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

SENSE Research in Society

SENSE in Society

De Natuurkalender and Natuurbericht, initiatives of Arnold van Vliet

SENSE research on YouTube

SENSE related movies on the SENSE Youtube channel:

PhD Blogs

PhD Facebook pages

Websites SENSE PhD candidates

Publications in professional / popular media


Social Media posts

2 May 2018
TEDx talk Rick Hogeboom: Your water footprint revealed
The TEDx talk was part of the TEDxTwenteU event, held in Enschede's theatre Concordia on May 2nd. A short intro that may be posted with the talk: Rick is pursuing his PhD at the University of Twente and has a passion for water. Young and energetic, Rick aims to foster and facilitate science-based, practical and inclusive water stewardship whenever and wherever he can. Always with a big smile. Water is so precious - we cannot go without it for more than a couple days - yet the way we use and misuse it is gravely underexposed. In his TED talk, Rick will try to share his passion for water, his quest for enlightenment, and inspire you to become good water stewards yourselves.
> Watch the TEDx talk

4 May 2018
Jetske Vaas (UU): When science gives you lemon trees
Oh no! The goats ate one of the lemon trees! Or that’s what it looks like on the picture, with the fence undone and the seedling nowhere to be found. The goats are the usual suspects when it comes to vanished vegetation, and the prolonged dry period on Saba has made them even more devastating than usual. Very sad for the little tree, and the facebook post reaps many frustrated comments from Sabans. I imagine Raymond's frustration, who waters them diligently everyday, when finding this one morning. And I am definitely disappointed myself as well. But from a research perspective the project just took an interesting turn: devoured lemon trees are interesting data!
> Read the blogpost

8 March 2018
Nicole van den Berg (UU): Changing lifestyles for the better: quantifying the ins and outs of sustainable behavour
A challenging task – bridging the gap between the qualitative and quantitative disciplines. I have been doing my PhD at the UU researching how sustainable behaviour can be better represented in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs). As I am jumping into the literature, I realize how far and detailed this topic stretches across different disciplines. The enormity of this topic can be overwhelming on the one hand, but also extremely exciting, knowing how much interest there is on encouraging sustainable behaviour.
> Read the blogpost

31 January 2018
Ineke Roeling (UU): Truly Ecology Across Borders
Last December I went to the Ecology Across Borders Conference, held in Ghent (Belgium). It was organized by the Ecological Societies of Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Flanders as well as the European Ecological Federation. Conferences are always good places to present your work, meet lots of new people and develop new ideas. Unexpectedly, I ended up with both a poster presentation and an oral presentation. For the latter I received a Highly Commended Student Talk Prize.​
> Read the blogpost

1 November 2017
Bregtje van der Bolt (WU): Can we predict a tipping point?
A small change in climate, causing an abrupt and irreversible change: a tipping point. There are lots of tipping points imaginable: ice on the Arctic that can suddenly vanish, ocean streams that change all of a sudden, natural fires that arise more easily. But is it possible to predict a tipping point in advance? Can you predict when we are approaching a tipping point? These are questions Bregje van der Bolt, researcher at Wageningen University, deals with on a daily basis.
> Watch the video Bregje created for secondary school children (in Dutch)

9 October 2017
Jetske Vaas (UU): On hurrican Irma and not being the Red Cross
Hurricanes turn everything on its head; metaphorically, but also painfully literally. My fieldwork area, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, was hit by Irma in the night of Tuesday 5th to Wednesday 6th of September, and images of upside-down cars and torn down houses flooded the media. I sit at my desk writing this blog, transfering a donation to the Red Cross, liking a concert organised to raise money for St. Maarten on Facebook and wondering how my research, knowledge and contacts could be of help in this situation. Could we for example contribute to nature restoration while testing ways to keep Coralita from taking over disturbed sites? Maybe patching up some fences while we’re at it? Because although I am not the Red Cross, currently all help is needed – also that of scientists.
> Read the blogpost

20 March 2017
Jetske Vaas (UU): Upon leaving Statia
Back in 2016, I arrived in Statia, aka The Golden Rock, aka The historic gem of the Caribbean. And today the time has come to pack up the suitcase that has contained my life for the past four months and head back to Holland. Two months in Statia were over before I knew it, and admittedly also before I got round to doing everything on my list.
> Read the blogpost

22 February 2017
Kees Klein Goldewijk: Valorisation: Teaching primary schools kids about Global Trade and Globalisation
Once a while you get a chance to talk to a completely different public about your work, and I don’t mean in the pub or at birthday parties. In this case, I was given the opportunity to give a lecture to 12 year old kids from group 8. When the teacher once had dinner at our place we talked about the possibility to come over there and give a lecture about Global trade and Globalisation, which to my surprise, was an integral part of a new teaching system called IPC. The main feature of this system is that many topics are handled in so-called projects, and one of these projects was indeed about (fair) trade, globalisation, etc.
> Read the blogpost

23 January 2017
Rémon Saaltink (UU): Poster pitch of key-results presented at the EcoSummit in Montpellier, 2016
> Watch the poster clip I recorded during the EcoSummit of 2016 in Montpellier about "Smart ecosystems: using the concept of eco-engineering for large-scale wetland construction in the Netherlands"

29 December 2016
Jetske Vaas (UU): Upon leaving Saba
Two months on Saba have flown by: interviewing people, being toured around gardens, getting a peek of local politics and becoming more and more attached to the quirks of Saba's nature and people. Since it will take a long time before our research will really have an impact on Saba, I didn’t want to leave the island without leaving something behind. Therefore Elizabeth and I made a flyer on Coralita, explaining the phenomenon and what our research aims to do.
> Read the blogpost

