ASI scientific steering committee


Managing Director

PattbergProfessor of Transnational Environmental Governance and Policy
Head of Department Environmental Policy Analysis
Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1087
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: philipp.pattberg@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/ph-pattberg

Since 2015, I am the chair of transnational environmental governance and policy at Vrije Universiteit (VU). My research focuses on climate change governance, biodiversity, forest and ocean governance, transnational relations, public-private partnerships, network theory and institutional analysis. One of my ongoing research projects scrutinizes institutional complexity, functional overlaps and fragmentation across environmental domains (http://fragmentation.eu/). 

I am involved in various teaching programmes at VU Amsterdam, including the Master Political Science (specialization: Global Environmental Governance), the Master Environment and Resources Management (specialization: energy and climate), and the Master Earth Sciences (specialization: Global Environmental Change and Policy). Interested in interdisciplinary research, I am currently exploring how to better integrate social science research into earth system modelling and how to integrate insights from ethics and religious studies into environmental governance research. 

I am also involved in the national graduate and research School SENSE (Netherlands Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment, www.sense.nl) as general director. Furthermore, I am representing the Netherlands in the COST Action ‘Ocean Governance for Sustainability’, https://www.oceangov.eu/.

My most recent publication is an edited volume on the role and relevance of political science in the Anthropocene debate: https://www.routledge.com/The-Anthropocene-Debate-and-Political-Science/Hickmann-Partzsch-Pattberg-Weiland/p/book/9780815386148

Coordinator

GrijpSenior researcher Department Environmental Policy Analysis
Institute for Environmental Studies
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1087
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: nicolien.vander.grijp@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/nm-van-der-grijp

Dr Nicolien van der Grijp is a senior researcher of the department of Environmental Policy Analysis (EPA) at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). Her research interests are related to environmental law and policy at the international, EU and national level. She is specialised in applying social scientific research methods to evaluate how legal instruments are implemented in practice.

Important foci in her research are multi-layered implementation processes, public-private interaction, and innovative governance arrangements. She has 25 years of experience in doing contract research for international organisations, the European Commission, and the Dutch government. She co-edited books published by Cambridge University Press and Routledge on climate change related subjects. 

Recently, she contributed to the EU NEXT-Buildings project in which she investigated the experiences of residents with living in nearly-zero energy buildings, and wrote a country report about the Netherlands for the EU DG ENV project Development of an Assessment Framework on Environmental Governance in the EU Member States. 

She is currently involved in a national knowledge-action programme focusing on innovative governance in relation to the water-energy nexus (KAP Water), an Urban Innovative Actions project about the implementation of blue-green roofs for climate adaptation (RESILIO), and a Horizon 2020 project about new clean energy communities in a changing energy system (NEWCOMERS). She is coordinator of the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI).

Other members

Rien AertsProfessor of Systems Ecology
Systems Ecology
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1087
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: m.a.p.a.aerts@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/rien-aerts

As a full professor and section head of Systems Ecology (since 1997), I aim to contribute to answering the question how climate change affects the interactions between vegetation, soil, hydrosphere and atmosphere and the role of biodiversity therein. Central to my approach is quantifying the role of the vegetation in biogeochemical cycling using functional traits as the basis for response and effect parameters. This trait-based approach is used for both the role of living plants and the ‘afterlife’ effects they have through litter decomposition and soil nutrient mineralisation. The main study systems for the experimental work are high-latitude and high-altitude systems in Swedish Lapland, Spitsbergen and along the Antarctic Peninsula, where experimental warming is deployed, starting from 2000 onwards. By spanning such large geographic gradients I hope to find common principles in the feedback between climate change and the functioning of cold biome ecosystems.

My research group (about 15 people) studies these topics, in cooperation with many national and international partners, over the full array of hierarchical levels, going from soil microbial ecology to the global scale vegetation and biogeochemical models. International research evaluations have rated the work of my group during the past 15 years consistently as excellent, both in terms of quality and quantity. So far, 24 PhD theses have been completed under my supervision and another 6 are currently underway.

Jacob de BoerProfessor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
Head of Department Environment and Health
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1108
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: jacob.de.boer@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/j-de-boer-2


Gijsbert van den BrinkUniversity Research Chair of Theology & Science
Head of Department Beliefs & Practices
Faculty of Religion and Theology (FRT)
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: g.vanden.brink@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/gijsbert-van-den-brink

Since 2015, I hold the University Research Chair for Theology and Science at the Faculty of Religion and Theology. Next to that, I am Head of the Department of Beliefs & Practices at this faculty, spending considerable parts of my time doing administration. 

