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Utrecht University Will Host the Earth System Governance Project Office

The Earth System Governance Project and Utrecht University have reached an agreement that Utrecht will host the International Project Office of the Earth System Governance network from 2019 onwards.

The Earth System Governance Project is the largest global research network in the field of sustainability governance and policy. It brings together a research community of about 400 formally affiliated researchers, along with a broader network of over 2000 sustainability researchers and practitioners. For the last eight years, the Earth System Governance International Project Office has been hosted by Lund University, in an arrangement that expires by December 2018.

Utrecht University is a broad research university in the Netherlands, ranked for over a decade as best university in the country. The university has recently invested heavily in a strategic orientation towards excellence in research and teaching on sustainability and institutional analysis. In the last two years alone, the university has opened up 10 new faculty positions on environmental and sustainability governance. This makes Utrecht University an ideal host environment for the Earth System Governance Project, which operates at the interface of sustainability concerns and governance solutions.

Utrecht University will support this hosting agreement with almost 1 million Euros over a period of 5 years, with the major funding coming from the Faculty of Geosciences. Additional funding is provided by the university’s strategic themes “Pathways to Sustainability” and “Institutions for Open Societies,” with the university board offering further institutional guarantees.

Says Professor Piet Hoekstra, dean of Utrecht’s Faculty of Geosciences, “The global sustainability crisis requires innovative thinking about new and more effective governance approaches, from local to global levels. This is a core research area of our Faculty of Geosciences, and as well the central motivation underlying the Earth System Governance global research network. We are excited about our new collaboration with the Earth System Governance community, and hope to welcome many members of this excellent research network to our university in the years to come”.

Adds Professor Frank Biermann, founding chair of the Earth System Governance Project, “We are enthusiastic about our Project’s new, strengthened collaboration with Utrecht University, and look forward to many joint activities in the years to come.”

The hosting agreement between Utrecht University and the Earth System Governance Project has been accepted in principle by both partners, and will become effective by 1 January 2019. The office will be located at the modern facilities of the Utrecht Science Park, co-located with the Faculty of Geosciences, the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, the offices of the Pathways to Sustainability programme, and other related world-leading research groups. Overall, the sustainability science community at Utrecht produced in 2011-2015, according to a 2016 Times Higher Education assessment, the environmental science research with the world-wide greatest citation impact.


Frank Biermann, chair, Earth System Governance Project, at

Ruben Zondervan, executive director, Earth System Governance Project, at, or  +46 708 822018.

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