In 2011, Nuertingen-Geislingen University (NGU) took the values-based decision to pursue sustainable development as our mission in all our fields of activity. With the pillars of the economy and the environment already engraved in our name, NGU is well endowed for this mission. The integration of the former university of arts therapy into NGU in 2016 strengthened our social aspects of sustainability.
All three pillars of sustainability are anchored in teaching, research, transfer, infrastructure and governance.



Our main strategy in teaching is to plug the topic of sustainability into each of our programs, both in German and English language. Apart from our regular programs, we conduct teaching projects that overarch faculties and programs.

Sustainability in teaching projects

PHOENIX project

The cross-program teaching project PHOENIX (Problem-oriented university teaching in the context of sustainability) supports an activating and problem-oriented style of university teaching in order to inspire students for socially relevant questions related to sustainable development. Twenty professors participate each year.

CLLC project

In the cross-program teaching project CLLC (Community Learning for Local Change), we establish Community Innovation Labs together with partner universities and initiate systemic change towards sustainability through innovation. Commissioned by the European Union (ERASMUS+), we teach transformative competences in the field of innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Innovation for Sustainability

We offer several modules to all NGU students that can be awarded with general ECTS credits in their respective programs in order to foster interdisciplinary teaching and learning, both in German and English language. For example, with "Innovation for Sustainability" (IfS), we realize a two-week intercultural and international summer school for sustainable development, in which 18 students from different partner universities jointly conduct research and collect evidence during 8 visits to our regional innovators, some of them world market-leading companies.

Sustainable degree programs

NGU has a number of degree programs with an explicit reference to sustainability, in particular Sustainable Management (B.A.), Sustainable Agriculture and Food Management (M.Sc.), Sustainable Urban and Regional Development (M.Eng.), Sustainable Mobilities (M.Sc.), Environmental Protection (M.Eng.), Landscape Planning and Nature Conservation (B.Eng.), Future Trends and Sustainable Management (MBA).

Sustainability Award

Each year, the Center for Sustainable Development (ZNE) grants a Sustainability Award to the best bachelor or master thesis (endowed with 1000 EURO). The thesis should address all three dimensions of sustainable development and examine current problems.

Zwei Menschen an einer Tafel zu Nachhaltigkeit

Sustainability in Research

Even though freedom and independence in research is our first value, we conduct several research projects with sustainability relevance within our internal institutes.

Research projects

In general we focus on energy, agriculture and food, mobility and transport, economics and management, landscape development, environmental planning and conservation, climate change, real estate, cities and municipalities, health and society. Here we publish research project related to sustainable development (so far only in German).

You want to publish your project here? Write us at nap@hfwu.de.

Current projects

Selected current projects are: "Vertical Climate-Wastewater Treatment Plant for Increasing Resource Efficiency and Quality of Life in Urban Areas (ISI), "Construction in Cattle Farming - Reducing Emissions, Animal-Friendly, Environmentally Friendly" (IAAF), "Climate Protection through Moor Protection", as well as "Reduction of Greening Costs on Roads with Simultaneous Increase of Biological Diversity in Roadside Greenery" (ILU), "Local Sustainable Energy Systems in Senegal" (ISR), "Solar Village in The Gambia", "An Innovative Platform for Optimized Local Cooperation for Sustainable Development” (ZNE).

Picture of a mountain and stones


We have formulated a NGU-specific Transfer Strategy that builds on our self-perception as a university for sustainable development. It describes the understanding of transfer, goals and packages of measures with resource allocation to achieve its transfer goals. It is constantly being further developed and is published in its most current version on NGU website.


We cooperate with external stakeholders, companies, ministries, and the city in different ways, including teaching, Bachelor and Mater Theses, as well as in our institutes. See some examples below.

  • Our Competence Centre Greening of Buildings and Urban Climate works promotes research into ecosystem services for greening and on buildings and the transfer of knowledge through targeted usage research.
  • Since 2011, we run German Agricultural Research Centreers in Kazakhstan and Ukraine that offer a wide range of courses and educational programs for specialists and managers and that strengthen the agricultural training sector in both countries.
  • We have an officer for university-industry cooperation in the field of sustainability.
  • We annually organize and implement university forums for the regional project “International Building Exhibition in the Stuttgart Uurban Rregion (IBA)”.
Campus Innenstadt Nürtingen


The NGU implements its self-image in all fields of action relevant to sustainability: governance, teaching, research, transfer, operation and reporting. The  tTopic of Sustainability is anchored in the Office of the Vice-President for Research and Transfer.

Working Group on Sustainable Development

The Vice-President regularly convenes a "Working Group on Sustainable Development". It has the task toof supporting the implementation of a materiality analysis and continuously works on the formulation of our sustainability strategy.

Materiality analysis

The NGU has carried out a materiality analysis to include all stakeholders in the identification of requirements for a sustainable NGU. To identify which sustainability topics are the most important for the NGU, we started a materiality analysis in 2018. In an extensive process, our stakeholders were questioned in personal interviews and online surveys to determine the materiality analysis. These stakeholders include internal university members such as students, employees, professors and lecturers, as well as external stakeholders such as ministries, the local government, principals and teachers, other universities and companies. The motivation for conducting such a materiality analysis is to understand the concrete sustainability requirements that our environment places on us. In addition, we aim to use the analysis to position and align ourselves for long-term sustainability. Based on the results of the materiality analysis, the sustainability strategy of the NGU is currently being developed.

Health management and training

NGU offers all its employees regular continuing education courses in IT use, personal development and foreign languages, as well as health courses in Nürtingen and Geislingen (Steige).

Sustainable professorships

Since 2012, we conduct a targeted appointment policy and reorientation of professorships for sustainable development in all faculties: These have given rise to the professorships of Business Administration, in particular Sustainability; Ecology, in particular Settlement Ecology; Sustainable Agriculture and Food Economics; Business Administration, in particular Sustainable Product Management; Automotive Industry, in particular Sustainable Mobilities.

hay bales


We strategically aim to reduce energy consumption, improve our mobility footprint and increase biodiversity, and other environmental impacts. In order to keep these as low as possible and to continuously improve the environmental performance, the NGU is EMAS certified since 2013 and publishes environmental statements at regular intervals. In order to improve performance, the NGU develops goals and measures in its environmental program.

Environmental management

Since 2013, we apply the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), which is a premium management instrument, developed by the European Commission for companies and other organizsations to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance.

Center for Sustainable Development

We established and operate a Center for Sustainable Development (ZNE) at NGU. As a cross-faculty, scientific institution of NGU, the center serves professors, employees and students, as well as all external persons interested in sustainable development. Its aim is to promote sustainable development, thinking and action within and outside the university, in particular to initiate projects, connect internal actors and external partners, as well as to communicate internally and externally.

Total E-Quality certificate

TOTAL E-QUALITY is a German official certificate that aims to establish equal opportunities, while recognizing and fostering talents, capabilities and expertise of both genders. We have been awarded the certificate for the third time in 2019 as a proof of promoting equal opportunities, family-friendliness, diversity and participation.