6 December 2016
Ineke Roeling (UU): Plant diversity in grasslands: the role of the N:P ratio
It is a strong image. Search online for 'Dutch grasslands' and you will find pictures of green grass, black-and-white cows, a ditch and a mill. These are agricultural grasslands. However, when I think of grasslands, I think of semi-natural grasslands, basically nature reserves. These are grasslands filled with grasses and herbs, many of them also endangered plant species. These semi-natural grasslands have been protected for years, but are still threatened. For the past years I have been studying the effect of eutrophication on the species richness in these grasslands.
> Read the blogpost

28 November 2016
Jetske Vaas (UU): When Utrecht models meet Saban reality
One of the main ingredients of PhD research is experiments that provide answers to your research questions. In natural sciences this might typically involve work in a lab, while in social sciences data is often gathered through fieldwork. The “field” in fieldwork refers to a location you go where the phenomenon you are interested in occurs. This could be a peanut butter factory if you’re interested in the work ethos of Calvé, or the Caribbean, if you’re as lucky as I am. I’ve been on Saba for a month now gathering data for my research on the management of invasive alien plant species.
> Read the blogpost

10 November 2016
Daniel Engström-Stenson and Oscar Widerberg (VU): Linking state, non-state and subnational climate action: The case of Sweden
Successful international climate policy depends on domestic actors’ acceptance and actions. Cities, regions, investors, companies and civil society organizations are crucial for implementing the Paris Agreement. The proliferation of non-state climate actions is therefore a positive development, symbolizing the commitments of players outside of the UNFCCC in contributing to halting dangerous global warming at well below 2 degrees Celsius.
> Read the blogpost

10 November 2016
Jetske Vaas and Elizabeth Haber (UU): Outreach in the Caribbean
Despite scientists’ strong commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, the public has shown changing trust in the scientific community since the mid 1970’s. This erosion of trust is often blamed on scientists’ difficulty with communicating their research to the public. It is up to scientists, then, to find effective ways to communicate their research without compromising the truth. This call to action is beautifully illustrated by a quote from a Scientific American blog post about communicating science: “We need to learn to engage without sensationalizing, enchant without deceiving, compel while staying true to the underlying science.”
> Read the blogpost

30 September 2016
Rémon Saaltink & Iris Pit (UU): Conference in downtown Montpellier: a work-related holiday?
As a PhD student you get the opportunity to go to conferences to showcase your research (and also to get a breather from your daily worries in the office; a necessity!). Finally getting out of the lab or office, go abroad, talk to people who inspire you and all will transform in new energy to continue your research. The goal of a conference is to show ongoing or finished research and to network, which may be of great help when finding a new research position like a post-doc.
> Read the blogpost

30 August 2016
Supriatin (WU): Low selenium in Dutch soils. What are the consequences?
It is common for Dutch people to drink milk every day, either during breakfast or lunch. Up to now, they probably do not realize that their milk does not only contain protein and vitamins, but also essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, etc., including selenium. Any other foods such as cereals, meat, seafood, nuts, and other dairy products also contain selenium.
> Read the blogpost

29 July 2016
Jetske Vaas (UU): The Most Painful Question to Ask a PhD Candidate
As a good scientist, without having conducted any sort of survey or poll and instead reasoning solely from my own stereotypes and prejudices, I’m convinced that the single most dreaded question by every PhD candidate out there is “So, how’s your research going?”. Nice people are most often the villains asking these questions, and in fact, the nicest of them who really care about the answer are the worst you can come across.
> Read Jetske's blogpost

Bregje van der Bolt (WU) in documentary about Tipping Points
SENSE PhD candidate Bregje van der Bolt (WU) took part in a documentary for Dutch school children, explaining climate change and tipping points. Bregje also takes part in an outreach programme for high school pupils and therefore has her own page on the website, where children can ask her questions.
> Watch the documentary

27 May 2015
Hugo de Boer (UU) on YouTube about "Transpiring plants in a changing climate"
Climate researcher Hugo de Boer studies how photosynthesis and the transpiration of plants can change under the influence of an ongoing rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. As changes can take a long time to be visible, they are difficult to investigate. In the video portrait below De Boer explains how he deals with this problem.
> Watch the video

9 January 2015
Anastasia Georgantzopoulou explains "Silver nanoparticles, effects on environment and health" with animations on YouTube
> Watch the video

21 July 2014
Blog on cruise tourism on the North pole by SENSE researcher Linde van Bets
Researchers on expedition to the North pole report their findings in a blog. Linde van Bets, SENSE PhD researcher at the Environmental Policy Group of Wageningen University, is at Spitsbergen to investigate how expedition cruise tourism adapts to ecosystem changes.
> Blog Arctic Research Expeditions

March 2014
SENSE alumna Marjolein Helder speaks at TEDxBinnenhof
> Watch the video on YouTube

30 January 2014
Six SENSE PhD candidates' pitches on Water
View the playlist of the pitches or make your own selection:

29 March 2013
Marjolein Helder : Plant-e Elevator Pitch for lifesciences@work
The Elevator Pitch of SENSE alumna Marjolein Helder of Plant-e ( for lifesciences@work. Plant-e is a company that develops and produces products in which living plants generate electricity. The company was founded on September 14, 2009 as a spin-off from the sub-department of Environmental Technology of Wageningen University by David Strik and Marjolein Helder. Both David Strik and Marjolein Helder work part-time as researcher and part-time as entrepreneur to develop fundamental technology and products based on the technology at the same time.
> Watch the video on YouTube

30 January 2013
Alexey Pristupa : Stagnating liquid biofuel developments in Russia
SENSE PhD candidate Alexey Pristupa presents the major findings from the article "Stagnating liquid biofuel developments in Russia: Present status and future perspectives", that was written by him in collaboration with Arthur Mol and Peter Oosterveer.
> Watch the video on YouTube