Research

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.

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Energy Efficiency of Households in Cities

HEEC Project

The HEEC project “Energy Efficiency of Households in Cities: A Multi-method Analysis” is a collaboration between Maastricht University (ICIS) and Chinese Academy of Science (CEEP).

The project is part of Joint Scientific Thematic Research Programme (JSTP) – Smart Energy in Smart Cities, a collaborative research programme by China and the Netherlands with the aim to promote long-term collaboration among scientists from both countries.

The project will investigate energy efficiency determinants for passenger transport and energy use in households in cities. The analysis consists of five research components:

  • a decomposition analysis of city energy consumption
  • a survey analysis of household behaviour and motivations behind energy consumption
  • an analysis of the neighbourhood effect of energy consumption
  • a policy analysis based on choice experiments
  • a foresight and scenario analysis of household energy consumption in The Netherlands and China

Contact: Veronique Vasseur

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Improving Anticipation and Social Inclusion in Living Labs for Smart City Governance

Smarterlab

The ‘Smart City Living Lab’ is an emerging approach in European cities. It brings together citizens, policymakers, businesses, and researchers to test smart, ICT-based solutions to urban problems in real-life contexts. 

The ‘Smart City Living Lab’ is an emerging approach in European cities. It brings together citizens, policymakers, businesses, and researchers to test smart, ICT-based solutions to urban problems in real-life contexts. However, for urban mobility problems, solutions that ‘work’ in the particular reality of a Living Lab may not be adopted at a large scale. Urban infrastructure is interwoven with the daily lives of citizens and therefore difficult to change, and large groups may not even have access to ICTbased solutions.

The SmarterLabs project develops a novel approach that anticipates such problems in upscaling, and tests the approach through smart mobility Living Lab experiments in four cities: Bellinzona, Brussels, Graz and Maastricht.

Contact: Marc Dijk

SmarterLabs Website
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Towards new forms of urban governance and city development: learning from URBan Experiments with Living Labs & City Labs

URB@EXP

To address complex economic, social and environmental challenges, European cities seek new approaches. A currently popular approach is urban labs (Living Labs and City Labs), in which local governments experiment with innovative solutions together with other stakeholders in urban development. However, clear guidelines are needed concerning types of problems for which urban labs are most suited, how urban labs can best be organized, and how they can be integrated into urban governance systems.

The URB@Exp project develops such guidelines by reviewing experiences of urban labs, and conducting transdisciplinary action research in urban labs in five European cities (Antwerp, Graz, Leoben, Maastricht and Malmö). First results show that – independent of the topic being addressed – urban labs offer critical space for experimenting with new forms of collaborative governance. Their hybrid position at the boundaries of local administration, research and society proves beneficial for activating and facilitating urban stakeholders.

Contact: Ron Cörvers

URB@EXP Website
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TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory

TRANSIT

TRANSIT is an ambitious research project that will develop a theory of transformative social innovation which is about empowerment and change in society. It is co-funded by the European Commission and runs for four years, from January 2014 until December 2017.

TRANSIT will utilize a research method which encourages feedback from social entrepreneurs and innovators, policy makers and academics to develop a theory with practical relevance. The theory will be based on insights from other theories e.g. transition theory, social movement theory and institutional theory. The research project studies how social innovation can bring about empowerment and societal transformation.

Contact: René Kemp

TRANSIT Website
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Maastricht-Utrecht-Nijmegen Program on Partnerships

MUNPOP

MUNPOP is a joint program of researchers from Maastricht University, Utrecht University, and Radboud University Nijmegen on the topic of Partnerships for Sustainable Development.

Chair of the program is Pieter Glasbergen and Ron Cörvers is the managing director. ICIS’ current SPIN project, a joint research program of Maastricht University and the University of Lampung (Indonesia) is part of MUNPOP. MUNPOP is supported by a new website and newsletter.

MUNPOP is the successor of the successful Utrecht-Nijmegen Program on Partnerships (UNPOP), and its new home base is at ICIS, Maastricht University.

Contact: Ron Cörvers

MUNPOP Website
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Scientific Programme Indonesia-Netherlands

SPIN

The SPIN project “Social and economic effects of partnering for sustainable change in agricultural commodity chains – A Southern perspective”, awarded by KNAW/DIKTI, is a collaboration between Maastricht University (ICIS) and the University of Lampung (Sumatra, Indonesia). It is embedded in the Scientific Programme Indonesia-Netherlands (SPIN) under the theme Social and Economic Development.  

