KlimaatHelpdesk and Participatory Value Evaluation both win the Pathways to Sustainability Award 2021

This year's Pathways to Sustainability Award goes to ... And then it was silent in the Hertz in TivoliVredenburg for a few seconds. Two cups appeared on the screen. Meaning? That we have a tie and two winners this year: The Participatory Value Evaluation and the KlimaatHelpdesk.

A Participatory Value Evaluation for Dutch Climate Policy

The Participatory Value Evaluation addresses a key contemporary challenge: how to develop ambitious climate policies in a democratic way? Climate policies such as renewable energy projects often face resistance, partly due to inadequate involvement of citizens in climate policy decisions. Although small-scale participation projects exist, a key challenge is how to engage a large share of Dutch citizens. In March 2021, a total of 10.810 engaged in the Participatory Value Evaluation and compared provided their preferences on 10 climate policy options. On 17 June, the researchers presented the final report to the chairman of the Climate Agreement Progress Consultation, Ed Nijpels, after which they explained the results in the Dutch House of Representatives.

The project is led by Lisette van Beek from Utrecht University and Niek Mouter from TU Delft. Lisette and Niek are both working accross a range of different disciplines. Lisette is a PhD candidate studying climate policy futures combining insights from psychology, Science and Technology Studies, political science and environmental governance. Niek is an Assistant Professor with expertise in infrastructure policy appraisal who combines insights from economics, philosophy, political science and urban planning.

The goal and content of the citizen engagement tool was co-created with policy-makers from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the National Thinktank and climate policy experts from TU Delft, the UU and the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency.


The KlimaatHelpdesk provides an easily accessible source of reliable and evidence-based information. This is of crucial importance in a time in which the validity of available information is difficult to check for non-specialists and sometimes deliberately undermined. The KlimaatHelpdesk is a unique and accessible communications platform that connects the general public with scientists and experts, run by a volunteer group and meant to become the go-to place for people with climate-related questions. These may cover the whole range of academic disciplines and range from physics, economy, geography, psychology, history, biology, etc. As such, we highlight the needed for a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to address climate change.

Since the official launch of the KlimaatHelpdesk in November 2020, we have assembled a network of 200 enthusiastic experts ready to answer questions, a team of 40 volunteers, and published more than 100 questions and answers on the website and attracted more than 10,000 visitors.


Lisette van Beek and Joseline Houwman hold the Award, accompanied by moderator Lynn Zebeda, last year's winner Helen Toxopeus and runner-up Karin Rebel. Credit: Robert Oosterbroek

Runner-up: Utrecht 2040 Game

Having two winners also means having only one runner-up: Utrecht 2040, large-scale city-based gaming for sustainable futures. As this project is also a fine example of interdisciplinary cooperation, co-creation and societal impact we do not want to withhold it from you.