Research institutes

Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI)

With the integration of the Maastricht Sustainability Institute (formerly known as ICIS), within the School of Business and Economics (SBE), not only a new name has been chosen, but also an active contribution to SBE’s 'Vision 2025' is foreseen in which Sustainable Development, Digitisation, and Globalisation are focal areas.

As sustainability scientists, we aim to support sustainable development at the local and regional levels, thus contributing to global sustainability too. Because sustainability challenges are complex and normative, we opt for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches in which we collaborate with different disciplines and stakeholders. We master a diversity of theories and methods to work at the interface of science, policy and society. Knowledge brokering, boundary work and action-research are concepts that suit us well. Our research is scientifically sound and societally relevant.

Furthermore, our expertise is reflected in our sustainability education at bachelor, master and PhD level. Our multidisciplinary staff and international student group form a close-knit learning community.

In addition to our international and national orientation, we are committed to addressing sustainability issues in the region by means of our Maastricht Sustainability Hub.

Maastricht Sustainability Institute, your knowledge partner for sustainable development!


Interested in our newsletter Sustainability Science and Policy?


  • patrick_huntjens.jpg

    Prof. Dr. Patrick Huntjens appointed Professor of Governance of Sustainability Transitions

    Monday, June 21, 2021

    In May 2021, Prof. Dr. Patrick Huntjens was appointed Professor of Governance of Sustainability Transitions, which is a Personal Chair at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) of the School of Business and Economics (SBE).

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  • Barcelona_2

    News: Christian Scholl and Joop de Kraker publish special issue on 'Urban Planning by Experiment'

    Friday, June 11, 2021

    In Volume 6(1) of Urban Planning, Christian Scholl and Joop de Kraker brought together nine contributions by leading international scholars of urban living labs and urban experimentation. The special issue provides a state-of-the art account of practices, outcomes and impacts of the growing practice of urban experimentation. Consult the issue.

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  • SBE_Jan_Konietzko_MSI

    Masterclass: guiding companies to better understand circular strategies

    Wednesday, June 9, 2021

    To innovate for a circular economy, companies need to make changes on many different levels. This can be difficult to organise. That is why Jan Konietzko created the Circularity Deck, a card deck-based tool that helps people in companies better understand the circular strategies and the levels at which they can be applied. Jan recently created a Masterclass with Impact Hub Amsterdam that goes over this Circularity Deck. 

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  • Degrowth getting bigger

    Tuesday, June 8, 2021 Read more
  • New research maps out how parks, lakes, trees and other urban green spaces boost physical activity and overall human wellbeing in cities. (Image by Jacob Lund)

    UM Researchers help map how people in cities get a health boost from nature

    Monday, May 10, 2021

    Trees lining a street may encourage people to take a longer stroll or choose to bike to work. New research shows how access to natural areas in cities can improve human health by supporting physical activity. The researchers plan to equip city planners with tools to create healthier, more sustainable cities around the world.

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  • VerDus-synthesestudie

    VerDus-Synthesis Study: Urban Sustainability Transitions: Energy, Climate, & Circularity

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021

    How do we involve citizens in the sustainability transition? When do they start participating? What solutions could reliably count on wide public support and how do we find these? What implications could such an approach have for governmental practices? What barriers do sustainable solutions encounter at the institutional level and how could these be overcome?

    By synthesizing the results of twelve different research projects, Joop de Kraker and René Kemp (Maastricht Sustainability Institute) try to provide answers to questions like these.

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  • Urban Hotspotter

    On the move with the Urban Hotspotter measurement bike

    Thursday, January 21, 2021

    You may have seen him passing by on the Groene Loper 9a greenway in Maastricht)—researcher Bram Oosterbroek on his Urban Hotspotter measurement bike. It is certainly eye-catching, with measuring instruments on the back and a laptop in a basket on the handlebar. 'I study the health effects of spatial planning', he says. He is happy to explain more. 

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  • thumbnail_talking_business.nancy_v2.png

    How businesses can help build a more sustainable world – Nancy Bocken

    Friday, January 15, 2021

    To tackle urgent planetary challenges such as resource depletion and climate change, we need to fundamentally rethink the way we do business. As part of her research, Professor Nancy Bocken explores how companies might experiment with new sustainable business models, contributing to a more sustainable world.

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  • MSI groene loper

    Learning from healthy and unhealthy places around the Groene Loper in Maastricht

    Wednesday, November 4, 2020

    Where can relatively healthy and unhealthy places on and around the Groene Loper (the area above the former above-ground highway in Maastricht) be found? What can policymakers, professionals and local residents learn from each other?

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  • umio

    A Circular Economy Approach

    Thursday, October 1, 2020 Read more



MSI works from sustainability science, an emerging field trying to bring together science, policy and society to find answers to sustainable development challenges and to formulate new pathways to contribute to sustainability.

MSI researchers are involved in the conceptualization of sustainable development (making it operational in a meaningful way); the study of systems of governance (how sustainability issues are taken up by different actors); evaluating sustainability initiatives in business, policy and civic society; and theorizing and empirical analysis of innovation trajectories and sustainability transitions.

Research Lines

  • Sustainable Urban Development
  • Social Innovation and Transformation
  • Partnerships for Sustainability Certification

Go to Research Projects


The Maastricht University Graduate School of Sustainability Science & Policy (MUST) is based at MSI, which offers a PhD programme and Master programme to study the complex challenge of sustainable development in an international and interdisciplinary ambience. MSI provides also sustainable development courses at Bachelor level for other units at Maastricht University.

The PhD programme offers the opportunity to specialise in a sustainable development topic. In the Master programme special attention is paid to sustainability assessment in the broader context of innovation and governance for sustainable development.

Topics MSI focuses on:

  • health and environment
  • biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • energy, transport and climate
  • eco-innovation
  • sustainable business models
  • sustainable urban development
  • global certifying partnerships for agricultural commodities

ICIS International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development