Grasping Sustainability: the context and potential impact of your research

  • 07 - 11 March 2022
  • Wageningen University Campus; in person. Will be moved to an online course only when government restrictions due to COVID are in place
  • 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 7 March Lectures, exercise, discussion ‘Sustainability’ the bigger picture

Early evening dinner

Tuesday 8 March Lectures, exercise, discussion Systems thinking and methods to understand complexity

Assignment / practical on Systems thinking

Wednesday 9 March Video, lectures, discussion Sustainability and the science-policy interface

Lectures, discussion and assignment Transitions in practice

Thursday 10 March Workshop Transdisciplinary approaches

Self-study in groups Reflection on own research

Friday 11 March Poster peer review + Presentations Participants input: ‘Sustainability in my research’

Final reflection

Confirmed lecturers and speakers

  • Dr. Jillian Student (Environmental Policy Group/WIMEK, WUR)
  • Dr. Karen Fortuin (Environmental System Analysis, WUR)
  • Dr. Peter Vermeulen (WIMEK, WUR)
  • Prof. Philip Pattberg (IVM,VU)

General information

Target group

The 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 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: €140 (early bird) / €190 (regular)
  • SENSE PhDs with TSP: €280 (early bird) / €330 (regular)
  • All other PhD candidates: €320 (early bird) / €370 (regular)
  • Postdocs and academic staff of WUR: €320 (early bird) / €370 (regular)
  • All others: €360 (early bird) / €410 (regular)

Early bird registration deadline: 7 February 2022.

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.

Note that we need to cancel due to Corona, we will re-imburse your fee. We however are not responsible for any accommodation or travel costs you make for attending this course


Please complete this form to register for the course

More information

Peter Vermeulen
tel: +31 (0) 317 48 5090

Former occurrences of this course

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
  • None; only requirement is doing PhD level research