Dr. Berthold Kuhn Research and Consulting
Dr. Berthold Kuhn                                                 Research and Consulting  



Research profile, ongoing projects & publications

My research focuses on

(1) global megatrends and international cooperation. The role of think tanks and nonprofits in shaping agendas for change.

(2) climate action and sustainable development policies in comparative perspective

(3) green and sustainable finance in comparative perspective/landscapes of sustainable finance

(4) nonprofits in international comparative perspective

Research, teaching and dialogue project:

Global megatrends and international cooperation (2020-2023)

Key output (1):

Book publication 

Kuhn, Berthold M. with Dimitrios L. Margellos 2022. Global Perspectives on Megatrends. The Future As Seen by Analysts and Researchers. Ibidem & Columbia University Press  


The book presents a thoroughly reflected analysis of future trends by drawing on diverse expertise from leading researchers, international institutions, think tanks, investors, and social activists. Digitalisation, climate change, growing inequalities, green economy, and sustainable finance are among the key megatrends. The authors also discuss the futures of health and food, migration and civilizational developments (diversity, identity politics, individualisation, gender shift) and address geopolitical aspects and innovations in governance and management of public affairs. Based on their own research and a series of inspiring interviews ("future talks") with think tanks, experts and activists from different world regions, the authors present cutting-edge content of future studies.

Key Output (2): Teaching

Courses taught at Freie Universität Berlin, UCM Madrid, Eurasia Foundation

Key Output (3) Dialogue Events

Dialogue events with several foundations and at Science Festivals

New project (accepted, 2023-2024): Global megatrends and future research.The role of think tanks in knowledge dissemination and policy advice

Interview questions for Think Tanks
Kuhn Margellos Interview Questions Think[...]
Microsoft Word-Dokument [18.1 KB]

Projects under review

The Relevance of Megatrends Research for the Financial Industry
Presentation given at IFKAD Conference, June 21 in Lugano, Switzerland: The Relevance of Megatrends Research for the Financial Industry
KuhnB IFKAD 2022 Tu 21 06 2022 The Relev[...]
PDF-Dokument [1.3 MB]

Climate policies in international comparative perspective


This project is an ongoing research and teaching project that compares climate policies in different countries and regions with a focus on G 20 countries. It analyses index projects (e.g. the Climate Change Performance Index) and also looks at various policy initiatives and good practices in big cities in different parts of the world.


Comparing climate adaptation policies in Berlin and Xiamen

Focus on the Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Programme 2030 and the Xiamen Sponge City Programme, mit Prof. (Ms.) Zhou Qian, Xiamen University, ongoing 


Sustainable Finance in international comparative perspective


This project has been developed in the context of the Sustainable Finance workshop which I co-hosted at the conference of the University Alliance for Sustainability Conference in 2020. It analyses the role of political initiatives, regulatory authorities, banks, asset managers, certification and consulting firms, nonprofits and initiatives of retail investors) in promoting sustainable and green finance.  A first publication has come out on Sustainable Finance in Germany, published in the Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment in June 2020. I have also provided advisory services to consulting firms and German International Cooperation on the topic.

Kuhn, Berthold 2020. Sustainable finance in Germany: mapping discourses, stakeholders, and policy initiatives, Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, 26 June 2020



KEYWORDS Sustainable finance; responsible investment; ESG; policy initiatives; NGOs


Previous research projects (Ph.D. & post-doc research)


Berlin, Dec. 2016


The E-book version of my book "Development Politics between Market and State" (based on my post-doc research 1999-2004) is now online available (FU Berlin e-docs), open access. Campus Publishing House returned the rights to me after 10 years .


Please note that the book is written in German. The Chinese translation is available with Renmin Publishers (2009), still for sale. You find an English summary in the German version on page 372.


Kuhn, Berthold M. Entwicklungspolitik zwischen Markt und Staat. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen; Frankfurt a.M., New York (2005), Peking (2009), Berlin (2015)




Papers based on my research on collaborative governance and sustainable development discourses in China in spring/summer 2016 (UAS supported, research stay at Peking University)

Sustainable Development Discourses in China
Journal of Sustainable Development; Vol. 9, No. 6; 2016

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The term sustainable development will further shape international cooperation in the next decade and beyond. It is also frequently used in China’s policy documents and connects well to a set of home-grown Chinese discourses, in particular the term of ecological civilisation and the chapter on green development in the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP) approved in March 2016. This paper discusses Chinese discourses related to the promotion of sustainable development on the basis of interviews with experts – academics as well as practitioners. The hybrid character of the concept of sustainable development has been conducive t
KuhnB JSD Sustainable Development Discou[...]
PDF-Dokument [232.5 KB]
Kuhn, Berthold (2016), Collaborative Governance for Sustainable Development in China, Open Journal of Political Science, 6, 433-453.
Kuhn OJPS Oct 2016.pdf
PDF-Dokument [370.7 KB]


