Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean"

Understanding the ocean — sustaining our future

The ocean. It covers more than two thirds of our planet and therefore plays a pivotal role in achieving the sustainable future of humanity. How does the ocean control climate and environment at transitions of warming? How can living and non-living ocean resources be exploited in a sustainable or low impact manner by striking an appropriate balance between ocean use and ocean protection?


Within the Kiel Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" marine scientists across eight faculties at Kiel University and three partner institutions are dedicating themselves to these and further questions. Collectively they cover the disciplines of ocean science, geography, mathematics, nanoscience, life science, applied mathematics, informatics and engineering, environmental economics, international law, political science, theology, philosophy, and environmental ethics.

The Kiel Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" builds on the achievements of a first funding phase (2006-2011). The first phase of the cluster focused on investigating ocean change and re-evaluating both the ocean's potential and the risks posed by the ocean. The current phase of the cluster (2012 – 2017) focuses on achieving a deeper interdisciplinary understanding of the ocean system, predicting possible future states of the ocean, and developing improved ocean management regimes. Currently, the cluster is evolving towards a concept that acknowledges the complexity of societal demands on the ocean and the intricacy of the society-environment interactions that need to be clearly understood if humanity is to live sustainably with the oceans.

Cluster institutions:

The Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" (1. phase 2006-2011, 2. phase 2012-2017/19) is supported within the framework of the "excellence initiative" of the German Research Foundation (DFG) on behalf of the German government and the federal states of Germany.

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Research Topics