About us

It is our mission to have an positive impact on the transition to a sustainable society through the development of excellent and relevant knowledge, to influence political and private decisions by communicating this knowledge and by educating the change agents of the future. Given the integrated nature of sustainable development issues, knowledge development often benefits from a multidisciplinary focus.

Scientific Excellence

The most recent research quality assessment forming part of the Netherlands’ environmental-science and sustainability research evaluation ranked Utrecht University’s Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development as the best in the Netherlands. The foreign experts unanimously praised the exceptional quality of the institute, with this top rating endorsing Utrecht University’s leading role in research into a sustainable society.

Furthermore, Utrecht University’s sustainability research in the field of climate change and ecosystems has the greatest impact worldwide according to Times Higher Education. Utrecht’s scientific publications in the category ‘Environmental Sciences’ between 2011 and 2015 score higher for citation impact than publications by universities such as Stanford and Harvard.

Source: Elsevier. Click for larger image

CO2 compensation

We are happy to invest our CO2 compensation via FairClimateFund into initiatives that implement new technologies for local energy supply in rural areas in Africa and India. These initiatives reduce carbon emissions and support local communities enhancing their independence, prosperity and health.
FairClimateFund Certificate


Management Support

The Copernicus Institute is formed by the staff of four groups:

For individual members of the department, see staff listing under People