My research focuses on the interface of religion and science – whereby ‘religion’ includes theological reflection and ‘science’ includes both the technological outcomes and environmental effects of scientific research. My recent key publication in this field is a book on the compatibility of the Christian faith and the theory of biological evolution (in Dutch, with an English version forthcoming) (https://www.boekencentrum.nl/en-de-aarde-bracht-voort). 

One of my other research interests is the interaction between religious beliefs on the one hand and attitudes vis-à-vis environmental issues, such as human-induced climate change, on the other. To what extent and in what ways do our views of life – and as far as we are religious believers our theological assumptions – influence our ecological views, concerns and practices? I investigate this question (and related ones) in cooperation with my peers within the Center for Religion and Sustainable Development, that was established in my Department in 2018 (https://www.godgeleerdheid.vu.nl/en/research/institutes-and-centres/Amsterdam-Centre-for-Religion-and-Sustainable-Development).

Petra van DamChair of Water and Environmental History
Environmental Humanities Center
Faculty of Humanities
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: p.j.e.m.van.dam@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/petra-jem-van-dam

Since 2010, I hold the Chair for the History of Water Management and Hydraulics at the Faculty of Humanities at the VU. In 2019, my position will be transformed into the Chair for Water and Environmental History, co-funded by the Schilthuisfonds and the VU. My contribution to promoting more sustainable ways of living and thinking is to make people aware of our environmental history. How did we deal with natural resources such as drinking water in the past? How did we adapt to changes in our surrounding natural environment, such as variable weather? What does transition or resilience mean from a long-term perspective? Among my research interests are assessing the balance between natural and human agency in environmental change and studying the resilience of societies to natural disasters.

Over the years, I have invested much effort in setting up and developing the new international field of ecological (or environmental) history in Europe as vice-chair of the European Society for Environmental History, as organizer of  conferences, as co-founder of book series, and as member of  editorial committees of scholarly journals. In 2016, I co-founded the Environmental Humanities Center at VU [https://environmentalhumanitiescenter.com]. On my own and with my students, I published some 10 books and 80 articles. My latest book is Van Amsterdams peil naar Europees referentievlak. De geschiedenis van het NAP (2018), a history of the Amsterdam Ordnance Datum from the medieval ages to the present. My upcoming book is Swimming Rabbits. An Amphibious Society dealing with Environmental Change, a socio-ecological history of the Dutch coastal dunes.

Henri de GrootProfessor in Regional Economic Dynamics
Spatial Economics
School of Business and Economics
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelenlaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Email: h.l.f.de.groot@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/henri-de-groot


Henk van den HeuvelCentre for International Cooperation
VU International Office
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: henk.vanden.heuvel@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://www.vu.nl/en/about-vu-amsterdam/faculties-and-institutes/cis-vu/staff/heuvel/index.aspx


LagoProfessor of Software Engineering and Sustainability
Head of Software and Services research group
Department of Computer Science
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1087
1081 HV  Amsterdam
Email: p.lago@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/p-lago/

As a full professor of software engineering and sustainability (since 2015), I aim at contributing to software that makes society better, smarter and more sustainable. With the ever increasing role of software and digitalization in all aspects of the society, we should ensure that sustainability goals are considered by all stakeholders, from decision makers to the citizen, and throughout the whole software lifetime, from inception to disposal. Sustainability goals can be of economic, technical, environmental, and social nature; they be considered over time and in different contexts. My research in particular focuses on the architecture design of complex software intensive systems, their sustainability-quality assessment and actual measurement and monitoring when software solutions are in use.

I am the initiator and coordinator of the Computer Science Master Track in Software Engineering and Green IT, and co-founder of the Green Lab, a place where researchers, students and companies collaborate to measure the energy and sustainability footprint of software solutions and the impact on software quality.

I am also in the management team of IPN (ICT-research Platform Netherlands), and Vice-Chair of VERSEN, the Dutch National Association for Software Engineering. I am involved in various scientific events and societal organizations that discuss and decide on the sustainability role of software and digitalization.

Paul LangeSocial Psychology
Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Van der Boechorststraat 1
1081 BT Amsterdam
Email: p.a.m.van.lange@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/pam-van-lange

I am Professor (and Chair) of Social Psychology at VU Amsterdam, and Distinguished Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Most of my research on human cooperation and trust focusing on the roles of direct and indirect reciprocity, reputation, empathy, as well as the other side:  hate, hostility, and distrust. I apply basic theories and knowledge to broad issues such as climate change, refugee crisis, corruption, and soccer. 

