ICIS integrative approach of sustainable development challenges is unique, intentionally seeking to combine theories, methods, tools and data from different knowledge domains, in particularly from Sustainability Assessment, Innovation, and Governance for Sustainable Development.

Sustainable Development

ICIS employs a range of methods (e.g., assessment, modeling, scenarios, discourse analysis, cultural analysis of perspectives, action research, case studies, data mining, survey analysis, multilevel analysis of innovation-based dynamics) and seeks to combine different approaches in projects.

The theoretical foundation of ICIS integrative approach of sustainable development problems is based on three knowledge domains:

  • Sustainability Assessment
  • Innovation for Sustainable Development,
  • Governance for Sustainable Development.

ICIS researchers with different backgrounds are involved in the study of sustainable development problems, and do so in a special way:

  • by taking an integrative approach to human-environment interaction,
  • by not assuming away complexity but considering it explicitly,
  • by spanning boundaries of the pluriform worlds of science and policy, and
  • by accepting that sustainable development is something normative

ICIS wants to make a contribution to sustainability science, but also to other types of sciences. Many researchers are experts in disciplinary fields (e.g., integrated assessment, governance, innovation and transition studies).

Real projects, real problems

One of the key features of this programme is its educational format. It is problem-driven rather than theory-driven, and it requires the student to be an active participant. During the programme, the students will get to work on an actual case for a real-life client. This will provide the student with first-hand experience in handling sustainability challenges. Upon graduation, the student will also be completely up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. The client the student will meet during the programme may also become a valuable connection later on when looking for a job.



External review committee report

“An outstanding contribution to society – world leading,” is one verdict by an independent review committee on the work carried out by the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) and the International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS) at Maastricht University, for the period 2010-2015.

Drawing on a mix of data, interviews and narrative accounts, the committee of four Dutch and German professors presented their independent assessment in March 2017.

For more details, download the full report here 

The visitation of both institutes was conducted for the VSNU.