Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Fay Zeijl
Submission Date Dec. 18, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Utrecht University
ER-15: Sustainability Research Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Fay van Zeijl
Policy Advisor
Onderwijs & Onderzoek
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Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability research?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability research:


The ideal balance between humanity, nature and its resources (people, planet & profit)

Sustainability is about the quality of life in the present and in the future, and about the ideal balance between nature, humanity and its resources. Research at Utrecht University within the Sustainability theme focuses on the transition to a society that is ecologically, economically and socially balanced. At Utrecht University, insights into the earth and climate, water, biodiversity, energy and environmental issues converge. One of the most important issues: how are we going to solve the increasing scarcity of water and energy, both globally and in urban regions?


The Sustainability research theme is grouped into three sub-themes:

Water, Climate & Ecosystems
Healthy Urban Living
Energy & Resources

Water, Climate & Ecosystems
What influences the climate and what effect does that have on the earth? Water appears to be the factor connecting everything. Utrecht University scientists are studying the full spectrum, from the interaction between oceans, ice caps and ecosystems to the quality and availability of our drinking water.

Healthy Urban Living
Can people in cities lead healthy lives in harmony with their lifestyles and well-being? The coupling of urban problems on the one hand and the health and welfare of city dwellers on the other is unique.

Energy & Resources
In this research, the emphasis is on the development of smart, sustainable materials for generating, storing and saving energy, on the one hand, and making better use of current energy sources on the other. The Utrecht scientists focus on geothermal energy, for example, and on catalysts for the conversion of biomass.

One of the distinctive characteristics of Utrecht University is the integral cooperation between experts from the field of natural sciences, as well as from economic, legal, governance and socio-cultural disciplines. Researchers from Utrecht focus their attention on prominent social issues from an international perspective together with strategic partners from across the world.

Has the institution identified its sustainability research activities and initiatives?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

Sustainability is one of the four strategic themes of Utrecht University.

In the spring of 2012 several meetings with a core group of 12 professors from five faculties (Science; Geosciences; Law, Economics & Governance; Social Sciences and Humanities) was formed. Researches from these five faculties were were asked to send their ideas for possible projects with the sustainability framework. About 90 elaborated ideas were submitted, in many cases showing clear wish to collaborate between research groups and faculties. From this a UU-vision on sustainability was derived, as well as four key themes. The whole proces was guided by the Deans of the faculties of Geosciences, Science and Law, Economics & Governance, and supported by the Deans of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Humanities.

Does the institution make its sustainability research inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability research inventory is posted (required if claiming Part 3 of the credit):

Reseach inventory will be published in near future.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.