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Sina Leipold

JProf. Dr. Sina Leipold

Assistant Professor & Pl of the Research Group Circulus




Tennenbacher Str. 4

D - 79106 Freiburg i. Br.

  (+49 761) 203 - 8678
Gemoji image for :fax (+49 761) 203 -3705

Office 04022a (Herder Building, 4th floor)



Find my work online at Project Circulus | Seminar Series Linking Mind and Environmental Sustainability | Google Scholar  | ResearchGate

Research & Expertise

Sina’s research focuses on the question how we can transform our current natural resource economy to sustainability. To find answers to this question, she strives to build a deeper understanding of the interrelations between economic activity, its biophysical impacts, and its governance. Her work has a specific focus on the national and international regulation of illegal logging and related trade, discourse analysis theories and methods, and the transformation towards a sustainable circular economy.

Since September 2016, she is heading the newly established research group “Circulus: Opportunities and Challenges of Transformation towards a Sustainable Circular Economy”. The interdisciplinary group aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the emergence and potential pathways of a circular economy in Europe and beyond. It asks how the circular economy is discursively constructed in Germany, Europe, and beyond and what material change processes are connected to it. To achieve integrated insights into political, economic, and societal change processes, the group combines perspectives from political science, sociology, economics, and engineering/industrial ecology. The group is funded as “Nachwuchsforschungsgruppe” by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the programme “Bioökonomie als gesellschaftlicher Wandel”.

Prior to her work in Freiburg, Sina researched for two years on the interrelation of sustainability and spirituality at the Division of Organic Farming, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (Austria) Since then, she kept a constant interest in the role of the mind in environmental sustainability and co-organized the seminar series “Linking Mind and Environmental Sustainability” together with Dr. Hendrik Stark in Freiburg.

Work Experience

Since 04/2017

Assistant Professor at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg


Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Ecological Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria)


Research Group Leader & Lecturer at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy (Germany)


Postdoc & Lecturer at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy (Germany)

09/2012 – 08/2015

Research Associate at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy (Germany)

03/2014 – 05/2014

Visiting Fellow at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Centre for International Politics, Organisation & Disarmament (India)

09/2013 – 12/2013

Visiting PhD at Yale University, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (USA)

01/2011 – 06/2012

Research Associate at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Division of Organic Farming (Austria)

06/2009 – 11/2009

Assistant to the Deputy Head of Evonik Industries Representative Office (Belgium)

01/2008 – 04/2008

Assistant to the German Representation of the European Commission, Internship (Germany)

08/2006 – 09/2006

Project Assistant at North-South department, Service Civil International, Internship (Germany)




Doctor of Philosophy, summa cum laude, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg (Germany)

Thesis: “Discursive Agency in Forest Policy - An Interpretive Analysis of the Politics of the Timber Legality Regime” 


Master of Arts in Social Sciences from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Argentina) and Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg (Germany)


Semester abroad, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India)


Semester abroad, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) (Argentina)


Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences and History from Ruhr University Bochum (Germany)


Grants & Awards


“Deutsche Studienpreis” (Körber Stiftung), 2nd price in the category "social science"


Sustainability Visiting Expert Grant (The World Academy of Science)


Group of Young Researchers’ Grant (German Ministry of Education and Research)


Defense of PhD with highest honor (summa cum laude)


Goethe-Institut Research & Academic Exchange Grant Programme "Scholars in Residence"


German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Conference Scholarship



Since 2014         

Since 2016

Since 2012

Since 2015


International Public Policy Association

Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft

SciNet (Network for Young Scientists at the University of Freiburg)

Graduate School “Environment, Society and Global Change” at the University of Freiburg


cademic Service

Reviewer for Policy Sciences, Land Use Policy, Policy Studies Journal, Public Administration, Environmental Politics, Sustainability, Forest Policy and Economics, Ecological Economics, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning (guest editor and reviewer), Resources Policy, Journal of Forest Economics, International Forestry Review, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (German Journal of Political Science), Politische Vierteljahresschrift (German Quarterly Political Bulletin).

Session co-convener at international conferences, including International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP) 2015, Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (IPA)  2015 &2013, World Congress of Rural Sociology 2012, IUFRO World Congress 2017, World Congress of International Political Science Association (IPSA) 2017.

Member of Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Illegal Timber Trade, participating in the creation of the Global Scientific Rapid Response Assessment Report “Illegal Logging and Related Timber Trade – Dimensions, Drivers, Impacts and Responses”

Voluntary Commitment

Since 2016

Co-Organizer (together with Hendrik Stark) of the multidisciplinary Seminar “Linking Mind and Environmental Sustainability”, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg (Germany)


Elected Representative of the General Assembly of Doctoral Candidates of the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg (Germany)


Elected Representative in the Doctoral Committee of the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg (Germany)