The focus of the project is on global partnerships and certification schemes. The global coffee, palm oil and cocoa chains serve as main fields of research in the assessment part of the program. The research combines governance theory and economic theory and applies a variety of quantitative and qualitative integrative/sustainability assessment methods. The project includes 4 PhD projects for Indonesian students and 1 postdoc position.

Contact: Ron Cörvers

SPIN Website
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A teaching and learning resource for sustainability in Nursing

NurSus

The aim of the NurSus project is to enhance the availability/relevance of a sound learning offer in Sustainability Literacy and Competency (SLC) in nurse education by developing innovative teaching and learning approaches and materials.

Nurses work across borders; the availability of the NurSusTOOLKIT in a number of languages will promote coherency and support a framework for sustainability competencies across Europe.

Contact: Maud Huynen

NurSus Website
H2020
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European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy

ENERGISE

ENERGISE is an innovative pan-European research initiative to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on energy consumption. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme for three years (2016-2019), ENERGISE develops, tests and assesses options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe.

What is the issue?

Scientific research and public policy in the field of energy consumption has primarily focused on drivers towards greater carbon efficiency. However, such an approach does not consider the long-term success of such measures within existing energy cultures where short-term efficiency gains may be wiped out by increasing overall consumption over time.

ENERGISE recognises that cultural change is a key ingredient in successful energy transitions. Individual energy consumption is a function of who we are, where we come from, and the socio-cultural and material contexts in which we live. Societal norms and routines with regard to work, education, family life, consumption and recreation greatly determine our patterns of energy use as well as our ability and willingness to change those patterns. Without a comprehensive understanding of these energy cultures, public policy measures to reduce energy consumption at the individual or household levels are likely to fail.

Research Strategy – A Living Labs Approach

ENERGISE adopts a Living Labs approach to directly observe existing energy cultures in a real-world setting and to test both household and community-level initiatives to reduce energy consumption. A comprehensive review and classification of household and community energy initiatives from 30 European countries provides the foundation for the development of two prototype ‘ENERGISE Living Labs’ designed to capture influences on individual and collective energy consumption. Data collection before, during and after the roll-out of 16 living labs to eight partner countries will be instrumental in contributing to the design and assessment of future energy consumption initiatives across Europe.

Summary of Objectives

ENERGISE’s primary objectives are to:

  • Move beyond existing sustainable consumption research by developing an innovative theoretical framework that fuses social practice and energy cultures approaches,
  • Assess and compare the impact of European energy consumption reduction initiatives,
  • Advance the use of Living Lab approaches for researching and transforming energy cultures,
  • Produce new research-led insights into the role of routines and ruptures in shifting energy use towards greater sustainability,
  • Enhance multi-way engagement with actors from society, politics and industry and effectively transfer ENERGISE’s outputs to further the implementation of the European Energy Union.

Project Partners

The ENERGISE consortium includes seven partner universities as well as research institutes, enterprises and NGOs from Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The project is further supported by organisations and agencies committed to sustainable energy consumption such as Energy Cities, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Hungarian Business Council for Sustainable Development, Community Energy England, the Sustainable Energy Agency in Ireland, E.ON Hungary, the Buurkracht initiative (by Fudura/Enexis) and SCORAI Europe.

Contact: Julia Backhaus

ENERGISE Website  

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Local Energy as Value Creator

The ‘Local Energy as Value Creator’ project, awarded by Province of Limburg/DuurzaamDoor, is a collaboration between In de tussentijd, Fontys Hogeschool, municipality Maastricht, Philadelphia and Sila Mens & Organisatie.

The focus of the project is on Energy Backed Currencies (EBC) in Maastricht. We want to know in how far people and their organizations understand EBC and whether they are enthusiastic to implement this currency and way of thinking. A brief investigation in social and political acceptability and technical possibility is also part of the project.

The project runs between September 2016 and December 2017.

Contact: Veronique Vasseur

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Smart Urban Lab-kit for Learning in a Network

SMULLN

In this project Maastricht University works together with multiple citylabs from the Dutch knowledge network of the fund: Creative Industry.

Contact: René Kemp

Current Projects

  • Energy Efficiency of Households in Cities

    HEEC Project

    Dit is er niet
  • Improving Anticipation and Social Inclusion in Living Labs for Smart City Governance

    Smarterlab

    Dit is er niet
  • Towards new forms of urban governance and city development: learning from URBan Experiments with Living Labs & City Labs

    URB@EXP

    Dit is er niet
  • TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory

    TRANSIT

    Dit is er niet
  • Maastricht-Utrecht-Nijmegen Program on Partnerships

    MUNPOP

    Dit is er niet
  • Scientific Programme Indonesia-Netherlands

    SPIN

    Dit is er niet
  • A teaching and learning resource for sustainability in Nursing

    NurSus

    Dit is er niet
  • European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy

    ENERGISE

    Dit is er niet
  • Local Energy as Value Creator

    Dit is er niet
  • Smart Urban Lab-kit for Learning in a Network

    SMULLN

    Dit is er niet
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Policy options for a resource efficient economy

Polfree

Using fewer resources and serious action against climate change can lead to more jobs, positive economic development and a high quality of life. This is the main result of the European POLFREE project.

