Seed funding: open call 2024

Through our Pathways to Sustainability seed funding scheme, we look to stimulate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary interactions and create impact guided by the ‘rigor meets relevance’ principle.

We welcome proposals for initiatives that, for example, contribute to the overall understanding of aspects of the ecological, socio-cultural, economic, and governance systems that enable defining pathways to just and more sustainable futures for all.

We are pleased to invite proposals in this context, be it in relation to (the setting up of) research projects, educational initiatives, stakeholder engagement, outreach activities, or the development of external collaborations (consortia).

  • The Pathways to Sustainability open call funds initiatives up to 10.000 euro.
  • Funding may be used for any type of activity contributing to the mission and objectives of the strategic theme, and coordinated by an interdisciplinary team (the active involvement by scholars from at least two Utrecht University faculties is required).
  • As an example, funding can be used for, but is not limited to, (international) meetings, workshops and other events; travel and accommodation costs; assistants or other support; facilitators or coaches; visiting fellowships; education activities or internships; outreach and communication; etc.
  • Cut-off date(s) for the submission of proposals in 2024: 5 February, 7 June.
  • Decisions are taken by the Programme Board within two weeks after the deadline for submission.
  • Please fill out and submit the application form (max. 2 A4) to You will receive an email confirmation of your application within 2 to 3 days of your submission.
Please find the format for applications here
Gallery with Seed Funded Projects

Aims and criteria for Pathways to Sustainability funding

The Pathways to Sustainability mission is to propel radical innovation in our university practices by creating vibrant communities fostering new collaborations in research and education, both within the university and with societal stakeholders, to enhance our impact on the exploration and development of pathways to sustainability, guided by the principle that scientific rigor meets societal relevance.

Funded projects and initiatives should contribute to realizing the three aims defined in the 2022-2025 Pathways to Sustainability strategy:

  • Be the driver of change fostering sustainable thinking and practice, via the creation of spaces for innovation, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary interaction, bringing together students and scholars from both early to established moments in their careers working on sustainability issues across the many different institutes and departments; thus
  • Fulfilling the critical role that belongs to universities, not only thinking along but also critiquing developments where appropriate and coming up with new imaginative ideas about what sustainable futures may look like and how we might get there.
  • Finding new ways to connect our proven excellence in research and education to processes of societal learning, creating more direct links with policy makers and stakeholders and society at large (transdisciplinarity).

To guide both the design of funding schemes as well as the final allocation of funds by the Pathways to Sustainability Programme Board, the following principles are followed:

  1. Applications should contribute to accelerating change through initiatives that are not yet happening elsewhere in UU and/or are not easily funded via other channels;
  2. Applications will stimulate the integration of different types of expertise through transdisciplinary collaborations, ideally across Communities;
  3. Applications will be challenge-based: topics are formulated, and initiatives are designed, in such a way that they resonate within multiple Pathways to Sustainability Communities;
  4. Projects will create time and space for (early-career) scholars to make an active contribution
  5. Applicants commit themselves to the open and inclusive design process in which initial ideas may change with the input and integration of various types of expertise. They also commit themselves to peer-assessment once they submit an application;
  6. Trust in our scholars and in the process is key. We aim to facilitate as many promising initiatives as possible. To be able to do so, we encourage applicants to only apply for necessary costs and ask for their commitment to ensure an open and inclusive process.