Sustainability research

The research team of Sustainable UM2030 stimulates UM's capacity to build towards a more sustainable future. The research team is linking up with existing and new expertise and knowledge of the various faculties and research institutes. The aim is to initiate new and expand existing interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research for the benefit of sustainability. We do this by creating synergies between different academic areas and systematically sharing knowledge. The knowledge gained can in turn be used for education and operations of UM.


Sustainable research is ambitious to realise these goals by 2026:

  • UM has established at least three Centers of Excellences (CoE), which also serve as living labs, where students and staff work on SDG’s in collaboration with governments and companies. These CoE's are challenge driven and address recognized and recognizable societal and/or ecological issues and provide great potential for new scientific insights and bridge disciplinary boundaries. 
  • Develop an interactive tool to map and highlight all sustainability research and progress. In this way, the development of the sustainability research ecosystem will be supported and it will be open/inclusive for new scientists.

  • An active, vibrant, and visible sustainable research community. This platform will lead to a variety and multitude of cross-links between researchers in different disciplines, strengthening the UM research impact in science and society.

Seed Fund for Sustainability Research Spearheads

Would you like to research unexploited sustainable research areas? Or do you have a great research idea for a sustainable future? UM researchers are invited to submit applications for this seed fund to establish interdisciplinary and cross-faculty sustainability research collaborations in strategic research areas, so-called spearheads, focusing on one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Right now we call for proposals for Seed Fund for “Transition to a fossil-free society”. 

Selected proposals will be awarded a seed fund that facilitates: 1) establishing strategic collaborations between sustainability researchers within UM; 2) preparing for external (international) collaboration and research grants. The seed fund can be used to strategically expand existing research collaborations or to support new research collaborations to form sustainability research spearhead within UM.

You can find more information on this seed fund call via this link (download criteria form). Deadline for submitting was 20th of December, 2023.  Right now, the proposals are assessed. At the end of February 2024, the participants will receive an update. Once officially granted, the projects will be published on this website.

seed fund

Granted seed fund research projects

Until now two research projects have been granted with seed fund for sustainable research spearheads. Click here to read more about the projects FOODSY and Sustainable Cities.

Sustainability Research: the video series

Many researchers strive to contribute to a more sustainable world. We let them explain to you how they want to make a difference and what their research challenges are. And more importantly, giving you knowledge that you can use in your everyday life. Below, you'll find the first in a range of videos about Sustainability Research at UM.

Research collaborations at UM

Research collaborations on sustainable buildings 

Buildings are responsible for a large part of the total global environmental impact through their construction and maintenance, and in particular through business operations, such as climate control. In addition, a large part of the world's population now spends more than 90% of its time inside buildings, making the relevance to health evident. In addition to research, UM aims to make its own buildings more sustainable with a focus on energy efficiency and health. Especially in the field of health, UM can link its own research to its own buildings, as for example in the Tapijn Living Lab (the first educational building with a WELL certification).

In 2021, the Real Estate Finance group of the SBE faculty and the Thermophysiology and Metabolism research group of the FHML faculty have joined forces. They started to research if sustainable buildings contributed to our health and productivity. More recently, this cooperation has resulted in a new application (TKI) in the area of sustainable indoor climates.

In September 2020, the PhD study of Stefan Flagner has officially started to investigate if the high-quality renovation of the Tapijnkazerne building has resulted in a top-notch indoor environment and indeed results in improved productivity (including learning outcomes), health, and well-being.

As well as a second PhD student, Cynthia Ly, has started to research air quality in buildings (funded by RVO).

sustainable buildings

Mapping sustainability research


In the spring of 2019, we carried out a study into the state of affairs of sustainability research within UM. We are using this as a basis to take sustainability research at UM further.

In addition, UM creates impact by linking sustainability research to social issues, e.g. through Brightlands. Brightlands is an initiative of the Province of Limburg, Maastricht University, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Fontys International Campus Venlo, in close cooperation with the business community. This public-private partnership operates from four campuses in Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Heerlen and Venlo. There, students, entrepreneurs, scientists and investors work together on new opportunities and solutions in the field of sustainability and health with an eye for the environment, economy and society.