinary knowledge, a broad understanding of the practical challenges of transformative governance, and rigorous mathematical and systems-analytical focus is a strong basis for innovative work of high societal relevance. Extended networks of several young and senior scientists enables delivering real-world impact by addressing contested governance problems.