My work has been recognized several grants and awards, including the Kurt Lewin Medal by the European Association of Social Psychology. I have published around 200 articles, in journals such as Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and Psychological Bulletin. Many articles have received considerable impact in not only psychology, but also in experimental economics, evolutionary (game) theory, and social neuroscience. 

With various colleagues around the globe, I have published several books, including the Atlas of Interpersonal Situations (published by Cambridge, 2003), the Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology (published by Sage, 2012), Politics, Power, and Paranoia (Cambridge, 2014), and Social Dilemmas:  The Psychology of Human Cooperation (published by Oxford, 2014). I also provide articles or commentaries to popular outlets such as Scientific American, The Conversation, or newspapers (e.g., New York Times, NRC, Volkskrant). 

I serve as Associate Editor for various journals, such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychological Science, is founding editor of an interdisciplinary series on Human Cooperation (Published by Oxford), Current Opinion in Psychology, and have served as Director of the Kurt Lewin Institute (KLI) and as President of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP).

Personal webpage

Heather LeslieDepartment Environment and Health
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1108
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: heather.leslie@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/ha-leslie

Dr Heather A. Leslie is a leading expert in international (micro)plastics research with an interest in studying how marine litter, plastics and industrial chemicals can impact our ecosystems, health and society and what can be done about it. At the E&H laboratory, Dr Leslie uses her background in ecotoxicology and environmental analytical chemistry to make the invisible visible, developing analytical techniques that enable the detection and quantification of microplastics, chemical additives in plastic and other industrial chemicals (e.g. persistent organic pollutants) in environmental matrices such as: birds, invertebrates, fish, food chains, sediment, canals, rivers, sea water, harbours, sewage treatment plants, air, products (e.g. cosmetics, plastic consumer goods) and product waste streams and in humans. Tracing the toxic micro and macromolecular debris of our contemporary consumer society through ecoystems, product systems and our own bodies and increasing our understanding of the fate, distribution and effects provides input to multiple users from research, policy, civil society and industry. She often works together in interdisciplinary teams, not only with chemists and ecotoxciologists but also governance experts, economists, humanities scholars, oceanographers, engineers, modelers, ecologists, industrial partners, polymer chemists, designers and artists, civil society et al.
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Lodewijk SmeehuizenLaw, Markets and Behaviour
Faculty of Law
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1077
1081 HV Amsterdam
Email: j.l.smeehuizen@rechten.vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/jl-smeehuijzen


SnelderCentre for International Cooperation
VU International Office
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Email: d.j.r.m.snelder@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://www.vu.nl/en/about-vu-amsterdam/faculties-and-institutes/cis-vu/staff/snelder/index.aspx

I am working at the Centre for International Cooperation at the VU International Office. My interest is in sustainable land and water management, including the fields of biodiversity conservation and agroforestry. I conduct the acquisition, management and implementation of international research and capacity-building projects in my  areas of interest. 

Between 2011-2015, I was the project coordinator of the EU-funded FP7 WHaTeR project on water harvesting technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa, a consortium of 8 European and African institutes.  Currently, I am the director of the Nuffic-funded 3C project (From Conflict to Collaboration to Conservation; NICHE-GLR-264) on natural resource management and conflict mitigation in the Greater Virunga Landscape, covering parks in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. I also manage the Nuffic-funded SPADE project (NICHE-KEN-284) on spatial planning for sustainable agribusiness and public policy development in Greater Western Kenya.  ASALI is another project in Kenya,  that I manage with funds from a legacy of the VU Vereniging, aimed at sustainable approaches towards livelihood improvement and with a focus on youth and women in rural areas near Eldoret and Kitui.  VU staff of different faculties participate as expert and PhD supervisor in the above projects that all address sustainability issues from different perspectives.

Marjo de TheijeSocial and Cultural Anthropology
Faculty of Social Sciences 
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Email: m.de.theije@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/marjo-de-theije


Guido van der WerfEarth Sciences
Faculty of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Email: g.r.vander.werf@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/guido-van-der-werf-van-der-werf

Lia van WesenbeeckEconomics
School of Business and Economics
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV  Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Email: c.f.a.van.wesenbeeck@vu.nl / VU homepage: https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/cfa-van-wesenbeeck