Senior Fellow

Prof. Dr Andreas Thiel

Current Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel: +49 (0)203 379-5247
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: thiel@spam


Prof. Dr Andreas Thiel joins the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Research Fellow from April 2018 to March 2019. He conducts his research in the Research Unit "Global Cooperation and Polycentric Governance".

Research Project at the Centre

Polycentric Transnational Governance Analysis

My project develops an analysis of polycentric governance against the background of engaging with water governance, one of the traditional fields of such analyses (Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) 1987; Schlager, Blomquist 2008; Garrick 2015; Thiel 2015). I re-visit the traditional writings by the Ostroms (Ostrom, Ostrom 1999) on polycentricity, build a coherent set of concepts from this work, and associate theories that help us understand the shape and performance of polycentric water governance. This is also the way I aim to develop the analytical framework for studying polycentric governance, which moves beyond the traditional fields of application. I build on this previous work and develop it further. I want to develop polycentric governance as a broader analytical framework also in the realm of transnational and global governance, to define its components, to spell out what theoretical and methodological instruments could be associated with it, and to scope out its limits.
With this aim in mind, I suggest to examine and develop polycentricity through concept, framework, and theory development that is iteratively interconnected with understanding several, highly relevant empirical processes in global and transnational climate governance. Particularly, following an in-depth review of the application of the framework of polycentricity in the international and global spheres, I suggest to address the nexus between transnational governance of agricultural value chains, climate change mitigation and sustainability.

Research Interests

  • Polycentricity
  • Institutional Change and Constitutional Rules in Environmental and Water Governance
  • International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance
  • Water Resources Management
  • Institutional Analysis

Current Projects

  • STEER: Steuerungskompetenz zur Erreichung der Ziele eines integrierten Wassermanagements [Increasing Good Governance to Achieve the Objective of Integrated Water Resource Management]
  • BioWAT I - Ressourcenmanagement in den salz- und trockenstressgeprägten Bewässerungsgebieten Zentralasiens zur Adaption an den Klimawandel [Ressources Management in the Salinized and Drought-Stress Endangered Irrigation Areas of Central Asia for Adapting to Climate Change]
  • The Conceptualization and Evaluation of Polycentricity of Social-Ecological Systems


since 04/2016 University of Kassel
Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences
Department for International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance
04/2012-03/2016 Humboldt University, Berlin
Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture
Department of Agricultural Economics
Visiting Professor
01/2007-11/2007 Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (Seville)
Unit: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development
Research Fellow
12/2007-03/2012 Humboldt University, Berlin</strong
Division of Resource Economics
Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture
Department of Agricultural Economics
Lecturer (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter and Habilitand)
03/2005-12/2006 Humboldt University, Berlin
Division of Resource Economics
Department of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences
Research and Teaching Fellow (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter)
01/2001-03/2005 Oxford Brookes University, UK
Ph.D. Dissertation: Environmental Policy Integration and the Development of Water Use in the Algarve, Since Portugal's Accession to the EU
09/2003-09/2004 Oxford Brookes University, UK
Course on Teaching in Higher Education
Certificate for Associate Teaching in Higher Education
01/2001-03/2005 Oxford Brookes University, UK
Ph.D. Student, part-time teaching
10/1999-09/2000 Oxford Brookes University, UK
M.Sc. European Environmental Spatial Planning Distinction
Master Thesis in collaboration with Technische Universität Berlin
Title of Thesis: Potential of Economic Instruments for the Coordination of Transboundary Water Use in the EU - the Case of Water Sharing on the Iberian Peninsula
04/1994-09/2000 Technische Universität, Berlin
M.Sc. Economics (Diplom Volkswirt), average grade: 1,8, Thesis (Diplomarbeit grade 1,0)
Major Subjects: Environmental and Resource Economics, Infrastructure Policy and Transportation Markets, Public Finance, Sectoral Planning

Selected Publications

Roggero, M.; Thiel, A. (2017): Adapting as Usual: Integrative and Segregative Institutions Shaping Adaptation to Climate Change in Local Public Administrations, Journal of Institutional Economics, pp. 1-22. DOI: 10.1017/S1744137417000418.

Thiel, A. (2017): The Scope of Polycentric Governance Analysis and Resulting Challenges, Journal of Self-Governance and Management Economics 5 (3), pp. 52-82. DOI: 10.22381/JSME5320173.

Thiel, A.; Schleyer, C.; Hinkel J.; Schlüter, M.; Hagedorn, K.; Bisaro S.; Bobojonov I., and Hamidov, A. (2016): Transferring Williamson’s Discriminating Alignment to the Analysis of Environmental Governance of Social-Ecological Interdependence, Ecological Economics 128, pp. 159-168. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.04.018

Thiel, A.; Adamseged, M.E.; Baake, C. (2015): Evaluating an Instrument for Institutional Crafting: How Ostrom's Social–Ecological Systems Framework is Applied, Environmental Science & Policy 53 (B) pp. 152-164. DOI:10.1016/j.envsci.2015.04.020.

