Research on Pathways to Sustainability

Pathways to Sustainability

Sustainability research at Utrecht University is exceptionally strong and covers many different fields. Having the unique combination of top-notch fundamental natural science research, modelling, and scholarship in innovation, transition, governance and finance, Utrecht University, as a broad research university, is at the forefront of innovation in sustainability research.


The vision of Pathways to Sustainability is: Joining forces within the university and society to explore pathways to just and sustainable futures for all.


Its mission is to create a vibrant community fostering new research collaborations to explore pathways to sustainability, guided by the principle that scientific rigor meets societal relevance.

Rigor meets relevance

At Utrecht University rigor meets relevance. It is a place of discussion and scholarship, where the enhanced understanding of human-nature relationships meets the active advancement of the capacity for innovation and renewal to create a sustainable and just global society.

Vibrant and inspiring community

Utrecht University is a place of invention, inspiration and community spirit. A safe place for a meeting of minds, both from within the university and beyond. Utrecht University is a place where new ideas are discussed and new societal strategies are born.

Scientific hubs

Pathways to Sustainability advances innovative research via selected thematic areas. The focus is on identifying and understanding transformative pathways in five hubs:

Sustainability research at Utrecht University

Our Pathways to Sustainability community comprises more than 1200 academics currently working within University University. They are organised in research institutes.

Sustainability 2012-2016

The previous Sustainability research theme (2012-2016) was grouped into three sub-themes:

  • Water, Climate and Ecosystems
  • Healthy Urban Living
  • Future Energy and Resources