How do bottom-up initiatives address societal challenges such as climate change, healthcare issues and structural inequality? How do these initiatives impact existing institutions and contribute to societal change?

The challenges of our current society are characterized by their complexity, interdisciplinary nature and ethical discussion. Issues surrounding climate change, healthcare and inclusiveness towards migrants are just a few examples of these challenges.

What we observe is that not only do top-down government institutions tackle these issues, but rather bottom-up initiatives organised and led by citizens emerge to contribute to their local or regional community concerning these challenges. We study how these initiatives, in their efforts for change, contribute to changing our society from the ground up.

Together with scholars from various departments across the university and societal partners, we study these initiatives and their impact while trying to realise our own impact through research, education and collaboration projects.

Creating open and resilient societies

Interested in research on themes such as bottom-up initiatives, social entrepreneurship and citizen collectives? The Bottom-up Initiatives for Societal Change platform is part of Institutions for Open Societies, Utrecht University's unique research expertise. Here, all our interdisciplinary research on open and resilient societies is brought together.  


  • News

    • Call for Contributor(s)!

      Call for contributors to the textbook project of Jan Pieter Beetz (the Utrecht University School of Governance) and Selin Dilli ( Department of History and Art History).
    • The Bottom-up Literature Review

      Call for interested scholars in setting up a (systematic) literature review in the fields related to bottom-up initiatives.
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  • Events

    • The Future of Democracy

      Across the world, democratic institutions are under pressure. We gladly invite you to the 'Institutions for Open Societies Community Day' to think about and discuss this topic with us: What is the future of democracy? How can we reinvigorate formal and informal rules, organizations and networks to safeguard and strengthen democratization?
    • Ripple Effects Mapping Workshop

      A workshop by Dr. James Nobles on Ripple Effects Mapping, funded by Bottom-up Initiatives for Societal Change.
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