An integrated approach toward understanding our planet
Sustainability Goals AW
Main Sustainable Development Goals for the Department of Earth Sciences.

In studying the system Earth and other planets, the Earth Sciences contribute to answers on social and economic questions that concern: 

  • the natural means of existence (water, energy, raw materials),
  • the terrestrial environment (including remediation of pollutions),
  • natural hazards and disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods),
  • and the use of terrestrial space (specifically near surface and underground space).

Through our work, we contribute in particular to 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set by the United Nations in 2015.

The Earth Sciences are a multidisciplinary science in which the principles and methods of physics, chemistry, geology, biology, mathematics, and computational sciences are integrated. We specifically develop new scientific hypotheses, methods of data analyses, and experimental and observational techniques that enable us to reconstruct and predict the interactive behaviour of the solid Earth, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere, on scales ranging from seconds to billions of years, and from nanometers to the entire globe. We honour James Hutton’s early insight that "from what has actually been, we have data for concluding with regard to that which is to happen thereafter".

Our research focus is on 4 major aspects of the natural Earth:


Globe in hand
6 May 2014
Utrecht University’s Faculty of Geosciences has received a philanthropic donation of €2.5 million to continue funding its Quantitative Water Management chair.
Globe in hand
19 June 2013
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded an ERC starting grant of €1.5 million to Dr André Niemeijer.
Globe in hand
18 June 2013
André Niemeijer of the Faculty of Geosciences has been awarded a Vidi grant of up to €800,000 for research into the evolution of earthquakes.
Globe in hand
28 November 2011
Earth Sciences postdoc André Niemeijer, and former Earth Sciences PhD student Suzanne Hangx, are both to receive Division Outstanding Young Scientist Awards.