Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Knippschild lis head of the IZS since 2016 and is a University professor at the International Institute Zittau (IHI) at TUD Dresden University of Technology. He is a spatial planner, studied in Dortmund, Liverpool, Krakow and Warsaw and completed his doctorate at the Faculty of Spatial Planning at the Technical University of Dortmund. Among other things, Robert Knippschild has worked as a freelancer and held visiting and substitute professorships at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Brandenburg and the TUD Dresden University of Technology. He is particularly interested in urban and regional transformation processes and instruments for their management. He is a reviewer for several journals and research funders.
Contact: Phone Dresden: +49 351 4679 216, Phone Görlitz: +49 (0) 3581 7924791,

Sarah Deutscher has been a research associate at the IOER and the IZS since October 2022. In her doctoral thesis, she deals with questions of legitimacy and legitimation of the governance of sustainability transformations. The doctorate is embedded in the project TRUST - Transfer of Knowledge on Urban Sustainability Transformations: Towards climate-neutral cities 2030 - Görlitz as a pilot. Before joining the IOER, Sarah Deutscher worked as a research assistant and reviewer for sustainability reports in the German Sustainability Code project (German Council for Sustainable Development) at IHI Zittau.
She completed her Bachelor's degree in Intercultural Business Communication and Cultural History at the FSU Jena before pursuing her Master's degree in Business Ethics and Responsible Management at the IHI Zittau.
Contact: phone +49 351 4679 279,

Dr.-Ing. Katja Friedrich was already a research assistant at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development from 1999 to 2003 and has been back in the StadtumMig project since 2019. After training as a construction worker with the Abitur in Chemnitz and studying architecture in Dresden and Lisbon, she completed her doctorate in architectural theory on the topic of spatial appropriation at TUD Dresden University of Technology in 2011. Katja Friedrich taught at the TU Dresden at the Institute for Architectural History, Architectural Theory and Preservation of Monuments, at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz in the subject of urban development and in 2011 at the Technical University Irkutsk, also in the subject of urban development. Main research interests are: Appropriation of space (at home and in the city), architectural theory, urban regeneration, temporary architecture, gardening in the city.
Contact: Phone +49 351 4679 297,

Lamiaa Ghozis an architect, researcher, and urban designer with a Master's degree in Architectural Engineering. She has seven years of experience in the field of architecture, including teaching and research, as well as practical work. Her research interests lie at the intersection of cities, housing, sustainability innovation, and technological advancement. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Dresden Leibniz Graduate School, a joint program between the IOER and the TUD Dresden University of Technology.  She is working on the topic of Reuse of buildings within the framework of the Circular Economy. Her research aims at developing a multi criteria decision support framework that facilitates the decision-making process of ‘Reuse of buildings’ through communicating and coordinating the conflicting interests among diverse stakeholders utilizing digital tools.
Contact: Phone: +49 351 463 42348,

Sarah Hauck has been a secretary at the IZS since 2017 and also supports projects in the “Trial Residencies" series. In 2012, she began training as a real estate agent at KommWohnen Service GmbH in Görlitz and, after her training period, supported the "Trial Residence" project, among others
Contact: Phone +49 3581 7924790,

Dr. Sebastian Heer has been a senior researcher at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development since 2018. After studying political science, law and modern history at TUD Dresden University of Technology and in Auckland, he completed his doctorate in 2012, funded by a scholarship from the Saxon Scholarship Programme for Talented Students. Before joining the IZS, he worked in research and cooperation projects on governance, institutional analysis and the construction of social order. His research interests include institutional and social transformation processes, institutional structure, function and development analyses, construction processes of social reality as well as the breakdown of political decision-making processes and their structural contexts. Scientific advice to actors from the parliamentary, executive and administrative spheres plays a special role in his work.
Contact: Phone +49 351 4679 193,