The global sustainable development agenda of the United Nations stresses governance and partnerships involving public and private actors as key elements for achieving the sustainable development goals. This paper relates the analysis of the P.R. China’s growing engagement for sustainable development to the concept of collaborative governance. Based on the analysis of literature, policy documents, participation in conferences as well as interviews with experts, it proposes five factors to explain the promising developments of collaborative governance for sustainable development in China: political leadership, discourses, in-country expertise, institutional density and international cooperation. Against the backdrop of a strong government and tightened political supervision in many policy areas under the Xi Jinping administration, Chinese academics as well as practitioners largely agree that the “green development agenda” stands out in providing opportunities for the business community, think tanks and Universities as well as nonprofit organisations to implement projects and gradually influence policies and practices related to the promotion of sustainable development




Report Research Stay at Peking University 2016
PDF-Dokument [226.6 KB]

Recent contributions to books and encyclopedias

2015: Policies, Collaboration and Partnerships for Climate Protection in China, in: Jing,Yijia (ed.): The Road to Collaborative Governance in China, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 71-94: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/The-Road-to-Collaborative-Governance-in-China/?K=9781137525192

2015:   Im Spannungsfeld zwischen Wissenschaft und Praxis, Dilemmata der Entwicklungspolitik (Dilemmata in Development Cooperation), edited by Netzwerk entwicklungspolitischer Fachleute (Network of Development Cooperation Advisors), Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag, 2015, ISBN 978-3-8382-0768-1, pp. 67-76

2015:  „Demokratieindizes“, „Bertelsmann Transformation Index“, „Freedom House Index“ (three entries), Methoden-Lexikon für die Sozialwissenschaften (edited by Rainer Diaz-Bone and Christoph Weischer, ISBN: 978-3-531-16629-2, Print, and 978-3-531-18889-8 Online, http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-531-18889-8, VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden.


Recent papers published in academic journals


2016  Sustainable Development in China,  in: Journal of  

           Sustainable Development 12/2016.


2016 EU China-Cooperation on Human Rights, in:

          Friends of Europe, 11/2016


2016: Collaborative Governance for Sustainable   

           Development in China, in: Open Journal of Political 

           Sciences, 10/2016


2015    “Climate Protection and Civil Society Organisations in

             the P.R. China”, in BBE Europe News 11/2015 –   

             Newsletter  for Engagement and Participation in   


2014    “Climate Protection Governance and Participation in the People’s Republic of China, in ASIEN, The German Journal on Contemporary Asia, Nr. 133, October 2014, pp. 52-71, http://asien.asienforschung.de/asien-133-oktober-2014/


2014    “Against all Odds. Chinas weltpolitischer Aufstieg aus dem Blickwinkel der westlichen Politikwissenschaft,“ (China’s Rise in World Politics from a Political Science Perspective); WeltTrends, Zeitschrift für internationale Politik, Spezial 13, 2014, http://welttrends.de/spezial-13/


2014:    “Capacity Building on Non-Governmental Organisations in China”, with Yangyong Zhang (co-author): http://www.istr.org/ general/custom.asp?page=WP_Muenster (International Society for Third Sector Research, Weltkonferenz, Münster, July 2014, www.istr.org)


2014:   “Survey of Experts on Climate Change Awareness and Public Participation in China.” with Yangyong Zhang (co-author), Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 1/2014, pp. 177-212; http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jcca/


Survey of Experts on Climate Change Awareness and Public Participation in China
Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 1/2014: 177-212, with ZHANG Yangyong, peer reviewed: www.CurrentChineseAffairs.org
PDF-Dokument [319.4 KB]

Chinas weltpolitischer Aufstieg aus dem Blickwinkel der westlichen Politikwissenschaft, WeltTrends Spezial 13, 2014

Climate Change Awareness, Role of NGOs and Citizens' Participation in the P.R. China.
UNEP-Tongji University Shanghai Conference ppt June 8, 2013
KUHN Berthold, ZHANG,Yangyong, CHEN Keru, JIA Xibei
PDF-Dokument [2.1 MB]
State-Market-Civil Society Collaboration in Promoting Low Carbon Policies and Lifestyles in China
Collaboration Among Government, Market, and Society: Forging Partnerships and Encouraging Competition. Conference by Fudan University, APPAM, May 25-27, 2013 in Shanghai
KuhnB ppt 3.0 short.pdf
PDF-Dokument [374.3 KB]




Workshop on Future(s) Literacy and Global Megatrends, Tongji University, Shanghai, May 10, 2024


FOCUS publication on Chancellor Scholz' visit to China, April 15, 2024


Evaluator, European Research Executive Agency, March -June 2024.


Speaker at Asia Philanthropy Forum, Hainan, Nov. 15-17, 2023 


Speaker at 20th Beijing Forum, Peking University, Nov. 2-5, 2023





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