Dr. Per-Olof Busch
Doctor of political sciences (PhD)
Senior Researcher

Per-Olof Busch is a Senior Researcher at adelphi and leads projects on international cooperation. The political scientist (PhD) develops recommendations for improving international environmental and sustainability governance as well as for reforming international organisations in this area. His goal is to contribute to increasing effectiveness and legitimacy of international environmental and sustainability governance.

Per-Olof has been working for adelphi since 2020. He is currently analysing the environmental and sustainability policies of the United Nations, in particular of the United Nations Environment Programme, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2030. Drawing on an appraisal of their achievements, Per-Olof develops proposals on how to improve decision-making, implementation and coordination processes. To this end, he conducts academic analyses, accompanies and supports reform processes, plans and moderates events, and advises the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

Before joining adelphi, Per-Olof worked as post-doc at the Chair for International Organisations and Policies at the University of Potsdam. He was Principal Investigator in the research group “International Public Administration”, funded by the German Research Foundation. In this group he led together with Andrea Liese two projects examining the expert authority of international organisations and the impact of their knowledge-based policy recommendations on environment-related agricultural policies and on financial policies. From 2000 to 2010, he worked at the Environmental Policy Research Centre of the Freie Universität Berlin in various research projects funded by the European Commission, the VolkswagenStiftung and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. In these projects, he examined the influence of international organisations on international environmental and sustainability governance, researched the impact of transboundary institutional and economic interlinkages on the international convergence of environmental and sustainability policies, analysed the extent and causes of the global spread of environment- and sustainability-related policies, and explored the consequences of international competition for national social and ecological sustainability policies. He also conducted research on national capacities and pioneering behaviour in environmental and sustainability governance. In most of these projects Per-Olof combined quantitative and qualitative research methods and has extensive experience in the conception and implementation of individual case studies, comparative case studies, interviews with different target groups, statistical analyses, quantitative data collection and coding, international surveys and survey experiments.

Per-Olof received his doctorate at the Free University of Berlin with a dissertation on policy diffusion as a mechanism of international environmental and sustainability policy coordination. Prior to that, he completed his diploma in political science at the same university with a thesis on the environmental mediation process in the context of the expansion of Frankfurt Airport.

Selected Projects

Selected publications