Dr. M.J. (Marjanneke) Vijge

Dr. M.J. (Marjanneke) Vijge

Universitair hoofddocent
Environmental Governance
030 253 9150

Dr. Marjanneke J. Vijge is Associate Professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University. Her work focuses on multilevel governance of trade-offs between sustainability goals and social justice in Africa, Asia and Europe. She has expertise in policy coherence around the Sustainable Development Goals and climate goals, among others in the fields of climate and food security.

At Utrecht University, Marjanneke is Academic Director of CHARM-EU and Programme Leader of the joint European Master's programme 'Global Challenges for Sustainability' that she helped develop. CHARM-EU is a European Universities Initiative funded by the European Commission. CHARM-EU serves as a testbed for innovations in challenge-based and transdisciplinary education and research around sustainability. It is a collaboration between Utrecht University, University of Barcelona, Trinity College Dublin, University of Montpellier, Eötvos Loránd University Budapest, recently joined by Åbo Akademi University, Würzburg University, University of Bergen and Hochschule Ruhr West. 

Marjanneke represents Utrecht University in the CHARM-EU Academic Council. She is coordinator of the Capstone, the final 6 months of the Master's in which student teams work together with societal actors to address sustainability challenges in Europe and beyond. Marjanneke is also leader of the Work Package on Public Engagement as part of CHARM-EU's research component TORCH, which aims to study and improve university structures and policies for Open Science and research innovations. In January 2023, CHARM-EU started a new phase with the 4 new partners and an ambitious expansion to all forms of higher education (BSc, MSc, PhD, professional), as well as joint transdisciplinary research programmes. As Academic Director, Marjanneke coordinates the strategy and content of this expansion within and beyond Utrecht University. 

Marjanneke acquired funding from NWO (the Dutch Research Council) for research on the water-energy-food nexus in South Africa. Together with Prof. Willemien Du Plessis from North-West University (South Africa), she leads this project on the social justice of water-energy-food communities and their legal implications in South Africa (April 2021-December 2024). The project also includes comparative analyses of legal frameworks for water, energy and food across Europe and South Africa. It has a unique approach to transdisciplinary research and generating impact locally. 

As part of the ERC advanced GlobalGoals project, Marjanneke acts as country coordinator and supervises 3 PhD candidates in analysing the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals at the global level as well as at national levels in the Netherlands, Ghana, Indonesia and Australia. 

In addition, Marjanneke is research partner and PhD co-promoter in the ClimEq research project on policy coherence around the Sustainable Development Goals and climate action, led by the Stockholm Environment Institute, with case studies in South Africa, Germany, Kenya, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, and with multilevel analyses across Europe (see Research).  

Over the years, Marjanneke conducted research in the areas of climate, forests, REDD+, extractive industries and agriculture. She has experience in international negotiations and politics, (sub)national policy-making, and on-the-ground projects. She has been visiting scholar at three institutes in India, Indonesia and Myanmar, and worked with 3 UN agencies in Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Marjanneke received her PhD degree from Wageningen University on the topic of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), with her main field work conducted in India. After her PhD, she was selected for a Niels Stensen Fellowship with which she carried out one year of post-doctoral research in Myanmar on the governance of the extractive industries sector. Prior to joining the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Marjanneke worked as Climate Policy Expert with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.