About

Joost Vervoort is Associate Professor of Foresight and Anticipatory Governance in the Environmental Governance Group at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. He is also a Honorary Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and a Visiting Fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto Japan.  Joost is a Fellow of the Urban Futures Studio, a Fellow of the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges, and a member of the Utrecht Young Academy, where he leads a project on the use of the future across UU.

An ecologist by training, Joost holds a PhD from Wageningen University in stakeholder engagement through scenarios and other approaches to sense-making in and navigating through complex systems.

Joost is currently leading an (amazing!) research team of 9 PhDs and 4 researchers who investigate how creative engagements with new futures through scenarios, visions, games and other means can lead to action in the present through different pathways, from policy guidance to shifts in culture.

Joost had published widely on foresight, anticipatory governance, transformations, and simulation gaming. In addition, he has led over 150 high-level foresight and anticipation processes to guide major policies and strategies in many global regions.

As a teacher, Joost leads the transdisciplinary course ‘Global Integration Project’ as part of the BSc program Global Sustainability Science. In Global Integration Project, students work together directly with policy makers and national experts in 30+ countries around the world to develop transformation pathways. Joost also leads the course ‘The Sustainability Game’, a unique collaboration between Utrecht University and Utrecht University of the Arts (HKU). In this course ,students work together to build digital games that engage players with sustainable futures.

Current research activities:

Joost is the recipient of a Dutch Research Council (NWO) Vidi grant, ANTICIPLAY, a project focused on unlocking the potential of games as a way to engage with the future. Two PhD researchers, Kyle Thompson and Carien Moossdorff, are diving into the field of gaming through the lens of anticipation. Closely related to this project, Joost is the work package leader on evaluation in the Horizon 2020 CreaTures project. This project focuses on the role of creative practices in sustainability transformations. Juli Sikorska and Dr. Sandra van der Hel are researchers on this project.

For the last ten years (at ECI Oxford and then at UU), Joost has led a team of researchers (Lucas Rutting, Dr. Rathana Peou, Dr. Maliha Muzammil, Marieke Veeger) in a major multi-region scenarios project for the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program of the CGIAR – where scenarios have been used effectively to guide policies throughout South and Southeast Asia, East and West Africa, the Andes, Central America and the Pacific. He currently leads the CCAFS Scenarios Project together with co-PI Dr. Laura Pereira. In addition, Vervoort has focused on scenarios and transition pathways in the context of European food and nutrition security.

Since 2018, Joost also co-leads, with Prof. Aarti Gupta, the BNP Paribas-funded RE-IMAGINE project on anticipatory governance in the world’s most vulnerable regions. This project, manned by PhD researcher Karlijn Muiderman, aims to understand how anticipatory governance impacts present day actions on climate. To this end, Joost and Aarti are also at the helm of the Earth System Governance Taskforce for Anticipatory Governance; and Joost is the organizer of a global Slack community on anticipatory governance which now holds more than 500 people. This community serves as a continuous conference for connecting researchers and practitioners around futures and sustainability governance.

Finally, Joost has been involved, since 2015, in the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes project – a global initiative to gather a database of radical niche or ‘seed’ initiatives and use these seeds as a tool for the development of novel, inspiring Anthropocene futures.