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Solving the issues of sustainability is one of the key areas of focus for the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the city of Amsterdam. It is also a key area globally, with the European Union identifying sustainability as one of its 'Grand Challenges'. On Wednesday, 21 November 2012, the ‘Combining disciplines in sustainability research’ seminar will be held in Amsterdam to address this vitally important topic.


Young researchers (PhD, postdoc or Master’s/Honours) engaged in research that contributes to sustainability are invited to present their current research at the seminar. The best presentation will receive a jury award, while the participants of the seminar will select the winner of a public award. The event is being organised by the University of Amsterdam ( UvA), VU University Amsterdam and Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences.


If you would like to simply participate in the seminar, please sign up via the Technology Transfer website, by 15 November 2012 at the latest. Students and researchers, as well as representatives from others sectors (government, industry, etc) are  welcome to attend.


Contributors to the seminar will include: Louise O. Fresco (University Professor, UvA), Frans Berkhout, (director AGCI-VU) and Aart Kleijn (platform Sustainability, UvA).

Procedure and criteria

If you would like to give a presentation (a short pitch of about five minutes), please submit an abstract of approximately 500 words, including:

  • a description of your research;
  • a description of envisaged contribution to one or more societal challenges;
  • a description of possible contribution to other disciplines, institutes, industry, government, NGO’s etc.


The criteria for selection are:

  • research quality;
  • feasibility in terms of contributing to stated societal challenges;
  • feasibility in terms of contributing to other disciplines, institutes, industry, government, NGO’s etc.


Selected researchers are offered a training in presenting their pitch before the start of the seminar, including lunch. The pitch training is also available for the first five researchers to submit an abstract that is not selected.

Please send your abstract by 12 November 2012 at the latest to Ms. Renate Hippert,

Date and location

  • Wednesday, 21 November 2012
  • Crea, Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, Amsterdam


12:00-14:00     Pitch training for participants, including lunch

14:00-14:10    Welcome and introduction -  Prof. Aart Kleijn, day chair, director Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences UvA, chair platform Sustainability UvA:

14:10-14:25    ‘The Sustainability Debate: Planetary Boundaries or Quality of Life?’ - Prof.dr. Frans Berkhout, director Amsterdam Global Change Institute:

14:25-14:40    Prof. Louise O. Fresco, University Professor specialising in the foundations of sustainable development in an international context, UvA

14:40-15:40     Six pitches by young researchers (5 mins presentation, 5 mins questions/discussion)

15:40-16:00     Coffee break

16:00-17:00     Six pitches by young researchers (5 mins presentation, 5mins questions/discussion)

17:00-17:20     Jury award and public award for the best presentation

17:20               Drinks

Further information

For any questions regarding the seminar, please contact Jaap Overbeek,, 020 525 2880