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Since 2022, USP has granted funding for eight interdisciplinary research projects. Five of these are for seed grant projects (that bring together UvA-scholars from different faculties to work on small innovative interfaculty research projects or grant proposal preparations) and three are mid-size projects (projects of up to 400k that build on existing research ties between UvA-scholars from different faculties and that anticipate to be able to draw in non-academic parties, and thus generate societal interest and funding from external sources).
  • Algea for circulair economy: enhancing yield by solar spectral shaping (2023-2025)

    Algae are seen as a high-value feedstock in various industries, such as biodegradable materials, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and protein-rich nutrition. This project aims to increase yields and reduce costs, open new circular solutions, and understand and cater to consumer needs to accelerate the implementation of algae in the circular economy. The technology's economic and environmental impact is significant, with an extra 10 to 30% yield adding 100,000 to 300,000 euros per hectare per year, saving electricity and capturing CO2. 

    The interdisciplinary team of researchers working on this project, is coming from the faculties of Science, Economics and Business, and Social and Behavioural Sciences. 

    The project involves six external parties that span the entire value chain, including Chemtrix and Renolit for nanocrystal foil production, and four algae growers - AlgaSpring, Photanol, A4F, and Algae Holland. They span different climate zones and markets (A4F is from Portugal), which allows for exploration of diverse business cases. Besides facilitating testing, the partners will provide crucial contact and insights into market segments. 

    Project team:

    • Prof. Dr. P. Schall (FNWI)
    • Prof. Dr. J. Huisman (FNWI)
    • Prof. Dr. A. Kourula (FEB)
    • Dr. Marijn Meijers (FMG)
    • Prof. Dr. Edith Smit (FMG)
  • Reducing emissions of Textile Microplastics in the Netherlands (SISTEM-NL) (2023-2025)

    After the success of last year's Sustainable Prosperity Seed Grant project META, the team successfully applied to grow into a midsize project. The new and larger research project SISTEM-NL builds on the previous one in aiming to tackle microplastic pollution caused by microfibers released by washing textiles. It does this by estimating microfiber emissions in the Netherlands and testing the effectiveness of Citizen Science in addressing microplastic pollution. The study also aims to enhance public awareness and engagement, which is crucial in addressing microplastic pollution, by providing knowledge and communication tools. 

    The interdisciplinary team consists of researchers from the Faculty of Science (Environmental Risk and Environmental Chemistry) and the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (Social Psychology and Persuasive Communication). 

    The research is supported by private actors such as textile R&D developers (Avantium), textile production industry (Bell Rain), major suppliers (Groenendijk bedrijfskleding, MG Holland BV), and clothing retailers (Studio Anneloes). A special redesigned filter is provided by PlanetCare. Semi-public and public sector partners include Wetenschapsknooppunten, Plastic Soup Foundation, Amsterdam Green Campus, PULSAQUA, Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week, and Hogeschool InHolland. 

    Project team:

    • Dr. Z.M.C. van Berlo (FMG)
    • Dr. C. Brick (FMG)
    • Dr. L. Jacobs (FNWI)
    • Dr. A. Praetorius (FNWI)
  • Ways of Water – Overcoming Conflicting Sustainability Pathways in the Port of Amsterdam (WoWPoA)

    The project addresses sustainable development within the Port of Amsterdam (PoA). The different disciplines involved in this project will co-develop an innovative and interdisciplinary methodology for assessing the sustainability of port waterways. It considers the socio-economic and ecological significance of the PoA, and Its focal point underlines the central role cities play in preserving planetary boundaries.

    The project's key research questions aim to uncover the sustainability understandings of different actors in the PoA, to identify conflicts and synergies among these perspectives, and determine ways to realize these synergies. 

    Anticipated outputs of the project encompass a PoA waterways database, academic publications, and an integrated understanding of PoA's social, ecological, and technical systems elements (SETS). 

