Policy advice and participation in committees

The GFZ plays an active role in scientific policy advice through participation of our scientists in advisory bodies for policy development. The aim is to support decision-making processes in society in the best way possible, i.e. based on scientific evidence and dialog, and to incorporate advanced insights from research into decision-making processes in a continuous process. Numerous scientists are intensively involved in committees, panels and working groups in key topics relevant to their field of expertise, such as use of resources, energy transition, site safety, protection against natural hazards, site selection for a repository for nuclear waste.

Political developments and decisions are prepared and scientifically substantiated via briefings and policy papers.

A selection of activities of our scientists:

  • Marco Bohnhoff (Section "Geomechanics and Scientific Drilling"): Foreign representative member of the Advisory Board of the Istanbul Mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, for the 'Istanbul Earthquake Risk Management Plan'
  • Ulrich Harms (Section "Geomechanics and Scientific Drilling"): Member of the Research Drilling Consortium, GESEP e.V. and Board of Trustees National Drill Core Repository
  • Martin Herold (Section "Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics"): Co-Chair / Andreas Guentner (Section "Hydrology") Member of the Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate. The Panel is responsible for (terrestrial) key climate variables and works with a mandate from the UN Climate Change Convention process for research and systematic observations.
  • Charlotte Krawczyk (Section "Geophysical Imaging of the Subsurface"): Chair of the "Independent Expert Commission on Fracking of the German Bundestag".
  • Bruno Merz (Section "Hydrology"): Member of the WG Flooding of the German Association for Water Management, Wastewater and Waste
  • Ingo Sass (Section "Geoenergy"): Spokesman of the Working Group Geothermal Energy of DGGV and DGGT
  • Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth (Section "Sedimentary Basin Modeling"): Member of the National Monitoring Committee "Site Selection Procedure for the Search for a Final Repository" Harald Schuh (Section "Geodetic Space Methods"): Chair of the German Geodetic Commission (DGK), e.g. for the development of a nationwide "Fachspezifische Qualifikationsrahmen Geodäsie und Geoinformation (FQR GG)".
  • Daniel Spengler (Section "Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics): Member of the "Competence Network for Digitization in Agriculture of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)”


The GFZ is involved in the development of standardization in numerous socially significant areas:

  • Earthquake zoning: DIN activities for building structures, directly involved in the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).
  • Eurocode 8: Seismic hazard maps for the D-A-CH countries
  • Radio occultation: Ground-based and space-based atmosphere sounding for input parameters in weather forecasting and in monitoring of atmosphere and ionosphere; these are operationally included in global weather models of weather services worldwide.
  • DIN Standards Committee for Aerospace and Earthquakes
  • Kp index: The Niemegk Observatory provides the three-hourly international Kp-Index in real time as well as annual values since 1932. Kp is a global geomagnetic activity index and, thus, an index for geomagnetic storms. Uses: Space weather, national and international space situational awareness centers, e.g. for models of the atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere in near-Earth space.
  • Hpo indices: The new Hpo indices developed at GFZ are similar to the Kp index, but have better time resolution (hourly or half-hourly) and differentiate better among the strongest space weather events. These indices are available in real time and annually since 1995.
  • World Digital Anomaly Map WDMAM for aviation, marine, and drilling
  • Work Groups ISO/TC265 WG3 "CO2 Storage" and WG5 "Cross cutting issues"; Head "Monitoring & Validation" Technical Panel
  • German Standard Committee DIN NA 119-01-04 AA "Carbon Dioxide Capture, Transport and Storage", Head of the National Working Group "CO2 Storage"
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