Sustainability Scientist

Dr. Lukas Fesenfeld

Research for Sustainability

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My teaching philosophy rests on the premise of maximizing the synergies between research and teaching. Ideally, research and teaching activities benefit from each other in multiple ways: On the one hand, students develop fresh perspectives about established theoretical and empirical research and collect new data to help advance research. On the other hand, innovative teaching motivates students to become multi-skilled researchers, the next generation of experts in climate policymaking, food system transformation, and skilled change agents for sustainability across society. To prepare motivating classes, I can build on my diverse teaching experience at the University of Bern, ETH Zurich, and at the Hertie School of Governance. My teaching experience comprises seminars and lectures on food system politics, political economy, and environmental politics, as well as methodology-focused classes in empirical social sciences, econometrics, and survey design. My personal experience with the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach at Maastricht University has inspired me to adopt an interactive and student-centered teaching approach. In my courses, I let students work together in small groups on concrete case studies to show them how they can apply theories to solve real world problems and design effective policies. In my classes, we often collaborate with practice-based partners from civil society, business, and administration to increase the transdisciplinary learning
experience and practical relevance of the teaching experience. I believe that this problem-based and student centered teaching approach supports the better retention of knowledge and skills and enhances students’ motivation and independence – all essential factors in the modern labor market. I am always striving to improve my own teaching skills. For instance, I have undergone advanced training on gamification in education.

My teaching interests evolve from my research on the political economy of climate mitigation and food system transformation that are at the intersection of political economy, behavioral public policy, and transition studies, as well as my methodological interest in the application and development of policy feasibility and impact evaluation tools. Through my teaching activities, I aim to provide bachelor, master and PhD students with a good understanding of

  • the political economy of climate mitigation and food system transformation
  • the coevolution of technological, behavioral, and policy innovations in the transformation of socio-technical systems
  • methods for evaluating the feasibility and impact of levers for triggering socio-technical tipping dynamics.


  • Politics of Food System Transformation and Introduction to Survey Research, University of Bern 2021, 2022: Lecturer (Master-level course; new course development)
  • Food Policy, Hertie School of Governance, 2021: Guest-Lecturer (Master-level course)
  • Designing Public Opinion Surveys and Experiments, ETH Zurich 2020, 2021: Lecturer (Master- and PhD-level course; new course development)
  • Methods for Empirical Social Sciences, ETH Zurich 2018, 2019: Lecturer and Tutor (Bachelor-level course)
  • Introduction to Political Science, ETH Zurich 2016, 2017, 2018: Lecturer and Tutor (Bachelor-level course)
  • International Environmental Politics, ETH Zurich 2016: Guest lecturer (Master-level course)
  • Advanced Econometrics (Statistics II), Hertie School of Governance 2015: Teaching assistant (Master-level course)