Competence Centre

Worker wearing a hi-vis vest, holding a hard hat, standing on a mountain looking at wind turbines


Societies are facing big transformations. Academic research can help policy-makers to solve some of the related problems. This Competence Centre aims to provide knowledge and expertise that can be accessed in the short-term to help inform policy-making. Working with social and political stakeholders, we co-design research around climate change and work, decarbonisation and just transition.

Research overview

The Competence Centre contributes to public debate around decarbonisation and just transition. It surveys the public on a regular basis on topics such as energy transition, climate mitigation, skills for decarbonisation, and policies to support a fair and just transition.

The Competence Centre is funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation.

About the team

Professor Vera Trappmann

Professor Vera Trappmann


Vera Trappmann is Professor of Comparative Employment Relations at Leeds University Business School. A sociologist of work, Vera has studied and published widely on the transition from socialism to capitalism in Central and Eastern Europe, the restructuring of large enterprises in Europe (often in the steel sector), and how this affects workers and workers' biographies with a particular focus on precarisation. This equips her perfectly for understanding the challenges that climate change mitigation and adaptation and hence the socio-ecological transformation poses for workers, and how it may affect workers' careers and lives. She works with mixed methods, with longstanding expertise in qualitative and biographical research. Within the Hans-Böckler-Foundation Competence Centre, Vera is looking forward to working with societal stakeholders, trade unions and policy-makers on research that is applicable and contributes to enabling a just and fair transition of decarbonisation.

Dr Felix Schulz

Dr Felix Schulz


Felix Schulz is an interdisciplinary researcher, drawing on labour economics, sociology of work and social psychology to understand individuals’ and institutions’ perceptions of climate change and just transition policies. His expertise lies in developing and analysing large-scale representative survey data. At the Leeds-based Competence Centre he will economise on these skills to predominantly focus on a variety of shorter representative surveys of workers in Germany on topics such as energy, re-training, and transition policies and on the second wave of a more comprehensive survey of workers’ expectations of the social ecological transformation. Findings from these surveys will be an important source of information that may act as guideposts for decision-makers when designing policies. To Felix, the Hans-Böckler-Foundation Competence Centre in Leeds is an invaluable source of insights into the ongoing and imminent challenge to mitigate climate change from a work(er) perspective.

Professor Milena Büchs

Head and shoulders photo of Milena Buchs


Milena Büchs is Professor of Sustainable Welfare at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds, UK. Milena's research focuses on sustainable welfare, social-ecological policy and just transitions. Several of her publications also focus on distributional and justice implications of climate policies and measures that improve their distributional outcomes. Milena is currently Co-I of the Horizon Europe project "Towards a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy" (2023-2026), and Co-I of the Horizon Europe project “Models, Assessment & Policy for Sustainability” (2024-2028) in which she will focus on social-ecological policy. Milena has extensive experience working with large representative survey data. At the Competence Centre, she will contribute to designing and analysing a survey on worker attitudes to climate policies, with a focus on fairness implications and social-ecological policy.

Contact: Professor Vera Trappmann
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