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Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sina Leipold

Head of the chair



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)


ORCID: 0000-0001-5245-183X

Scopus ID: 55994151100


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Research & Expertise

Sina’s research is committed to providing path breaking insights into the governance of inter- and transnational resource flows and their biophysical impacts. To achieve this goal, her work draws upon strong expertise in political and social science theories and methods, complemented by environmental and engineering science approaches.

Since September 2016, Sina is heading the newly established research group “Circulus: Opportunities and Challenges of Transformation towards a Sustainable Circular Bio-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.


Professional Experience


Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney

Visiting Scholar


Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University

Visiting Scholar

From 04/2017

Department of Environment & Natural Resources, University of Freiburg

Assistant Professor & Principal Investigator of Research Group “Circulus: Opportunities & challenges of transition to a sustainable circular bio-economy” (2016-2021)


Ecological Economics Group, University of Economics & Business Vienna

Visiting Scholar


Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy, University of Freiburg

Principal Investigator of the Research Group “Circulus: Opportunities and challenges of transition to a sustainable circular bio-economy” & Lecturer (4 SWS)

09/2015– 08/2016

Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy,University of Freiburg

Postdoc & Lecturer (4 SWS)


Centre for International Politics, Organisation & Disarmament, Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), Visiting Scholar


Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University

Visiting PhD student

09/2012– 08/2015

Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy, University of Freiburg

Research Associate & PhD Candidate

01/2011– 06/2012

Division of Organic Farming, University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences Vienna

Research Associate


Evonik Industries Representative Office Brussels

Assistant to the Deputy Head



09/2012– 01/2016


Doctor of Philosophy on “Discursive Agency in Forest Policy - An Interpretive Analysis of the Politics of the Timber Legality Regime” at the University of Freiburg, Germany, Grade: Summa cum Laude, PhD committee: Prof. Georg Winkel (University of Freiburg), Prof. Benjamin Cashore (Yale University), Prof. Bas Arts (Wageningen University)

04/2008– 05/2010

M. A. Social Sciences from FLACSO Argentina & University of Freiburg

07/2008– 05/2009

Exchange student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, and FLACSO Argentina (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales), Buenos Aires, Argentina

10/2004– 09/2007

B.A. Political Science and History from Ruhr University Bochum


Grants, Awards & Recognition


2nd Price of the Deutsche Studienpreis (German Thesis Award), Körber Stiftung, awarded by the President of the German Parliament for an excellent dissertation with exceptional societal relevance, 430 applicants in 2017


Fast-Track Program, Robert Bosch Foundation, training program for excellence and leadership skills for outstanding women in science, 230 applicants in 2017


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


Academic Service


Guest Editor for the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning (together with Prof. Reiner Keller, Prof. Georg Winkel & Prof. Peter H. Feindt)

Since 2019

Member of the Board of Officers, Research Committee 38 “Politics and Business”, International Political Science Association

Since 2017

Co-Organizer of the Seminar Series “Freiburg Talks on Environment and Society”, University of Freiburg, with JProf. Stefan Pauliuk


Co-Organizer of the Seminar Series “Linking mind & environmental sustainability”, University of Freiburg, with Dr. Hendrik Stark


Jury Member for awarding a Best-Poster Award at the Forstwissenschaftliche Tagung, 2016 at the University of Freiburg


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


Journal reviewer for Nature Sustainability, Environmental Politics, Policy Studies Journal, Policy Sciences, Public Administration, Regulation and Governance, Resources Policy, Ecological Economics, Journal of Forest Economics, Forest Policy & Economics, International Forestry Review, Land Use Policy, Sustainability, Ecology and Society, Journal of Cleaner Production, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Politische Vierteljahresschrift.

Project reviewer for the German Research Foundation (DFG), Spanish State Agency for Research (BECA), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Convener of more than 15 conference sessions/workshops at the World Resources Forum (WRF), International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP 1-4), IPSA World Congress of Political Science, Circular Economy Disruptions Academic Symposium, U4 Social Sciences, Economics and Law (SSEL) Conference, IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress, Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (IPA), World Congress of Rural Sociology.