Within the Sustainable UM2030 programme, the researchers are focusing on:
- Sustainable research:
conducting research in a sustainable manner
- Sustainability research:
carrying out research into themes as defined by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Sustainable UM2030 stimulates UM's capacity to build a transition towards a more sustainable future. We link up with existing and new expertise and knowledge of the various faculties and research institutes. We 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.
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.
Sustainable buildings and laboratories
In order to prepare UM for a sustainable future, the first phase of our activities will mainly focus on research focused on the built environment. 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 addition, making the research laboratories of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences more sustainable plays a central role and efforts are made, for example, to reduce (contaminated) waste from experiments.
Interdisciplinary research community
We are working on a community within UM to bring researchers together to achieve more interdisciplinary research. For example, we are working on a Call for Research Proposals for interdisciplinary project proposals.
Project owner Sustainable Research:
Prof. Dr. Yvonne van der Meer
Chair Sustainability of Chemicals and Materials
Scientific Co-Director AMIBM
Coordinator Sustainable Research:
Dr. ir. Rick Kramer
Researcher Nutrition and Movement Sciences
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.
Research collaboration between SBE and FHML: Do sustainable buildings contribute to our health and productivity?
The Sustainable UM 2030 programme supports collaborative research between faculties to address the multidisciplinary nature of sustainability challenges that we are facing. The university devotes its efforts to several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including Good health and well-being (SDG 3) and Education (SDG 4). Therefore, one focus area will be on researching the impact of built environments on human health, well-being and productivity. The investments undertaken in rebuilding the former Tapijnkazerne into an innovative learning space and registering it for the WELL Building standard provides an excellent living lab opportunity within UM.
In the spirit of the university’s aspiration to do excellent multidisciplinary research, the Real Estate Finance group of the SBE faculty and the Thermophysiology and Metabolism research group of the FHML faculty have joined forces. The team consists of Piet Eichholtz, Nils Kok and Steffen Kuenn from SBE, as well as Wouter van Marken-Lichtenbelt, Guy Plasqui and Rick Kramer from FHML. 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. Connected to this, the overall aim is to study how high-quality renovations like Tapijn positively impact the financial value of real estate, which in turn may be a driver for accelerating building renovations.
From left to right: Rick Kramer, Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, Stefan Flagner, Piet Eichholtz, Guy Plasqui, Steffen Künn and Nils Kok.