York-Maastricht Partnership

The York-Maastricht Partnership (YMP) is a major strategic partnership between Maastricht University and the University of York, intended to develop a deep and lasting relationship and built around excellent research, teaching and knowledge exchange.

Our mission is to encourage and facilitate innovative joint York-Maastricht research and education programmes to tackle challenges to developing a more sustainable future.

The Partnership was formally launched in November 2017 to establish joint research projects, teaching collaborations, knowledge exchange, student and staff exchanges, and to share best practice among staff. The universities invested €3m (2019-2023) in Phase I to support dynamic research collaborations between the two institutions and create innovative education opportunities for students.

Building on the success of the Partnership’s initial joint programmes, we are now developing a new set of focus areas under the broad umbrella of ‘Sustainability’, which will include research, education, and knowledge exchange collaborations across a range of topics on sustainability and the transition to a circular economy. A new dual degree programme with the School of Business and Economics, launches in Autumn 2024, and a new set of sustainability-focused research projects and knowledge exchange activities will be developed over the coming years.

YMP Creating a Greener Future

York and Maastricht have together developed a new strategy for the partnership, which focuses on tackling some of the issues around creating a greener, more sustainable future for all. Our new strategy for2023-2027, named Creating a Greener Future, covers phase II of the partnership, and will see the development of:

  • A Virtual York-Maastricht Institute for a Greener Future.
  • A portfolio of collaborative PhD programmes focussed on sustainability, and which will include opportunities for PhD candidates to demonstrate their skills in real world environments through a living lab, the YMP ‘sustainability clinic’
  • A joint appointment in the form of a York-Maastricht Chair in Sustainability. 
  • Offer seed funding for collaborative YMP research, based on specific criteria.
  • Provide early-stage funding support for developing York-Maastricht research and education collaborations and sharing good practices (not only on sustainability themes).
MSC lab

What we do

  • Work to identify research synergies and potential new York-Maastricht collaborative research projects, conduct joint research, and host research development workshops.
  • Identify and share research opportunities and funding in the UK, EU, and internationally with colleagues across York and Maastricht.
  • Provide advice on applications for YMP research funding and travel and workshop funding.
  • Encourage the development of collaboration in education across York and Maastricht, whether for formal joint programmes or informal activities.
  • Encourage virtual and in-person staff and student mobility between York and Maastricht.
  • Support the sharing of best practice in teaching, research, and higher education administration.
  • Work to develop links with industry partners and civil society for knowledge exchange.
  • Organise and host YMP workshops and events for colleagues and partners.

Collaborative programmes

Masters’ programme

The first York-Maastricht dual degree, a co-designed Masters’ programme focusing on sustainable business and society, will launch in September 2024. 

The MSc Sustainability Science, Policy, and Society is a collaboration between the Maastricht Sustainability Institute (part of the Triple Crown accredited School of Business & Economics, Maastricht University) and the Department of Environment and Geography, the University of York's world-leading centre for teaching and research on sustainable solutions to global environmental issues. Students will spend a semester at each university before completing a co-supervised thesis. 

PhD programmes

We are in the early stages of developing a small portfolio of double PhD programmes. Supervised by professors in Maastricht and York, PhD candidates will benefit from exposure to different research cultures and methodologies, access to expertise and resources at both universities, as well as increased networking and training opportunities.

Study Abroad

We are proud of the range of study abroad opportunities that our Partnership offers to students at Maastricht and York, with five UM departments hosting York students (and vice-versa) at present, and several others being developed.

Research collaborations

YMP works to develop new research collaborations across a range of disciplines, with a focus on interdisciplinary topics that address various sustainability challenges. We work on a faculty-focused basis, and for 2023-24 will focus on developing new projects in the Sciences and Social Sciences. 

We also have several streams of funding available to support York-Maastricht collaborations, including support for travel between the two universities, workshop funding, and seed funding for early-stage research collaborations. 

For 2023-24, we will be prioritising applications for funding in the Sciences and Social Sciences. Requests for an application form and queries for any of the three funding streams below should be directed to ymp@york.ac.uk.


Travel Funding

This is offered on a rolling basis for researchers at York and Maastricht who would like to visit the partner university to meet with potential research partners. Up to €500 per person is available to cover economy travel and accommodation costs for those colleagues that have submitted a good plan.

Workshop Funding

A workshop fund of up to €5,000 to support collaborative events between groups of staff at each University that further the Partnership’s research and/or educational initiatives. This could include research workshops, seminars, project planning and longer visits.

Early-stage research funding

The YMP has an annual call for seed funding to support collaborative Greener Future research between Maastricht and York. The next call is likely to be in autumn 2024, and further information will be available in the autumn.

If you are interested in learning more about the Partnership’s first round of collaborations, which included research in data science, imaging, health and nutrition, the ‘Global South’ and the future of Europe, you can find a set of interviews with the project leads here. We interviewed some of the first project leads who received funding from the first YMP investment call to understand more about their research and what they have achieved so far. 


The York-Maastricht Partnership is governed by a joint board made up of senior leaders from both the University of York and Maastricht University.

  • Professor Rianne Letschert (President, Maastricht University)
  • Professor Pamela Habibović (Rector Magnificus, Maastricht University)
  • Professor Charlie Jeffery (Vice-Chancellor and President, University of York)
  • Professor Ken Badcock (Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, University of York)

The board meets twice a year to approve strategic investments by the Partnership and set the strategic direction for the Partnership.

The board is supported by a Director, Katherine Benson, who leads the Partnership and is responsible for the delivery of the Partnership’s strategy and objectives.

Who we are

Katherine Benson
Head of the York-Maastricht Partnership

Katherine Benson became Head of the York-Maastricht Partnership in 2021, after joining the University of York as a Global Partnerships Manager in 2017. Her role at YMP builds on her experience of working to expand York’s global engagement through developing new research, teaching, and capacity building partnerships.

Before joining the University of York, Katherine worked at the International Strategy Office at the University of Oxford and has a background in research and teaching at several UK universities and with NGOs in the UK and Middle East. Katherine has a PhD in Medieval History from the University of Reading and MA from the University of York. 

Rosa Becker
UM Account Manager of the York-Maastricht Partnership.