HFFA Research is an independent scientific consultancy on key issues in global agriculture, environment and development. Our aim is to deliver top quality research, consulting and evaluation services to our clients. Led by Managing Director Dr. Steffen Noleppa, our team of interdisciplinary researchers has ample international experience and uses state-of-the-art methods to provide our clients with the tailor-made solutions they are looking for.

Dr. Steffen Noleppa
Managing Director

Dr. Noleppa is an agricultural economist with long-term experience in the fields of analysing global agricultural markets and rural politics as well as environmental change processes. He is the Managing Director of HFFA Research and responsible for the general supervision as well as for assuring the quality of research projects of the company.


He holds a Master’s degree in Animal Husbandry with a specialization in Agricultural Informatics and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics, both from Humboldt University of Berlin.


Dr. Noleppa worked as a researcher and assistant professor at the Chair for Agricultural Policy at Humboldt University of Berlin. He has special expertise in assessment and evaluation techniques, both ex-post and ex-ante, in modelling of agricultural markets and rural as well as environmental policies, sector analysis and policy simulation, and in transition as well as climate change economics. He has long lasting experience in project and programme management, policy advice, institution building, economic and impact assessment, and regional development support in a wide variety of countries across the globe.


He also worked on an internship base at the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC and the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development at the Iowa State University of Science and Development in Ames, IA. Agricultural and rural institutions comprising ministries, private firms and NGO’s not only in Germany and many EU member states, but also in, e.g., Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi-Arabia, and Ukraine so far profited from his experience.


Dr. Noleppa is co-founder and managing partner of agripol – network for policy advice GbR and member of the German Association of Agricultural Economists, the European Association of Agricultural Economists and the International Association of Agricultural Economists.


Dr. Noleppa fluently speaks German and English as well as Russian at a moderate level.
+49 (0)17 12 67 91 14 

+49 (0)30 21 96 16 61

Sophia Lüttringhaus
M.Sc. – Research Analyst for Agricultural and Environmental Economics

Sophia Lüttringhaus is an interdisciplinary expert in Agricultural Economics and International Relations with international work experience in agricultural research for development and consultancy for public and private decision-makers. Her work focuses on climate change adaptation, the economics of adaptation, agro-biodiversity, genetic resources, plant breeding, crop production and food security. She has sound knowledge of quantitative data analysis and agricultural modelling such as impact assessment and cost-benefit analysis.


At HFFA Research Ms. Lüttringhaus leads our projects and work packages in several research projects that e.g. explore climate change adaptation in agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa (AGRICA) or the economic effects of breeding innovations (BRIWECS). Furthermore, she is responsible for the continuous update and advancement of our quantitative methodologies for environmental and agricultural economics and sustainability indicators. She also conducts project evaluations and impact assessments and is a guest researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).


As part of her PhD at PIK and the Humboldt University of Berlin (supervisor Prof. Dr. Hermann Lotze-Campen) she investigates the economics of genetic resources and plant breeding. She is also a Genebank Impacts Fellow for the Crop Trust and the International Potato Center for which she investigates the benefits of repatriating traditional potato landraces to Peruvian smallholder farmers. Ms. Lüttringhaus is internationally experienced and fluently speaks German, Spanish, English, and French as well as Chinese and Portuguese at a basic level.


Before joining HFFA Research, Ms. Lüttringhaus worked at the think tank Climate Analytics. There she co-authored a report analyzing climate change impacts on economic growth in Africa and quantified co-benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation policies. Prior she gained work experiences in the field of international development cooperation. At the International Climate Initiative (IKI) implemented by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) she worked on monitoring biodiversity and climate change projects and at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) she worked on aid effectiveness.


She holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin and as a Bachelor’s she studied International Relations at the Dresden University of Technology (Germany) and Hunan Normal University (China).

Isabel Hackenberg
M.Sc. – Research Analyst for Agricultural and Environmental Economics

Isabel Hackenberg is an agricultural economist with a focus on the analysis of complex integrated social-ecological systems. Her research interests include the importance of cooperation, social relationships and networks in the management of natural resources and agro-ecosystems. At HFFA Research she is responsible for analyzing the reciprocal effects between agriculture, human development and the use of natural resources from different perspectives, and for assessing the environmental and social impacts of land use choices and of different agricultural and rural management systems.


Ms. Hackenberg holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Humboldt University of Berlin, with a particular focus on international rural development, natural resource management, and social network analysis. For her Master’s Thesis, Ms. Hackenberg evaluated the creation of social capital through a community-based mangrove reforestation project in Costa Rica. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences and Environmental Management from Justus Liebig University Giessen (Germany), where she focused on agricultural competitiveness, rural development and food security in Latin America.


Before joining HFFA Research, Ms. Hackenberg worked at CDP Europe, where she was responsible for co-managing an EU-funded innovation project aimed at quantifying and evaluating the climate change impact of equity funds. Previously, she also worked as a consultant for the Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Cusco, Peru, as independent researcher at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), and as research assistant at the Chair for Agricultural Policy of Humboldt University Berlin.


Isabel Hackenberg has international work experience in several Latin American countries. She is a native speaker of Spanish and German, is fluent in English and French, and has basic knowledge of Portuguese.
+49 (0)30 21 96 16 60

Matti Cartsburg
M.Sc. – Project Manager for Agricultural and Climate Economics

Matti Cartsburg is an Agricultural Economist with more than seven years of international work experience in consulting and management of complex and long-running projects with a specific focus on quantitative data analysis and the modelling of farms and agricultural markets. He has particular experience in modelling climate change impacts on agriculture, cost-benefit analyses and environmental assessments with a special focus on land and water use as well as greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity effects. Additionally, Mr. Cartsburg is an experienced business development manager with a sound knowledge in the development of business cases as well as business plans.


He holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences. He studied at Humboldt University of Berlin and the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain). During his studies, Matti Cartsburg focused on international agricultural trade and development facing climate change impacts.


At HFFA Research GmbH, Mr. Cartsburg is responsible for projects with a special focus on quantitative data analysis. His latest projects in this field include the virtual land and water trade of agricultural products of the European Union, a quantification of food waste in Germany and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, cost-benefit analyses of climate adaptation scenarios for several Western African countries, numerous in-depth analyses of European and German plant protection and plant breeding markets, developing a policy strategy for the implementation of organic agriculture on the Arabian Peninsula and the modelling of central Asian agricultural markets under the influence of climate change.


Recently, his major focus has been the possible impact of regenerative farming practices on the carbon sequestration potential of agriculture as well as its influence on biodiversity, its role in climate mitigation strategies and possible incentives for its widespread adoption by farmers in Europe.


Before joining HFFA Research, Mr. Cartsburg co-founded the sblocs bikes GmbH, which develops, produces and sells cargobikes for a more climate friendly mobility. From 2016 to 2019 he acted as a Managing Director for sblocs bikes and has since moved into the supervisory board. Prior to that, he worked as a Project Manager at GFA Consulting Group GmbH, the General Agent of the Bilateral Cooperation Programme of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. As Project Manager he was responsible for the preparation, monitoring and evaluation of agricultural projects in Germany, Turkey and Egypt. Furthermore, he was a Partner of agripol – network for policy advice GbR and as such contributed two chapters on the impact of climate change on agricultural production, food security and livestock in Latin America and Central Asia to the World Bank report Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Mr. Cartsburg gained first research experience during his employment as a Research Assistant at the Chair for International Agricultural Trade and Development of the Humboldt University and various internships in Scotland, Canada, Switzerland and Germany.


Matti Cartsburg fluently speaks German and English as well as Spanish at a moderate level.
+49 (0)30 21 96 16 61

Juliane Kaufmann
M.Sc. – Research Analyst for Agricultural and Environmental Economics

Juliane Kaufmann is an international development specialist with a focus on rural development in the interplay of socio-economic and environmental aspects and particular knowledge in qualitative research. Her strength lies in bringing together various disciplines and looking at development from different perspectives. She holds a bachelor´s degree in Social Sciences and a master´s degree in Natural Resource Management from Humboldt-University. After her master´s she completed a one-year postgraduate program in International Development Cooperation at the Centre for Rural Development in Berlin.


Lately, Juliane has worked on a project base with WINS Global Consult and HFFA Research, before she joined the HFFA team as a Research Analyst in November 2020. She has extensive work experiences in Cambodia, where she supported the GIZ in developing and implementing a digital social security system and the Welthungerhilfe in projects on land titling and livelihood development in rural areas. Juliane brings knowledge on the conceptualisation and implementation of evaluations according to OECD/DAC criteria. She, for instance, evaluated a GIZ project on cross-border natural resource management in the SADC region.


At HFFA Research her focus lies on cost-benefit analyses of climate adaptation scenarios for West African countries.


Juliane speaks German and English fluently and has a good command of French.
+49 (0)30 21 96 17 12

Lina Staubach

M.A./LL.M. – Research Analyst for Policies, Institutions and Law

Lina Staubach is a political scientist with specific academic expertise in public international law. As an interdisciplinary Research Analyst of HFFA Research, she is responsible for conducting policy analysis as well as investigating the institutional and legal frameworks for different thematic projects of the company. Additionally, she is part of the company’s general management regarding project backstopping, monitoring and evaluation, as well as stakeholder involvement and acquisition.


Before, Ms. Staubach worked as an advisor for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on projects dealing with civil society participation, public finances and decentralization in Zambia and Mauretania. While conducting capacity building in advocacy and policy engagement for Transparency International Zambia, she gained profound expertise in the area of anticorruption and the inclusive and gender-sensitive solving of land-use conflicts. Due to her work for the Office of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Berlin and the German Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva, Ms. Staubach has thorough practical experience in the area of international cooperation on global labour standards and processes of national implementation.


As a research assistant for the Collaborative Research Centre “Transformations of the State” (University of Bremen), the Research Unit “Global Governance” of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, as well as for the International Humanitarian Law Clinic of the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law (Leiden University), Ms. Staubach obtained profound analytical research skills on diverse governance topics as well as regarding qualitative research methods and design.


Lina Staubach holds a master’s degree in political science from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) as well as a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in public international law from the University of Leiden (Netherlands). Previously, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and law from the University Bremen (Germany), during which she undertook a study exchange at the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles (Belgium).


As a German native speaker, she is also fluent in English and has a good working level of French.

Katarina von Witzke
M.Sc. – Research Analyst for Agricultural and Environmental Economics

Katarina von Witzke is an agricultural economist with a focus on modeling agricultural markets and policies as well as risk management and climate change adaptation.


Ms. von Witzke holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Humboldt University of Berlin where she is currently a PhD candidate at the chair of the farm management group. Her PhD research focusses on index-based insurance, especially in the context of climate change adaptation. Specifically, Ms. von Witzke explores econometric strategies for the prediction of climate extremes in the context of agricultural insurance. In her master’s studies, she focused on agricultural insurance, agricultural policy as well as the modelling of agricultural markets.


Furthermore, Ms. von Witzke has completed internships at the Public and Government Affairs division of Bayer Crop Science in Brussels. She currently also manages her farm in Lower Saxony. Throughout her master’s studies, she worked for the chair of the farm management group at the Humboldt-University.


She is a native speaker of English and German and has a basic knowledge of French and Russian.
+49 (0)30 21 96 16 61