Prof. dr. Detlef van Vuuren

Vening Meineszgebouw A
Princetonlaan 8a
Kamer 0
3584 CB Utrecht

Prof. dr. Detlef van Vuuren

Environmental Sciences

“Staying close to the 1.5 degree target has become a makeshift way - but it is still possible and absolutely worth it.”


Research focus: Climate change, Scenario analysis, Integrated assessment, Energy system analysis, Environmental sciences

Detlef van Vuuren (1970) is a professor in Integrated Assessment of Global Environmental Change at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University and senior researcher at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency leading the IMAGE integrated assessment modeling team. He has published more than 460 articles in refereed journals including high profile journals like Nature and Science. He is among the few people worldwide that are listed as most highly cited researchers in three different disciplines and was listed by Reuters as the 4th most influential climate scientists worldwide. In 2018, he received the Huibregtsenprijs for excellent science with high societal relevance.

Focus on global sustainability issues

Detlef van Vuuren focuses on global sustainability issues. With his team, he develops models with which future climate and environmental changes can be explored by means of scenarios. These models take account the interaction between climate, environment and socio-economic development.

Among other things, Van Vuuren jointly coordinated the development of the climate scenarios now used by IPCC, the climate panel of the United Nations.

Integrated assessment modeling supports policy making

Managing global environmental problems and moving towards a more sustainable development form key challenges for the 21st century. Integrated assessment modeling can support policy making by exploring different possible futures in terms of socio-economic development and environmental impacts. The key objective here is understand the evolution of relevant systems as best as we can under different assumptions. For this, it is necessary to integrate information of different scientific disciplines. Van Vuuren is personally very motivated to contribute to this. He also strongly believes that the two institutes he’s affiliated with, Utrecht University and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, can work together in this area.

Network participation is key

He participates in various research organizations in the field of environmental research. He is member of the board of the Integrated Assessment Modelling Consortium (IAMC), the Global Carbon Project, the Earth Commission and member of the steering board of ISIMIP. He participates in the editorial board of Climatic Change, Earth System Dynamics and Global Environmental Change. He is also a member of the KNAW Royal Academy of Sciences and the Arts in the Netherlands.


Integrated assessment of global environmental change
Inaugural lecture date