vunk - Institute for Consumer Research and Sustainable Consumption

Research for the future society:

,,user-oriented design of technology, economy and law on the basis of consensual fundamental values while balancing conflicting legitimate interests."

The Institute for Consumer Research and Sustainable Consumption (vunk) at Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences bundles the university's interdisciplinary research activities on issues of the future society. It offers a platform for applied research in the field of consumer, user and sustainability research. It facilitates transfer as well as exchange and cooperation with and also in relation to government agencies, civil society, business, media and politics.

The work of vunk refers to the research, co-design and support of a society of the future, its technology, economy and legal framework. This is done with the aim of balancing the diverse interests. On the basis of this balance of interests is formed by basic values on whose validity a society of the future can agree across the board; e.g. fundamental rights. The vunk focuses its research on the user and his or her relationship to products, business models and (digital) goods.

The results of research at vunk are regularly fed back into teaching at the university. Above all, however, they are also introduced into the scientific, social and political discourse.

The competence center is characterized by a particularly broad and well-founded interdisciplinarity. Thus, legal scholars, business economists and economists, scientists from the fields of market and opinion research, technology, psychology, quantitative methods as well as design sciences participate in the competence center.


Zina Al-Washash und Prof. Dr. Steffen Kroschwald mit einem Vortrag zum Projekt KIVEDU auf dem Göttinger IT-Recht-Forum

Verbraucherforschungsforum 2023 “Digitale Zukunft gestalten: Künstliche Intelligenz im Dienste der Verbraucherpolitik“

Weihnachtsgeschichten aus dem Schwarzwald von Hans Joachim Grupp

Prof. Dr. Steffen Kroschwald speaking on Digital Participation at the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Dialogue 2023

Beiratssitzung des vunk vom 3.11.2023 in Berlin in Räumen der Stiftung Warentest

KIVEDU Projekttreffen an der Hochschule Pforzheim

Pforzheimer Ordnungsamt zu Gast im Studiengang Wirtschaftsrecht

Tag der Nachhaltigkeit an der HS PF | 18. Oktober 2023

Ethische und nachhaltigkeitsbezogene Entscheidungen in der produzierenden Industrie: ein konkretes Beispiel

Nachhaltige Ideen stehen im Fokus des Startup Summer Camps


The research focus of the subject group "Digitalisation and IT" is how to protect people in a digitalised, entirely networked world and how to promote and ensure transparency, self-determination and participation ... learn more



The Sustainability Division conducts interdisciplinary research - including economic, technical, legal, psychological and ethical perspectives - on issues of sustainable products and product development, sustainable business, sustainable consumption and sustainable societies ... learn more



The expert group deals with issues of legal policy discussion, design and implementation of rules for the protection of special interests of private end users and comparable groups ... learn more



Ensuring that consumers' rights are not just written down on paper but are actually enforced is a particular challenge for consumer protection. Consumer arbitration boards, for example, offer a low-threshold way to enforce one's rights. The expert group deals with these and other forms of consumer dispute resolution ... learn more



The Teaching Division is concerned with linking research with teaching, novel teaching and outreach concepts, and the transfer of research findings to higher education and society, including consumer and user education and awareness ... learn more



The research group is concerned with the question of how a balance of different interests can be achieved in consumer and user research and to what extent social and other value decisions play a role in this ... learn more







Prof. Dr. Tobias Brönneke
Head of vunk
Professor of Economic Administrative Law with European References
E-mail: tobias.broenneke@hs-pforzheim.de

Prof. Dr. Steffen Kroschwald, LL.M.
Head of vunk
Professor of European and International Business Law
E-mail: steffen.kroschwald@hs-pforzheim.de



Marta Kast
Room number W2.4.24
Telephone number:  +49 7231 / 28-6018



Lukas Waidelich, M.Sc.
Telephone number: +49 7231 / 28-6131

Zina Al-Washash, LL.B.
Telephone number: +49 7231 / 28-6493


Prof. Dr. Hanno Beck (VWL especially economic policy)

Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Blankenbach (Physics, Electronics course of study Electrical Engineering and Information Technology)

Prof. Dr. Tobias Brönneke (Economic administrative law with European references)

Prof. Dr. Felix Buchmann (Business Law and Data Protection Officer)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Cleff  (Quantitative Business Administration with Statistics and Operations Research)

Prof. Dr. Simone Harriehausen (Private Business Law)

Prof. Dr. Peter Heidrich (Electrical Equipment and Electrical Machinery Construction)

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Jautz (Private Business Law and Rector)

