Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

PhD Programme

The SENSE Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment is a joint venture of the environmental research institutes of more than ten Dutch universities and research organisations.

The SENSE provides a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.

Established in 1994, SENSE has now developed into a consortium of outstanding environmental research groups from eleven Dutch universities and institutes. SENSE was formally accredited by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) for the period 1997–2001 and was subsequently re-accredited in 2002 and 2008.

SENSE has three fundamental goals in which it wishes to excel

  • Education and training of PhD students in disciplinary and multidisciplinary environmental issues
  • Scientific research of environmental changes, both with regard to the disciplinary understanding of the issues and with regard to multidisciplinary understanding in the context of society
  • Support of society, environmental actors, and policy makers with independent and scientifically based expert advice

What does SENSE?

  • develop a tailor-made advanced education programme for PhD students from SENSE partners
  • organise courses for PhD students from SENSE partners and outside of SENSE
  • organise national discussion meetings and workshops for PhD students and SENSE researchers in the field of environmental issues
  • monitor the scientific quality of the research within SENSE

SENSE Diploma

All PhD candidates who have fulfilled the SENSE Education programme successfully and has an approved PhD thesis, will be granted a SENSE Diploma for specialised PhD training issued by the General Board of the SENSE Research School.

The SENSE organisation

SENSE consists of a general board, a board of directors, a research committe, an education committee, a PhD Council and a SENSE supporting office. For names and structure of the organisation click here.

Useful links


Every university has its own admission criteria and procedure. Click here for links to our partner institutes.

Welcome to SENSE guide

All new PhD students are adviced to read the Welcome to SENSE guide.

TSP and Myportal

Join the SENSE portal, to:

  • design your TSP
  • participate in research cluster discussions


Some organisations offer opportunities for funding for PhD students.

Honours Programme

The SENSE Honours Programme offers excellent MSc students a special track to prepare for an academic career.