Sea, Science and Society

Sustainability and environment

How can we best collaborate to ensure and enable a just and sustainable transition while protecting our ocean?

Transitions and changes can create opportunities but also conflicts and friction. So how can we best collaborate to ensure and enable a just and sustainable transition? Possible answers to this question have been developed by scientists from Kiel University (Germany) and University of Gothenburg.

In Germany, the concept of “living labs” is used to mediate between conflicting interest groups and to develop new career opportunities for fishermen that will keep the fishing culture alive while promoting coastal and marine protection. In the summer of 2023, the city has become a large exhibition arena under the name Prototyping Gothenburg. The exhibition focuses on solutions and challenges in the city and highlights initiatives that are actively working towards a sustainable transition, acting as a kind of “living lab”. In Frihamnen, a Transition Lab and a prototype for a Blue Community Garden have been built.

Visit the Transition Lab and listen to and discuss with the different actors invited to this panel discussion tackling how the sea, science, society and the city is dependent on and linked to one another.

About the speakers

Christian Wagner-Ahlfs is coordinator for transdisciplinary research at Kiel Marine Science (Kiel University). He is responsible for promoting the cooperation between scientists and experts from politics, civil society and business. The objective is the co-design of research questions and to collaborate in the development of solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. He is a chemist by training with many years experience as executive director of a non-governmental organization and as a journalist.

Kai de Graaf is a research fellow at the Center for Ocean and Society/ Kiel Marine Science, Kiel University. Kai studied archaeology and geology and is a trained educator. He works in various areas of education and facilitation at the interface between science and society. He is doing research on a transdisciplinary method called “Living Labs”. This method is at the heart of the SpaCeParti project (, in which science and stakeholders work hand in hand to find possible solutions for sustainable coastal fisheries in the western Baltic Sea.

Carl-Johan Skogh is a senior lecturer in design at HDK-Valand, the Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg. With a transdisciplinary approach and interest in food culture he investigates how design as an expanding field contributes to knowledge production. The prototyping of things enables diversity and disruptive capacities.

Torsten Linders has a background in research and teaching in physical oceanography. He is now the programme director for the project co-creating better blue (C2B2). His focus is collaboration between academia, industry and the public sector and his overall ambition is to increase the pace of innovation and the use of marine data.

Malin Finlöf is an architect by training and a master planner for site development at the urban environment administration, City of Gothenburg working as a project leader for Prototyping Gothenburg.

Madeleine Prutzer is a researcher and senior advisor at the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment, focusing on the environment communication and co-creative perspective in relation to ecosystem-based marine management.

Jessica Hjerpe Olausson, is a senior project manager at RISE with 20 years of experience in government work with marine and maritime issues and blue economy. Her current work focuses on supporting the public sector in working with climate adaptation in the coastal zone and the relationship between what is built offshore and coastal communities.

Menschen auf Steg am Hafen
© happy visuals

In brief

About Prototyping Gothenburg

Prototyping Gothenburg is a collaborative project led by Stadsmiljöförvaltningen (Urban Environment Department) and Gothenburg & Co, in collaboration with the city’s administrations and companies, the industry, academia, non-profit associations, and the general public.


Centre for Sea and Society