Thiel, A. (2015): Constitutional State Structure and Scalar Re-Organisation of Natural Resource Governance: the Transformation of Polycentric Water Governance in Spain, Portugal and Germany, Land Use Policy 45, pp.176-188, DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.01.012

Thiel, A. (2014): Developing an Analytical Framework for Reconstructing the Scalar Reorganisation of Water Governance as Institutional Change: the Case of Southern Spain, Ecological Economics 107, pp.378-391. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.09.007

Thiel, A. (2013): Scalar Reorganisation of Marine Governance in Europe? The Implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in Spain, Portugal and Germany, Marine Policy 39, pp. 322–332. DOI:10.1016/j.marpol.2012.11.002

Thiel, A. (2012): Developing Institutional Economics for the Analysis of Social-Ecological Systems. (Habilitationsschrift) Berlin: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Thiel, A. (2010): Constructing a Strategic, National Resource: European Policies and the Up-Scaling of Water Services in the Algarve, Portugal, Environmental Management 46(1), pp. 44-59. DOI:10.1007/s00267-010-9498-y

Thiel, A. (2009): Environmental Policy Integration and the Development of Water Use in the Algarve, Since Portugal’s accession to the EU. Aachen: Shaker.

Seminars and Conferences

  • Thiel, A. (2018) Polycentricity and agri-environmental governance. Universität Kassel, Breakfast talks, 25. January 2018
  • Thiel, A. (2017) Polycentricity and natural resource governance. Universität Osnabrück, Systemwissenschaftlichen Kolloquium. 1. November 2017
  • Thiel, A. (2017) Polyzentrische Governance und Ökologische Landwirtschaft: eine fruchtbare Gegenüberstellung? Antrittsvorlesung am Fachbereich 11 der Universität Kassel, 5.5.2017
  • Thiel, A. (2016) Polycentricity and conceptual, methodological and empirical research impressions on the WEF nexus. Trier - Trier, WEF ACADEMY – 5. October 2016
  • Thiel, A. (2016): Die Institutionenökonomie der Anpassung an den Klimawandel - und die organisatorische Anpassung deutscher Kommunen. CESR, CliMA und Umweltnetzwerk der Universität Kassel. 23 May 2016.
  • Thiel, A. (2016): Studying polycentricity through discriminating alignment of governance of ecosystem services? The cases of water and biodiversity in Europe. IRSTEA - TR DTAM “Public policy” Seminar Questioning the local implementation of EU environmental and sustainable development policy, Irstea Bordeaux, March, 11th 2016.
  • Thiel, A. Swyngedouw, E. Wedekind, J. (Session organizers) (2016): Un-disciplining Social-Ecological Systems: Where is the political in pursuit of a polycentric society? Can we theorise it and craft ways to address it? Undisciplined Environments. International Conference of the European Network of Political Ecology (ENTITLE) 20-24 March 2016 | Stockholm.
  • Thiel, A. Roggero, M. (2015): The institutional economics of climate change adaptation: modeling uncertainty and needs for coordination in multi-scalar collective action. 15th Biannual International Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, Edmonton Alberta, 25- 29 May 2015.
  • Thiel, A., Blomquist, B. Malik, A. (Session organizers) (2015): Grounding polycentric governance: constitutional rules, the characteristics of social problems and their illustration in water management. 15th Biannual International Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, Edmonton Alberta, 25- 29 May 2015.
  • Thiel, A., Blomquist, B. Malik, A. (Session organizers) (2015): Grounding polycentric governance: constitutional rules, the characteristics of social problems and their illustration in water management. Second International Conference on Public Policy (ICPP) Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy, 1st-3rd July, 2015.
  • Thiel, A. (2015): Water Governance in the Mena region - Water Scarcity in Middle East North Africa: Challenges and Chances for Water Science Cooperation OpenSpace workshop on Water Scarcity in the MENA region 6th WRHC | 17/18 June 2015 - Berlin.
  • Thiel A. (2015): Social Ecological Systems Governance Theory & Frameworks. Workshop HNR & Governance of Socio-Ecological Systems in Mountain Areas May 4-8, 2015, Lungau, Austria.


  • Affiliated Faculty, Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University
  • Member of Editorial Board: International Journal of the Commons
  • Arab-German Young Academy of Science and Technology (AGYA)
  • Board member of SLE – Centre for Rural Development, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Member Steering Committee WINS – Berlin Workshop in Institutional Analysis of Social-Ecological Systems at the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC)
  • Vereinigung für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung (VÖW) German Association for Ecological Economic Research – Board Member 2008-2011
  • Deutscher Hochschulverband (DHV) German Association of University Professors and Lecturers
  • Gewisola (Gesellschaft für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften des Landbaus)


  • 12/2011 Einstein Stiftung Berlin, Einstein Junior Fellow for the period 04/2012 - 05/2015
  • 01/2001-12/2004 Economic and Social Research Council and Oxford Brookes University, UK, Ph.D. scholarship, fees and subsistence
  • 12/2000 Oxford Brookes University, Barton Willmore Prize for best dissertation of year 2000

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