Course theme

Type of course


Grasping sustainability: Connecting your research for wider impact

  • 04 - 08 March 2024
  • Wageningen University Campus
  • Communication & Societal Impact
  • 2.0 ECTS

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 development? How can you apply sustainability in your own research? And in doing so, how can you deal with facts, uncertainty, values and opinions? This 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. 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.

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


Date Activity Focus

Monday 4 March Lectures, exercise, discussion ‘Sustainability’ the bigger picture

Early evening dinner

Tuesday 5 March Lectures, exercise, discussion Systems thinking and methods to understand complexity

Assignment / practical on Systems thinking

Wednesday 6 March Video, lectures, discussion Sustainability and the science-policy interface

Lectures, discussion and assignment Transitions in practice

Thursday 7 March Workshop Transdisciplinary approaches

Self-study in groups Reflection on own research

Friday 8 March Poster peer review + Presentations Participants input: ‘Sustainability in my research’

Final reflection

Confirmed lecturers and speakers

  • Jillian Student (WIMEK postdoctoral researcher on transdisciplinary research at WUR)
  • Timo Maas (Researcher at PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency)
  • Ernst Worrell (Professor of Energy, Resources & Technological Change at Utrecht University
  • Geerten Hengeveld (DLO Researcher, Wageningen Plant Research)
  • Gerrie van de Ven (Assistant Professor at Plant Production Systems, Wageningen University)
  • Tossa Harding (Learning Design advisor at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation at Wageningen University & Research)
  • Paul Ingenbleek (Associate Professor of marketing)
  • Caspar Krampe (Assistant Professor of marketing)

General information

Target group

The course is meant for PhD candidates, Engineering Doctorate (EngD) students, 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 level


Suggested follow up courses

  • Making an Impact (Wageningen Graduate Schools
  • Transformative research for global social-environmental challenges (WIMEK)

Course fee

  • WIMEK/PE&RC and all other WUR PhD candidates with an approved TSP: €190 (early bird) / €240 (regular)
  • Engineering Doctorate (EngD) students: €190 (early bird) / €240 (regular)
  • SENSE PhDs with TSP: €380 (early bird) / €430 (regular)
  • All other PhD candidates: €420 (early bird) / €470 (regular)
  • Postdocs and staff of WUR Graduate Schools / graduate schools mentioned above: €420 (early bird) / €470 (regular)
  • All others: €460 (early bird) / €510 (regular)

Early bird registration deadline: 29 January 2024.
Regular registration deadline: 12 February 2024.

The course fee includes coffee, tea and lunch on all 5 days, and dinner with drinks on day 1. The fee does not include accommodation, breakfast and dinner (apart from dinner on day 1). Accommodation is not included in the fee of the course, but there are several possibilities in Wageningen. For information on B&B’s and hotels in Wageningen please visit Another option is Short Stay Wageningen. Furthermore Airbnb offers several rooms in the area. Note that besides the restaurants in Wageningen, there are also options to have dinner at Wageningen Campus.

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.


Please complete this form to register for the course

More information

Elackiya Sithamparanathan, e-mail:, tel: +31 (0) 6 8731 6681

Former occurrences of this course

13 – 17 March 2023   |   7-11 March 2022   |   March 2021   |   9-13 March 2020   |   11-15 March 2019   |   12-16 March 2018   |   13-17 March 2017   |   22-26 Febr 2016   |   10-13 March 2015

  • Once a year
  • 15-25 participants
  • doing PhD or EngD level research
  • 12 February 2024