Europe and a globalising world

Research and education at UM have been thematic, multidisciplinary, and inspired by social themes. UM distinguishes itself by focusing on three main research themes (i.e. ‘Quality of life’, ‘Europe and a Globalising World’, and ‘Learning and innovation’) which are studied on the basis of different disciplines at all relevant levels. During the last decades the European integration process and the position of Europe as a specific actor on the global scene has increased enormously. Most research questions concern the intrinsic value of having a European Union and the character and the direction of the European integration process. Questions arising from this perspective deal with the role of Europe’s corporations in developing a sustainable global economy and the configuration of service-and supply chains to maintain Europe’s competitive position in the world. Specific issues that deserve particular attention are responsible investing, green buildings, sustainable supply chains, responsible leadership, employee well-being as well as the value of complex service systems.



The study association of the master's programme in Sustainability, Science and Policy, ASAP, has kept a community garden for about four years in Maastricht on the Mergelweg. Under the inspiring leadership of Colin Laviolette, around eight students maintain the garden. And successfully, as the first potato, zucchini and tomato shoots are carefully coming out of the ground. He is proud of that. “When we took over the garden from the previous class of students, it was a big jungle. Now, everything is relatively organised again.”

Working towards more sustainable materials is not about developing materials made from renewable sources. Instead, it’s about lowering the carbon footprint of the materials we use today, without compromising their physical properties and functionality. Professor of Polymer Science Sanjay Rastogi wants to achieve this goal by working with industry to combine molecular insight and product development. He has dedicated his career to seeking new knowledge about polymers – at present from his three different bases, at Loughborough University (UK), Teijin Aramid (Arnhem) and Maastricht University (UM).

Animal research puts sustainability on the map

In Society
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:38
We’re happy for animals at the zoo to have large enclosures, but if we’ve bought a ticket we do want to be able to see them. We like to eat meat, but we’d rather not be confronted with pictures of battery cages. We may be vegetarians ourselves, but still have a big dog that eats meat. “We live in glass houses”, says Pim Martens, professor of Sustainable Development at ICIS, Maastricht University’s sustainability institute. He recently began studying the role of animals in our society. “Through animals, you can put the sustainability debate on the map in an engaging way.”

Sustainability penetrates the financial world

In Money
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 08:46
Sustainability is slowly but surely gaining a foothold in the financial world. Investors are growing more critical; banks and pension funds are increasingly investing in green energy and companies that take social responsibility seriously. The Maastricht University School of Business and Economics is responding to these developments with its new Master in Sustainable Finance. We sit down with Jaap Bos, one of the programme initiators (together with Jeroen Derwall).

The value of green buildings

In Money
Thursday, 21 February 2013 09:19
In his research, financial economist Nils Kok uncovers the truth behind the market value of sustainable real estate. The real estate sector is responsible for 75% of global energy consumption. A green energy label can therefore increase the sales price of residential and commercial buildings: “Sustainability really pays, and is the best way to climb out of a recession.” 

Social innovation and the vegetable garden

In Society
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 07:37

Crime, drugs, unemployment, deterioration and deprivation. Just five years ago, these were the less than flattering labels stuck to the Heerlen neighbourhoods of Meezenbroek, Schaesbergerveld and Palemig. Now, the ‘MSP’ district is considered a role model for social and sustainable innovation. The transformation is thanks in part to SUN, an interregional project that aims to make existing urban neighbourhoods more sustainable. Carijn Beumer and Pieter Valkering joined the project on behalf of Maastricht University.

Five or so years ago the question was raised at the Province of Limburg: how are we doing in terms of sustainability? A budget was made available to find the answer, and Annemarie van Zeijl-Rozema’s PhD research was born. “When it comes to sustainable development, you need an environment that supports and facilitates. A province can be highly suited to this.”

“Sustainability is about much more than just the environment”, says Van Zeijl-Rozema. This comes as a surprise, because in the minds of many people the two concepts are closely linked. The point, she says, is that in our actions we weigh up not only environmental aspects, but also social and economic ones. “A mobility plan for the Maastricht hills (the Heuvelland), for example, is not first and foremost a sustainability plan. If it were only about the environment and you wanted to let nature go its own way, you could just as well put up a fence around it. But that’s not economically sensible, because you want to attract tourists. Nor is it practical socially, because the residents there need to be able to get from A to B. In sustainable development you always make certain judgements. And by identifying all these considerations, you make your choices very transparent.”

Since the sixties the electric car has been known as ‘the car of the future'. But why is such a car still not widely used in the year 2011? How sustainable are they really and what can the government do to effectively promote their use? Marc Dijk explored these and other questions while reading for his PhD at Maastricht University. For his follow-up research he was awarded the Edmond Hustinx Scholarship, which included 7,500 euros for a stay abroad. At the end of this year he hopes to conduct research at Oxford.

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