There is no single, ‘correct’ answer to how we may achieve a resource-efficient economy. Policies may be introduced in a variety of combinations, and their selection will depend significantly on issues such as the division of institutional competence (such as between the EU and Member States), public acceptability and societal context

Contact: Marc Dijk

Polfree Website
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ISI-MIP

ISI-MIP is a community-driven modelling effort with the goal of providing cross-sectoral global impact assessments, based on the newly developed climate [Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs)] and socio-economic [Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs)] scenarios.

Based on common background scenarios (climate and socio-economic), a quantitative estimate of impacts and uncertainties for different sectors and from multiple impact models will be derived. From this, policy relevant and society-focused metrics will be deducted. This initiative, coordinated by a team at PIK with support from IIASA and backing from the IPCC Working Groups II and III, aims to provide fast-track outcomes for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

Contact: Pim Martens

ISI-MIP Website
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NESO-Brazil (Nuffic-Capes)

The overall objective of this three-years project is to establish a network of excellence in integrated sustainability assessment (ISA) among higher education institutions and research centers in the Netherlands (Wageningen University and Research Centre and Maastricht University) and Brazil (University of Sao Paulo, Embrapa, e.o.).

Contact: Pim Martens

NESO Brazil Website
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NPT Strengthening Teaching and Research Capacity of Preventive Medicine in Vietnam

The project aims to enhance the quality of teaching and research for those institutions in Vietnam producing the staff for the preventive medicine system. The objectives are to improve both technical and training capacity of the university level teachers and training conditions in preventive medicine in Vietnam.

A problem-based approach will be applied in both pre-service and in-service training. With this project the FPH wants to start the development of the new curriculum using a problem-based approach. The curriculum should meet new challenges in Vietnam, such as increasing international links that bring new health hazards such as SARS and avian influenza and new industrial developments in Vietnam that bring occupational health hazards.

Contact: Pim Martens

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Exploring adaptation pathways for sustainable river management into the uncertain future

Adaptation Pathways

The Adaptation Pathways project, also known as the Perspectives Project, finished in autumn 2012. In this interdisciplinary and participatory project, ICIS, Utrecht University, Twente University, Deltares, KNMI, Pantopicon and Carthago Consultancy, have developed and applied a novel scenario method to identify sustainable water management strategies for lowland rivers.

Through an interactive serious game we have explored transient scenarios (‘storylines’) for the lower Rhine River over the forthcoming century. We have explicitly considered the interactions between the physical and social components of the water system using an Integrated Assessment Meta Model.

Contact: Astrid Offermans

Adaptation Pathways Website
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ORGANEXT

The general aim of the ORGANEXT project is to research and develop nano-materials and innovative deposition techniques for next-generation opto-electronic applications and thin-film solar cells.

It is a collaborative project of research institutes in the Meuse-Rhine region. ICIS is involved the analysis of the market and sustainability of nano-based products.

Contact: Veronique Vasseur

ORGANEXT Website
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Perspectives in Integrated Water Resource Management in River Deltas

Water management faces major challenges to cope with potential global change impacts, fundamental uncertainties surrounding future developments, and a diversity of societal perspectives.

This project – funded by Deltares – aims to integrate insights from the social and water sciences to develop integrated scenarios for water management in the Netherlands.

Contact: Astrid Offermans

Deltares Website
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Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods

SUN

The SUN (Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods) project is part of the Interreg IVA Euregio Meuse-Rhine programme.

Academic partners, the main cities of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine and people from the five urban neighbourhoods are involved in the project in order to improve the quality of live of these neighbourhoods, reinforce participation to sustainable development and increase exchanges and synergies between these cities.

Contact: Carijn Beumer

SUN Website
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VISION

he main objective of the project ‘Producing a shared vision on how to harness Research & Development for Sustainable Development (VISION RD4SD) is to ensure that Europe is able to contribute to a Sustainable Development of the world by formulating policies and decisions based on robust, up to date knowledge of highest scientific quality.

The project focuses on a dialogue among European science policy makers, administrators and those funding policy makers in general who demand and need solutions from VISION RD4SD. The project will develop an overview on how research and development to a sustainable development is being funded, supported and evaluated by science policy. This will be done by a number of state of the art studies, both on country, regional and European scale.