    Project team:

    • dr. Jannes Willems
    • dr. Elisabeth Krueger
    • prof. dr. Maria Kaika
    • dr. Mark van der Veen
    • dr. Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh
    • prof. dr. Annemarie van Wezel
Seed grant projects
  • Collective ownership in the Community Land Trust (2022-2023)

    Collective ownership in the form of Community Land Trust (CLT) has the potential to become a tool for the city of Amsterdam to improve the welfare of its residents in a sustainable way. CLT is an alternative vision of private land ownership. It is a non-profit, democratic and community-led organisation that typically develops and manages housing for disadvantaged members of society. 

    This project aims to develop the necessary interdisciplinary understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of CLTs. The project takes place in collaboration with a passionate community of local CLT change agents. 

    • Participating faculties: FdR, FMG, FGw and FNWI 
    • Contact person: Mendel Giezen

    Collective ownership in the Community Land Trust
  • Microplastic Emissions from Textiles in Amsterdam (2022-2023)

    Washing behaviour is often overlooked as part of the ecological footprint of textiles. Indeed, washing textiles causes the release of synthetic microfibres that end up in the environment in the form of microplastics.  

    This project will develop new, human-centred research methods to collect data on household emissions. The overarching goal of this project is to investigate how local behavioural changes can help reduce global pollution problems. In doing so, the team investigates how ‘citizen science’ leads to learning and engagement, and thus can encourage environmentally friendly behaviour. 

    • Participating faculties: FNWI, FMG and FEB 
    • Contact person: Lies Jacobs 

    Listen more about the project (NPO Radio 1, February 2023, in Dutch)
    Read more about the project (SPUI Magazine, April 2023, in Dutch)

    Microplastic Emissions from Textiles in Amsterdam
  • Reducing the environmental impact of healthcare in Amsterdam through a co-creation systems approach (2022-2023)

    Healthcare has a significant environmental footprint. Assessing the environmental impact of healthcare processes is a crucial step in enabling a transition to sustainable prosperity, both within Amsterdam and internationally.  

    Within this project, several Amsterdam UMC intersectoral care pathways with high volume and potentially high environmental impact will be identified. Then, one care path will be mapped in detail (with a causal loop diagram), its carbon footprint will be quantified through a Life Cycle Assessment, and an Action Scales Model will be used to identify key levers for lasting change. 

    • Participating faculties: UMC, FMG and FEB 
    • Contact person: Niek Sperna Weiland
    Reducing the environmental impact of healthcare in Amsterdam through a co-creation systems approach
  • Regulation of environmental sustainability in global supply chains through big data and modelling (2023-2024)

    The global economy’s current organization of supply chains poses environmental challenges and is vulnerable to environmental change. New legislation is holding firms responsible for environmental harm, but little is known about the firms’ adjustments to supply chains. 

    This project reveals the potential of legislation around sustainable supply chains and aims to project into the future how supply chains may change as a result of law and a range of other factors. The findings may prove valuable to businesses, civil society, and governments who are looking to develop strategies and regulatory instruments for sustainable supply chains. 

    The project combines expertise from Law, Political Economy, and Computational Science to develop a new methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of sustainable supply chain regulations in reducing environmental risks.

    Project team:

    • Luc Fransen (FMG)
    • Klaas Eller (FdR)
    • Mike Lees (FNWI)
    • Diliara Valeeva (FMG)
  • Energy Labels for Ecologically Sustainable Digital Services (2023-2024)

    Energy Labels is an ongoing UvA project at the Science Faculty that aims to quantify the energy consumption of digital services in real-time. This project adds to that with an interdisciplinary approach that explores the real-world usage and enforcement of the outcomes of the Energy Labels project. By doing that it aims to promote a reduction in the ecological footprint of digital services. 

    The interdisciplinary team exists of researchers from the faculties of Law, Economics and Business, and Science. They will work on designing, implementing, and standardising the energy labels. By exploring how the Energy Labels tool can be used to induce a real-world reduction in carbon footprint, the project intends to run a pilot experiment to nudge users towards energy-saving behaviour. 

    This project looks at the environmental impact of digital services in the Netherlands, where data centres consume three times more energy than the national railway company. Through behavioural interventions, law, and policy changes, the project aims to achieve significant savings in CO2 emissions at a national and potentially international level.

    Project team:

    • Dr. Anuj Pathania (FNWI)
    • Dr. Giorgia Romagnoli (FEB)
    • Dr. Candida Leone (FdR)