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Last December, UvA launched the UvA Sustainability Platform (USP). USP is a community that connects researchers and their ambitions, knowledge and initiatives for sustainability research across the University. It allows researchers of all disciplinary backgrounds to come together, exchange information and knowledge and prepare and work on joint new initiatives.

We are facing a complex societal challenge to achieve sustainable climate-resilient progress. Achieving this requires reducing our ecological footprint, changing our behaviour and implementing innovations in materials and resource use. This challenge requires scientific innovation, both within disciplines and among them. The UvA has top international scientists across alpha, gamma, beta and medical sciences. However, we need be able to to find each other across faculty boundaries – that is what the UvA Sustainability Platform is for. ''USP is the community for researchers who want to work together towards a sustainable future. With our collective knowledge, we can help to give society a sustainable future,'' says André Nollkaemper, Sustainable Prosperity Chair. 

From idea to reality: The UvA Sustainability Platform in practice
Since the beginning of this year, USP has been organising monthly Get-togethers. During these afternoons various sustainability initiatives at UvA are showcased, and researchers from different disciplines can meet and collaborate on joint projects. ''We have noticed a great need among researchers to connect with colleagues from other disciplines. We have organized three Get-togethers since the launch, which have alreadyresulted in valuable collaborations,'' says Dylan Suijker, the Community Manager of USP. ''USP also serves as the framework for allocating resources that are coming from the UvA Strategic Plan.'' In the summer of 2022, start-up funding was allocated to three interdisciplinary research projects. Each year, further financial resources will be allocated to interdisciplinary teams, with the aim of connecting external partners to projects. But what does an interdisciplinary research project look like?

How to reduce microplastics from your washing machine? 
One of the three USP interdisciplinary research projects that started in 2022 focuses on laundry processes and the microplastics that release during washing. Researchers from different disciplines are collaborating in this study (Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Psychology and Citizen Science). Laundry behaviour is often overlooked as part of the ecological footprint of textiles. Washing textiles releases synthetic microfibres that end up in the environment in the form of microplastics. With the help of citizen researchers, this project has developed new research methods to collect data on household emissions. The aim of this project is to investigate how local behavioural changes can help reduce global pollution problems. Through the citizen researchers, the team is investigating how many microplastics are released, how we can adjust our washing habits to reduce the amount of microplastics released in the washing machine, and how participation in the study affects the attitude and intention to adjust washing behaviour. Curious about the outcomes? The first results of the current research and information about the follow-up study will be presented on 31 March. I will be there!

André Nollkaemper & Dylan Suijker geven een presentatie met powerpoint

Moving to a greener future together: The UvA Sustainability Platform 
USP has an extensive programme of activities and initiatives to promote sustainability within the UvA. In the coming period, the community will continue to focus on organizing events that bring together researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds, matching research ideas and expertise with funding opportunities, promoting and sharing methods for conducting interdisciplinary sustainability research, and helping to establish partnerships with external stakeholders. Additionally, the community will serve as a showcase for (interdisciplinary) sustainability research at UvA for both staff, students, and external parties. Want to stay up to date on the latest developments?