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Jasmin Interview



Dr. Jasmin Wiefek:
Technische Universität Berlin
Interdisciplinary Transformation and Sustainability Sciences

1.    What is your field of research?

I have a degree in psychology and completed my PhD in work and organizational psychology at the FU Berlin. My dissertation was an interdisciplinary study on social-ecological companies and possible connections between the socio-ecological efforts of the companies and the attitudes and behaviors of their employees. My research is part of socio-ecological transformation research.

At the TU Berlin, I work as a research associate at the Center for Technology and Society (ZTG). I am responsible for the formative evaluation of a transdisciplinary research project on the development of effective management tools for corporate biodiversity conservation. The project is a collaboration between several scientists and the companies Ritter Sport, Seeberger and FRoSTA. One of my tasks is to regularly discuss with the team what goals we are pursuing with the project and what impact we want to have. It's also about reflecting on whether we are actually achieving these goals and impacts, or whether we might need to do something differently in the project.

At the same time, I am responsible for the editorial work for td-academy.org, an online platform for transdisciplinary researchers.

2.    Why are you participating in "Berlin is looking for the Sciencefluencer 2024"?

I came across the program by chance via an information newsletter from TU Berlin. I love further education opportunities because I love discovering new things. Social media was an area that I knew was really important now, but I didn't know anything about it. That's why I applied. I was really happy when I was accepted, but I also had to laugh: I don't even have a smartphone!

So first of all, it was important for me to learn something about social media. But I also see that my active social media presence is a great opportunity to put my research results into practice and create more visibility for me and my collective, the “Club der guten Zukunft“. I founded the Club with other transformation scientists and we offer various formats to share our transformation expertise and encourage exchange in the transformation community, e.g. among managers who deal with socio-ecological issues in their daily work.


3.    What challenges do you face when you become a science influencer?

Social media has hardly played a role in my circle of friends and colleagues. The fact that I suddenly have a certain amount of visibility also creates some tension, because this visibility doesn't just affect me. My friends and colleagues are also becoming more visible to a certain extent, even though they may not want to be. Or they feel pressure to be more active on social media themselves, etc. I'm afraid I can only guess at the negative sides of greater visibility so far, but I think one should be aware that they exist.

4.    What are your most important findings in your particular field of research?

Socio-ecological and transdisciplinary research is about developing solutions for the challenges of our time. My research is particularly concerned with how companies can do business in a socio-ecological way. I think one important point is that there are no one-size-fits-all answers to this question. The sector in which a company operates plays just as important a role as the size of the company. When we talk about companies, we often think of large corporations. But 99% of companies in Europe are small and medium-sized enterprises. And in my opinion, these companies have long received too little attention in research on corporate sustainability. One of the most important points I can take away from my research is that socio-ecological companies are also profit-oriented. However, the companies I studied do not strive to maximize profits, but act in favour of their socio-ecological values under the premise that it is enough to generate "sufficient" profits. This „profit sufficiency“ is an important key, because it opens up the financial scope for socio-ecological commitment.

5.    What are your goals for the future?

I would like to establish even closer contact with sustainability professionals from companies, offer more targeted formats to share my expertise with them and work on transformation strategies together. I am also interested in issues relating to gender inequalities in care work and career opportunities. I am planning to develop a workshop concept together with a friend to empower women and contribute to certain transformation processes in these fields.

6.    Do you have a funny anecdote from the life of a researcher you can share?

In interdisciplinary cooperation, misunderstandings can sometimes arise because different disciplines understand the same terms differently. It took me a long time to understand that a colleague from sociology is not necessarily talking about money when he talks about capital...