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

Grasping Sustainability

Date: 09 March 2020 - 13 March 2020
Location: StayOK, Bunnik

Short Course Description

Explore and understand sustainability, the different concepts, objectives and methodologies to improve the impact of your research.


To date, many different scientific concepts and approaches of sustainability exist. What are the differences and what do they entail? What is your role as a scientist in achieving sustainable develop-ment? How can you apply sustainability in your own research? And in doing so, how can you deal with facts, uncertainty, values and opinions?

This on-site course will enable you to think about the ‘bigger picture’, grasp sustainability and to apply concepts and approaches to your own research, in a collaborative learning environment, away from ‘office’.

To ensure that the content of the course is aligned to your own research, the content of the course will also be determined by the research topics of the participants.

General information

Target groupThe course is meant for PhD candidates, MSc students of the WIMEK Graduate Programme, and other scientists who want to understand and achieve sustainable development and innovation, and are interested in ways to incorporate sustainability in their research.
Course levelBeginner
Intended credits2 ECTS
Course frequencyOnce a year
Course fee

• SENSE/PE&RC/WASS/WUR PhDs with TSP: €250 (early bird) / €300 (regular)
• SENSE PhDs with TSP: €500 (early bird) / €550 (regular)
• All other PhD candidates: €580 (early bird) / €630 (regular)
• Postdocs and academic staff of WUR graduate schools or SENSE: €580 (early bird) / €630 (regular)
• All others: €620 (early bird) / €670 (regular)

Cancellation conditions• Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the course, cancellation is free of charge.
• Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of 50% of the full costs will be charged.
• In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the course, a fee of 100% of the full costs will be charged.
• If you do not show at all, a fee of 100% of the full costs and a fine of 100 euro will be charged.

Prof. Gert Spaargaren (Environmental Policy Group, WUR)Dr. Karen Fortuin (Environmental System Analysis, WUR)
Dr. Peter Vermeulen (WIMEK, WUR)
Dr. Eva Kunseler (Neth. Env. Assessment Agency, PBL)
Drs. Sandra van der Hel (role of science in governance for sustainability, UU)
Prof. Ernst Worrell (Energy, Resources & Technological Change, UU)


More to follow

More informationPeter Vermeulen
tel: +31 (0) 317 48 5090
Registration form Register here
Registration deadline   Extended early bird: 4 February 2020
Final deadline: 23 February 2020

Learning goals

  • Be acquainted with and understand different concepts, objectives and approaches of sustainability
  • Be aware of and be able to deal with the science - policy interface
  • Be able to understand the importance of societal processes in transitions
  • Be able to apply sustainability concepts, objectives and approaches to your own research
  • To identify your role as a researcher within its societal context
  • Effectively and successfully deal with group processes

Course programme

9 March

‘Sustainability’ the bigger pictureProf. Gert Spaargaren & Dr. Karen Fortuin
10 March
Lectures and discussion

Lectures and discussion



11 March
Lectures, exercise, discussion

Sustainability and the science - policy interface


Dr. Eva Kunseler and Dr. Sandra van der Hel
12 March

Self-study in groups
Transdisciplinary approaches

Applying what is learned to your own research

Prof. Ernst Worrell

Peter Vermeulen

13 March
PresentationsParticipants input: ‘Sustainability in my research’Prof. Spaargaren, Dr. Karen Fortuin

Former occurrences of this course