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Seed Money programme

Every year, ASI selects new and innovative research projects at the VU for its seed money with the aim to foster innovative and interdisciplinary research across VU faculties. The projects are intended to strengthen the VU profile theme of “Science for Sustainability”.

Are you interested in handing in a research proposal yourself?

The current 2023 seed money call has been opened and will close on December 4 at midnight. Each project can request up to EUR 10.000.

The application process is kept simple and consists of:

  1. Filling in the application form
  2. Adding a preliminary budget plan to the form
  3. Uploading a project description of 0.5-2 pages to the application form

The proposals are evaluated by a selection committee based on innovativeness, interdisciplinarity and societal impact and relevance.

Requirements

  1. Applicants should belong to a minimum of two different faculties at the Vrije Universiteit.
  2. One of the applicants has to be a post-doc or assistant professor, other members can be PhDs.
  3. In addition to the two main VU applicants, societal partners and partners from other knowledge institutes are welcome to join.

Timeline

October 10: Call opens

December 4: Call closes

December 19: Announcement winners

Watch the story behind Seed Money projects.

Explore our 4-minute video.

➡️

For 2022, we again received a great number of proposals which cover a wide variety of topics and disciplines and show how diverse sustainability research is at the VU. All proposals were of high quality and “it was a pleasure to evaluate the projects and fascinating to see what ideas and initiatives are emerging out of the VU community”, as a member of the ASI grants committee put it. In the end, 4 projects received a full grant of EUR 10.000 and two projects were given a EUR 5.000 co-financing grant.

Find more information about the winning projects below in 'Edition 2022'. 

Seed money projects in previous years

  • Edition 2022

    Links between gender, indigeneity, sociopolitical, economic and biophysical factors and food security among the Mapuche in Chile

    Indigenous peoples in Latin America suffer from a long history of exploitation and marginalization and face poverty and food insecurity rates that are on average twice as high as compared to the non-indigenous population.

    Read more

    The environmental sustainability and costs of measures to reduce heat strain

    Climate change leads to an increase in extreme temperatures. Since morbidity and mortality are considerably elevated during thermal extremes, the Dutch government has serious concerns about health in thermal extremes and in particular in the heat. 

    Read more

    A Sustainable Cloud: Tactics for Urban Futures

    The resources required by data centers are witnessing an unsustainable growth. How to evolve digital infrastructures so that the cloud becomes sustainable, is a crucial problem that needs to be addressed, and fast. 

    Read more  

    Locusts and Wild Honey

    It is widely argued that the ecological crisis we are facing today, is for a large part the consequence of destructive (Western) human attitudes, actions and underlying worldviews characterized by anthropocentrism. 

    Read more

    How hazard scales can support and improve risk communication

    For decades, meteorologists and governments have been warning coastal communities for an imminent hurricane using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. 

    Read more

    Decolonising Sustainability Transitions Research in Practice

    One of the most urgent discussions taking place at the crossroads of sustainability transitions research and post- and decolonial studies today is: how can global ecological collapse be countered without erasing the local realities of indigenous peoples worldwide? 

    Read more

  • Edition 2021

    Gold in Crisis – New environmental threats and global crime in South America

    South America is a region of prolonged social and ecological crisis. This project takes gold mining as a productive lens to examine these social dynamics for the cases of Colombia and Venezuela. 

    Read more

    FireScapes – Towards an interdisciplinary understanding of wildfire risk mitigation in the Dutch landscape

    Over the last year, the number of wildfires has increased dramatically in the Netherlands and they are expected to increase further. 

    Read more

    Festivals as innovative spaces for sustainability transition

    The urgent need for transition towards a sustainable society calls for novel initiatives to engage and mobilize people. 

    Read more

    Firm-survey evidence on environmental policy and barriers to energy efficiency investments

    Hazards of climate change require us to make more efficient use of energy, as fossil energy usage often goes hand in hand with damages to the environment and climate.

    Read more

    Interrelating in the Anthropocene

    Operating at the interface of the humanities: theology/religious studies, the social sciences, and biology this project investigates the potential of cultural and religious imaginations, practices, and conceptualizations for reimagining human-nature relationships in the context of the Anthropocene. 

