The ESD Competence Centre is a joint project implemented by three partners: Deutsches Jugendinstitut – DJI (German Youth Institute), Transferagentur Kommunales Bildungsmanagement Niedersachsen (Transfer Agency for Local Education Management in Lower Saxony) and Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung – UFZ (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research).
German Youth Institute (DJI)
The German Youth Institute is a social science research institute that combines science, policy-making and on-the-ground expertise. Building on empirical research, it provides the Federal Government, the Länder, municipalities and experts with policy advice on the living conditions of children, young people and families. This includes taking into view all educational stages and transitions from early childhood education to school and vocational training to non-formal and informal learning settings.
The German Youth Institute has been conducting research on local education landscapes, regional transition management and municipal education management for several years. Two transfer agencies have been based at the DJI since 2014: TransMit, which is responsible for projects in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, and the Transferagentur Bayern, which handles initiatives in Bavaria. Through this work, the DJI has been able to build extensive expertise in evaluating and transferring best-practice data-based municipal education management approaches, as well as in supporting municipal administrations in implementing data-based municipal education management systems (including education marketing and public relations).
This knowledge is complemented by the experience that the German Youth Institute has gathered across various educational fields that are closely linked to ESD (including non-formal and informal learning, digitalisation).
Transfer Agency for Local Education Management in Lower Saxony
Founded in 2014, the Transferagentur Kommunales Bildungsmanagement Niedersachsen is largely funded by municipalities, the State of Lower Saxony and civil society and social policy actors. Its aim is to strengthen local education. To this end, it supports municipal actors working in the field of education in developing their data-based education management and supports them in developing and making accessible a coherent and coordinated educational programme.
Thanks to the structure of the agency and its committees (boards and member base) the agency’s network not only includes ESD institutions outside Lower Saxony, but also individuals who act as outspoken advocates. The agency and its members have built a strong socio-political and municipal network and have extensive experience in designing educational landscapes at the municipal level, which they have accumulated through projects such as “Learning Regions” (Lernende Regionen) and “Learning Locally” (Lernen vor Ort). Now in its fifth year, the agency has acquired extensive dedicated and methodological expertise in facilitating municipal processes.
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research is a leading integrated environmental and sustainability research institution with an innovative scientific infrastructure and an extensive national and international network of collaborating institutions. This allows the UFZ to develop hands-on, science-led solutions to tackle contemporary environmental challenges. The Helmholtz Association developed its own sustainability concept in the 1990-2000s, to which the UFZ contributed significantly. In the 2000s, this concept was adapted and operationalised for the municipal level, thus providing local actors with specific indicators as benchmarks for different policy areas such as Education for Sustainable Development. Since 2014, urban research at the UFZ has been part of the project “Urban Transformations: Sustainable urban development through resource efficiency, quality of life and resilience”, and has focused on climate change and climate adaptation (post-fossil and resilient cities). The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ has been conducting research on sustainability, specifically on sustainable urban development, since the 1990s.