Ritu George Kaliaden is an architect with a masters in International cooperation and urban development. She has eight years of professional experience working with non-Profits, research organisations and consultancies in India and abroad. Her area of focus has been urban development in developing countries including topics such as housing, sustainable livelihoods, migration, advocacy and urban governance. Ritu is currently pursuing her PhD in Urban Transformation. Her research examines international skilled migration in peripheral urban areas and how this contributes to sustainable urban transformation. Drawing on the concept of place attachment, she investigates how place characteristics influence attachment and settlement decisions among skilled international migrants in the city of Görlitz. Using a qualitative approach, she aims to develop deeper insights into how this group navigates the physicaland social landscape of peripheral cities. Through her work she aims to contribute to the city's sustainable development strategies which focus on attracting and retaining international talent.
Contact: Phone +49 3581 7924794,

Since 2017, Bettina Knoop works as a research assistant at IZS via the International Institute (IHI) Zittau of TUD Dresden University of Technology. She holds a German-French double degree in International Tourism Management (B.A.) and a Master’s degree in Geography. Before joining the IZS-team, Bettina Knoop was a research assistant at the Chair of Human Geography at the University of Passau. Her research is focused on socio-spatial dynamics in a context of urban shrinkage and peripherization. In her current PhD project, she is analysing socio-spatial mechanisms behind the production of urbanity in shrinking cities.
Contact: Phone +49 3581 7924794,

Annica Kögler started in 2020 as a research assistant at the Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development in the Transformation Lusatia project, which was also based at the IZS. In 2022, she returned to the Institute, this time as part of the TRUST project, to which her doctorate is now linked to. Her work at the IOER followed on from her studies in Spatial Development and Natural Resource Management at the TU Dresden, which she completed after her bachelor's  degree in Landscape and Open Space Development at the HTW Dresden. Parallel to her studies Annica Kögler worked in the fields of sustainable urban development, urban community and education with a focus on urban gardening. Today, she analyses her experiences from a sociological perspective with regard to social transformation. The research focus of her doctoral thesis is on co-creative process dynamics in transition governance and the role of science.
Contact: Phone +49 351 4679 237,

Linda Maiwald has been a research associate at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development and the IZS since 2022. She coordinates the project “TRUST - Transfer of Knowledge on Urban Sustainability Transformations: Towards Climate Neutral Cities 2030 - Görlitz as a pilot”. Linda Maiwald studied Political Science (B.A.) and History (B.A.) in Leipzig before pursuing her research interest in climate policy and environmental economics in Utrecht (Netherlands) in the Sustainable Development M.Sc. programme. Today, her work and research focuses on management transition, sustainability concepts, resource management as well as regional and urban development.
Contact: Phone +49 3581 7924795,

Dr.-Ing. Stefanie Rößler has been a research associate at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development since 2003 and a senior researcher and project manager at the IZS since 2014. After studying landscape architecture at TUD Dresden University of Technology she completed her doctorate at the Faculty of Architecture of TUD in 2009. Her dissertation was funded by a doctoral scholarship from the German Federal Environmental Foundation. Her research focuses on formal and informal instruments of urban and green space planning, instruments of urban regeneration, green spaces and demographic change and green space planning for climate adaptation. Stefanie Rößler has a lectureship at TUD in the Master's programme Spatial Development and Natural Resource Management and is active as a reviewer for scientific journals and funding agencies.
Contact: Phone +49 351 4679 191,

Dr. rer. nat. Constanze Zöllter has been a research associate at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development since 2015. After studying geography in Dresden and Venice, she completed her dissertation at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the TUD Dresden University of Technology in 2023 on the topic of location decisions in shrunken medium-sized cities in peripheral locations. Her research focuses on the revitalization of shrunken cities, urban regeneration and inner-city development as well as transdisciplinary research and real-world laboratory approaches in small and medium-sized cities. Since 2023, she has also been a member of the Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association - ARL (Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Sachsen/Sachsen-Anhalt/Thüringen).
Contact: Phone +49 3581 7924792,