    Read more

  • Edition 2020

    Enabling and empowering social entrepreneurship

    This project aims to enable and empower social entrepreneurship, dealing with social and environmental issues. Well-known examples of social entrepreneurship are Tony’s Chocolonely (aimed at fighting slave labor in the cacao value chain, among others) and Dopper (aimed at reducing the use of plastic, among others), but also many other, often small-scaled, firms are practicing social entrepreneurship. Growing interest among citizens, policymakers and scholars regarding the positive impacts of entrepreneurial action beyond economic growth is clear. Thus, the core of this project are two days with a group of 25 entrepreneurs on the practices of opportunity creation, mobilization of supportive communities and organizational survival in competitive markets. The 25 entrepreneurs may represent existing businesses as well as start-ups.

    Contact persons:

    • Prof. Enno Masurel, Department of Management and Organization / VU Center for Entrepreneurship, School of Business and Economics
    • Dr Neil Thompson, Department of Management and Organization, School of Business and Economics
    • Dr Michel Verver, Department of Organization Sciences, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Science

    Plastic, science and society symposium: An exploration of the power of transdisciplinarity in sustainability research and education

    This project aims to unite disciplines and help scientists and students working on this topic open their minds to new ways of thinking about these complex issues surrounding the plastics problem. If there was ever a global issue that required creative thinking outside the box, this is it. We will achieve this through bringing scholars of different disciplines together with artists and other societal actors in an interactive one-day symposium aimed to discuss inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to dealing with the plastic pollution issue. A mix of lectures and workshops have been organized.

    Contact persons:

    • Dr Heather Leslie, Department of Environment & Health, Faculty of Science
    • Miranda van Holland, 3D Program Coordinator, EARS, Valorization Officer Faculty of Religion and Theology

    Growing up with hope or despair? Investigating Dutch teenagers’ comportment towards the future in the age of climate change

    In this project, we wish to explore what climate change means for Dutch teenagers’ view of their future. A special role is given to the concept of hope. To do so, we will investigate how teenagers relate themselves to narratives of hope, optimism, pessimism and cynicism. The project’s main research question is how do Dutch teenagers comport themselves towards the future in the age of climate change? A central role is given to the understanding of hope as can be found in the work of Jonathan Sacks and Erik Borgman.

    Contact persons: 

    • Dr Gerdien Bertram-Troost, Faculty of Religion and Theology and Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences 
    • Drs Jan Jorrit Hasselaar, Amsterdam Centre for Religion and Sustainable Development, Faculty of Religion and Theology
    • Dr Barbara Regeer, Athena Institute, Faculty of Science
    • Dr Pim Klaassen, Athena Institute, Faculty of Science
    • Dr Willemine Willems, Athena Institute, Faculty of Science

    Dutch homes gas-free by 2050? Speeding up the rate of energy-efficient renovations with the help of behavioral research

    The energy-efficient renovation of residential homes is one of the big challenges the Netherlands faces. As high up-front cost and lack of trust were identified as perceived major barriers for energy-efficient renovations, behavioral interventions need to enhance trust and address the renovation measures’ relative costs and benefits. This asks for a concerted effort of behavioral researchers as well as businesses and public authorities to jointly research behavioral interventions to speed up the renovation rate. To this end, we will jointly set up a long-term collaborative research initiative, C-Lab Energy, that aims to build up a database on individual renovation decisions from various sources (surveys, online experiments, field experiments, existing statistical and geodata) to enable researchers from ASI and other Dutch universities to jointly research the barriers to energy-efficient renovations as well as instruments to overcome them.

    Contact persons: 

    • Dr Julia Blasch, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Menusch Khadjavi, Department of Spatial Economics, School of Business and Economics 
    • Dr Giuliana Spadaro, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

    Human mortality in European cities under climate change

    While the previous ASI project focused on empirical analyses of climate-related mortality in the Netherlands, the current project is an upscaling of these findings (along with other information and studies, see methodology) in a European scale analysis of expected mortality changes and related economic impacts in cities due to climate change. Thus, we will develop a spatially explicit model that projects mortality changes for all major European cities under various climate change and socio-economic scenarios of population change, while accounting for additional warming from the UHI. This impact model can according to the IPCC (2014) risk assessment framework be divided in hazard, exposure, and vulnerability components. The hazard model is based on a newly developed Integrated Assessment Model called CLIMRISK (Estrada and Botzen, 2019) which produces spatially explicit temperature projections under climate change scenarios that are probabilistic by accounting for uncertainty in GCM temperature projections and climate sensitivity.

    Contact persons: 

    • Prof. Wouter Botzen, Department of Environmental Economics, Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Sciences 
    • Prof. Hein Daanen, Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

    Does climate change cause emotional stress and undermine attention and productivity?