Contact: Carijn Beumer

VISION Website
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ENHanCE

The ENHanCE Project aimed to assess the effects of future climate change on the spread of infectious diseases in Europe and its impacts on human health and wellbeing.

The project will generate a short list of (climate sensitive) pathogens that occur in proximity to the UK, France and the Netherlands or that could threaten these countries under future climate change. Participatory methods will be used to assess societal response to changing disease risk from climate and environmental change. The outcomes of the risk assessment and the participatory integrated assessment will be integrated in scenarios of future health and well-being in Europe.

ENHanCE Website
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Climate Change and Tourism in Spain

Weather and climate are closely linked to outdoor recreation activities and tourism in general. So far, coastal regions, and more specifically beach tourism, have received most of the attention regarding the impacts of climate change.

This project will, in contrast, focus on other tourism segments: rural, cultural and nature tourism are the target of this study. The project is part of the Second Work Programme of the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (Spanish State Secretary for Climate Change).

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Governance for Sustainable Development: The Case of Limburg, The Netherlands

The project aims at investigating how sustainable development can be attained at the regional level. The Province of Limburg will serve as a case study. Stakeholders will play an important role throughout the project.

They will be consulted on improving the workability of the concept of sustainable development, on the identification of driving forces, on the possible ways of implementing sustainable development and on their wishes for monitoring and evaluation. The project is financially supported by the Province of Limburg.

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INSPIRATOR

This NWO funded research project examines experiences with knowledge co-production and the use of coproduced knowledge by decision-makers. A typology of knowledge co-production in the science-policy interface will be developed, based on existing classifications, as well as normative criteria to assess the effectiveness of co-production. 

The project will result in an empirically validated typology of knowledge co-production, in practical insights into the opportunities and drawbacks of co-production in issues of global change and sustainability, and recommendations for actors involved in the interface between science and policy.

More information about INSPIRATOR (807 Kb)

Download the pdf version of the book “KennisCocreatie: naar productieve samenwerking tussen wetenschappers en beleidsmakers” (2,58Mb)

 

Contact: René Kemp

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INTARESE

INTARESE is a 5-year project, funded by the EU, on developing and applying new, integrated approaches to the assessment of environmental health risks and consequences, in support of European policy on environmental health.

It brings together brings together a team of internationally lead scientists in the areas of epidemiology, environmental science and biosciences. ICIS will primarily look at the health effects of climate change (e.g., temperature extremes) and UV-radiation

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ECLAT-COAST

The main objective of this project has been to enhance our understanding of climate change impacts on coastal and marine tourism in Europe and to assist in the vulnerability assessment of the sector.

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Sustainable education in Limburg

ICIS performed an inventory of education on sustainable development in Limburg.

The aim of the project was to make a quick scan of educational programmes on sustainable development at schools in Limburg at primary, secondary and tertiary level; to analyse the role of external providers; and to explore the role of the Province.

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Sustainable Mobility

The project developed an integrated assessment of the mobility problem. It examined initiatives with alternative mobility in the Netherlands and in other countries.

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Synthesis study programme VAM

The Earth and Life Sciences (ALW) and Social Sciences (MaGW) have launched a new programme ‘Vulnerability, Adaptation, Mitigation and Adaptation-Mitigation’ (VAM).

Completed Projects

  • Policy options for a resource efficient economy

    Polfree

    Dit is er niet
  • ISI-MIP

    Dit is er niet
  • NESO-Brazil (Nuffic-Capes)

    Dit is er niet
  • NPT Strengthening Teaching and Research Capacity of Preventive Medicine in Vietnam

    Dit is er niet
  • Exploring adaptation pathways for sustainable river management into the uncertain future

    Adaptation Pathways

    Dit is er niet
  • ORGANEXT

    Dit is er niet
  • Perspectives in Integrated Water Resource Management in River Deltas

    Dit is er niet
  • Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods

    SUN

    Dit is er niet
  • VISION

    Dit is er niet
  • ENHanCE

    Dit is er niet
  • Climate Change and Tourism in Spain

    Dit is er niet
  • Governance for Sustainable Development: The Case of Limburg, The Netherlands

    Dit is er niet
  • INSPIRATOR

    Dit is er niet
  • INTARESE

    Dit is er niet
  • ECLAT-COAST

    Dit is er niet
  • Sustainable education in Limburg

    Dit is er niet
  • Sustainable Mobility

    Dit is er niet
  • Synthesis study programme VAM

    Dit is er niet

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 studenten 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.