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Institute of Earth Sciences Utrecht (IVAU)

Institute of Earth Sciences Utrecht (IVAU)

Research at the Department of Earth Sciences is organised through the Institute of Earth Sciences Utrecht (IVAU, or Instituut voor Aardwetenschappen Utrecht). The institute addresses the dynamics of System Earth at all temporal and spatial scales. Thus, research at IVAU encompasses a broad field of the Earth sciences, in particular the core disciplines of geochemistry, geology, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology.

Mission and ambition

IVAU’s mission is to advance our understanding, description, and prediction of processes that govern evolution and functioning of the Earth, from the molecular to the planetary system scale. Through the core disciplines represented within IVAU – geochemistry, geology, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology – IVAU scientists aim to integrate the principles and methods of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and computational sciences, to reconstruct, interpret and predict the structure and interactive dynamical behaviour of the solid Earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere, on time scales ranging from seconds to billions of years. The System Earth is, as a result of human influences, under increasing pressure, making it increasingly difficult to achieve a sustainable society and to ensure this for future generations. Climate change and geohazards, scarcity of raw materials / natural resources, the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, sustainable soil and water management and sustainable food production are challenges that can only be solved with contributions of existing and new geoscientific knowledge.

IVAU’s ambition is to strengthen its role as an international centre of excellence in scientific research and research training, and to contribute in a meaningful way to the envisionable challenges of a modern, sustainable society

Over 175 researchers (including PhD students) are further organised within several expert groups. Through these, the institute is strongly involved in the various Master's Degree Programmes in Earth sciences. The broad research profile of IVAU is reflected in a diverse range of Master’s tracks offered through the Earth Sciences teaching institute