    There is increasing attention for the link between emotions and climate change. This project examines the emotions linked to climate change: whether explicit reminders of climate change may interfere with both emotions and cognitive performance. In particular, using online experimentation services 2 (Qualtrics), we will examine in two Western countries (i.e., Germany, The Netherlands) whether reminders of climate change will make people (a) experience more negative emotions (especially worry and helplessness, but also regret and social emotions such as shame and guilt), and (b) perform worse on simple, incentivized cognitive attention performance tasks.

    Contact persons: 

    • Prof. Paul A. M. van Lange, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences 
    • Dr Menusch Khadjavi, Department of Spatial Economics, School of Business and Economics

    Looking where no one is looking – a food system horizon scan to identify emerging food system issues

    In order to manage wicked food system problems and to make progress towards the grand challenge of food system sustainability, we need to develop novel research approaches that include multiple diverse perspectives, that challenge assumptions and that aim to illuminate the unexpected. In this project we aim to use 'horizon scanning techniques' to truly identify food system issues that are at the margins of current attention, that are novel and unexpected – we aim to look where none is looking or identify the ‘unasked questions’. To foster the out-of-the-box thinking that is required for such a goal, we will carry out small-scale workshops with leading thinkers on food system sustainability from within and outside VU. The proposed food system horizon scan would thus help VU food system researchers carry out more transformative and boundarypushing research and help VU take a role of transformational leadership in food system research.

    Contact persons: 

    • Dr Verena Seufert, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Lia van Wesenbeeck, Amsterdam Centre for World Food Studies (ACWFS), School of Business and Economics 
    • Dr Tomris Cesuroglu, Athena Institute, Faculty of Science

    ICT 4 Food Security (I4FoodSec)

    In the concern for food and nutrition security in poor rural regions in countries such as Mali Burkina Faso and the north of Ghana, the seed value chain plays an important role. This research will pilot the application of an interdisciplinary approach called “Decision Maps” (Lago, 2019) so far applied to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions for Urban Futures, on the question of how to improve the seed production in Mali in a sustainable way. It does so based on locally-collected information from the farmers and farmer organizations (in previous projects). 

    Contact persons: 

    • Prof. Patricia Lago, Professor of Software Engineering and Sustainability, Faculty of Science 
    • Anna Bon, Senior Advisor, CIS-VU – Center of International Collaboration 
    • Wendelien Tuyp, Advisor Sustainable Land Management, CIS-VU – Center of International Collaboration
  • Edition 2019

    Workshop transitions in food-water-energy infrastructures

    Contact persons: 

    • Prof. P.J.E.M. van Dam, Environmental Humanities Center, Faculty of Humanities 
    • Dr S.J. Kluiving, Environmental Humanities Center, Faculty of Humanities 
    • Prof. K. Kwastek, Environmental Humanities Center, Faculty of Humanities 
    • Dr K. Steenbergh, Environmental Humanities Center, Faculty of Humanities 
    • Dr F.K. Boersema, Institute for Societal Resilience, Faculty of Social Science 
    • Dr T.I.E. Veldkamp, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science

    Misconceptions of Millennials: An interdisciplinary pilot study on consumer misconceptions about sustainable food choices and motivations for dietary change

    Contact persons: 

    • Dr Julia Blasch, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Harry Aiking, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Ziga Malek, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Jantsje Mol MSc, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Meike Morren, Department of Marketing, School of Business and Economics 
    • Ivar Maas, Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

    In hope we trust?

    Contact persons: 

    • Prof. Philipp Pattberg, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Paul Koster, Department of Spatial Economics, School of Business and Economics 
    • Prof. Peter-Ben Smit, Department of Texts and Traditions, Faculty of Theology and Religion 
    • Drs. Jan Jorrit Hasselaar MA, Amsterdam Centre for Religion & Sustainable Development, Faculty of Theology and Religion

    Drivers of climate-related human mortality and economic impacts

    Contact persons: 

    • Prof. Wouter Botzen, Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science 
    • Prof. Hein Daanen, Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences 
    • Mireille Folkerts, Department Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences 
    • Mike Martinius, Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science

    Smart blue-green roof at VU Aula

    Contact persons: 

    • Dr Martijn Westhoff, Institute for Earth and Climate, Faculty of Science 
    • Dr Ralph Lasage, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science 
    • Prof. Jacob de Boer, Department of Environment and Health, Faculty of Science 
    • Prof. Petra van Dam, Environmental Humanities Center, Faculty of Humanities

Do you want to know more?

Get in touch with ASI Scientific Coordinator Meike Morren

meike.morren@vu.nl