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

SENSE Research

The SENSE research programme includes a range of disciplines, with contributions from the natural sciences (such as chemistry, biology, earth sciences, environmental technology) and socio-economic sciences (such as economics, sociology, political science). It involves monodisciplinary projects as well as integrated research in multidisciplinary teams, with the participating university institutes in SENSE complementing each other.

The added value of the SENSE Research School is to increase knowledge and understanding of the various disciplines that are involved in studying environmental and sustainability issues and to actively bring together scientists of these disciplines to seek comprehensive answers to such challenges. Cooperation with disciplinary research schools is an essential part of the SENSE strategy to broaden the possibilities of disciplinary depth of the educational programme and to train doctoral students (PhD equivalent) by the highest standards.

SENSE research can be divided into five Core Research Themes:

Core Research Theme 1: Environmental contaminants and nutrients with special research clusters on:

  • Behaviour, exposure and effects of environmental contaminants and nutrients (I) 
  • Ecological genomics (II) 
  • Biotechnological and physico-chemical processes for sustainable use and reuse of water, energy, materials and minerals (III) 
  • NanoSENSE (research on nano particles) (IV) 

Core Research Theme 2: Environmental change and ecosystem dynamics with research clusters on:

  • Ecosystem dynamics and adaptive capacity (V) 
  • Landscape ecology, restoration ecology and nature conservation (VI) 
  • Processes in soil, water and atmosphere (VII) 
  • Remote Sensing of land processes and water resources (XV)

Core Research Theme 3: Global and regional environmental change with research clusters on:

  • Global environmental change: complex dynamics in human-environment systems (VIII) 
  • Managing global and climate change (IX) 
  • Integrated assessment of global environmental change (XIV) 
  • Marine research (XX) 

Core Research Theme 4: Sustainable development and social change: actors, institutions and governance with research clusters on:

  • Governance for sustainable development (X) 
  • Industrial transformation / Sustainable production and consumption / Transitions to sustainability (XI) 
  • Sustainable use and reuse of energy, material and resources (XII) 
  • Sustainable innovation and the transition to a green economy (XVII)
  • Water and governance (XVIII) 

Core Research Theme 5: Spatial analysis with research clusters on:

  • Land use, spatial analysis and modelling / Ecosystem and landscape services (XIII) 
  • Land and water resources management (XVI)
  • Spatio-temporal geo-information science for analysing environmental sustainability (XIX)