Prof. Sibylle Klose  (Fashion)

Prof. Dr. Felix Krebber (Corporate Communications)

Prof. Dr. Steffen Kroschwald (European and International Business Law)

Prof. Dr. Martin Leroch (Economics and Business Ethics)

Prof. Gabriele Naderer (Market psychology and buyer behavior)

Prof. Dr.  Frank Niemann (Information transmission, transmission methods, communication systems and networks and Prorector)

Prof. Dr. Ralph Schmitt (Private commercial law with focus on general civil and commercial law)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schuster (Database and Software Engineering)

Prof. Dr. Anusch Tavakoli (Private Business Law)

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Thäle (Private Business Law)

Prof. Dr. Tobias Viere (Energy and material flow analyses)

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Volkert (Economics)

Prof. Dr. Andrea Wechsler (Private Business Law)

Prof. Dr. Christa Wehner (In retirement, before Market and Communication Research)

Prof. Dr. Andreas Willburger (Private Business Law with focus on International Business Law)

Prof. Dr. Jörg Woidasky (Sustainable product development)

Prof. Brönneke (right) is glad about the new appointment of the research fellow Prof. Voss (left).


The advisory board of the vunk is composed of persons associated with the vunk who are outstandingly active or renowned in science, society, administration or politics in the subject areas of the vunk. The advisory board advises the vunk and its management on strategic issues and supports the networking of the vunk in government, science, business and civil society.

Felix Braun
Board of the Universal Arbitration Board of the Federal Center for Arbitration e.V.

Prof. Dr. Carsten Becker
Director at the Federal Cartel Office and Honorary Professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Grimm
University of Koblenz and Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT)

Prof. Dr. Peter Kenning
Chairman of the Coordination Committee of the Consumer Research Network at the BMJV
Chairman of the Sachverständigenrates für Verbraucherfragen (SVRV)

Jean-Marc Noël
Founder and CEO of Trusted Shops GmbH

Ursula Pachl
Vice Director BEUC Brussels

Hubertus Primus
Board of the Stiftung Warentest StiWa

Prof. Dr. Lucia Reisch
Leiterin des El-Erian Institute of Behavioural Economics and Policy an der Universität Cambridge

Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke
Executive Director of the Institute for Energy, Environmental and Maritime Law (IfEUS)

Norbert Lurz
Head of Consumer Policy Department, Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection BW



Artificial Intelligent Consumer Enforcement (2023-2025): In this project, an AI-based system is to be developed that, in the field of so-called "private enforcement", enables, among other things, injunction creditors to secure their rights and the enforcement of their claims in an automated manner... learn more



Information and participation through user ratings: Status Quo & Development Potentials - Resilient and Valuable Consumer Information through Smart Consumer* Role Empowerment in User Ratings (2021-2023)... learn more



Digitisation for and with people: Digital participation and self-determination - on the way to a digital society in Pforzheim and the Northern Black Forest. A project of the scientific center for consumer research and sustainable consumption, vunk, of Pforzheim University together with the office for public librarianship of the Regional Council Karlsruhe and other libraries in the Northern Black Forest for the nationwide Digitaltag 2022... learn more


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SCHULDRECHT 4.0 (14./15.10.2021, online)








As vunk we are happy to support suitable graduates with their doctoral plans... learn more

The vunk series "Forschung für die Zukunftsgesellschaft” (“Research for the Future Society") publishes scientific contributions of vunk, its members and contributors and outstanding works of students. With its publication series vunk makes its core mission – conducting research user-oriented design of technology, economy and law on the basis of consensual fundamental values while balancing conflicting legitimate interests – visible to the public and scientific community.

"Research for the Future Society" is part of the series Beiträge der Hochschule Pforzheim (Contributions of Pforzheim University).

vunk - Institute for Consumer Research and Sustainable Consumption
Tiefenbronner street 65
75175 Pforzheim 


Head of vunk:

Prof. Dr. Tobias Brönneke

Prof. Dr. Steffen Kroschwald



Lukas Waidelich
Telephone number: +49 7231 / 28-6131

Zina Al-Washash, LL.B.
Telephone number: +49 7231 / 28-6131


Marta Kast, Room number W 2.4.24
Telephone:  +49 7231 / 28-6018


Are you interested in the vunk-Spruch - The quarterly newsletter from the Institute for Consumer Research and Sustainable Consumption? Then please let us know at sekretariat.vunk(at)hs-pforzheim(dot)de.


Prof. Steffen Kroschwald (left) and Prof. Dr. Brönneke (right)