Twelve consortia receive funding for research within 'Transitions and Behaviour'

29 January 2020

NWO has awarded twelve proposals funding for interdisciplinary research into behaviour that facilitates and accelerates major transitions in society. Dutch society faces a large number of challenges, for example in the areas of mobility, climate change, healthcare and sustainable energy. When these transition issues are tackled, it is important to strike a balance between technology and society.

Father holding his bike with child in the childseat in front of a vegetable stand.

In addition, people's behaviour plays an important role in the chances of transitions being successful. In the various research projects from the programme Transitions and Behaviour, researchers in the exact and behavioural sciences work closely with partners from industry, government bodies and civil society organisations. Taken together, all of the awarded projects form an inspiring combination of diverse studies, which focus on transition issues named by the cooperation top sectors Creative Industry, LSH, Agri&Food, eWater & Maritime, Energy, BBE, HTSM and ICT. A total of 9.48 million euros has been made available for the research. Most projects have a duration of five years.

The research projects awarded funding are (in alphabetic order, by name of the project leader):

Stepping Out: Accelerating deep transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning for innovative actions, interventions and strategies of deep sustainable transitions in port area development
Led by: Prof. Paul Chan (TU Delft)
Collaborating partners: TU Delft, University of Amsterdam, Research Centre Sustainable Port Cities of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Knowledge Institute for the Water Cycle (KWR), Stichting Waternet, Gemeente Amsterdam, Rotterdam Makers District

How do disciplinary and professional experts get out of their comfort zones to produce innovative actions, interventions and strategies for radically changing systems of transport, water, energy and housing in our urban areas? Stepping Out will examine what it takes to drive deep transdisciplinary and interprofessional learning for deep sustainable transitions.

On the Move: Transition towards Sustainable Mobility
Led by: Prof. R.E.C.M. van der Heijden (Radboud University)
Collaborating partners: Radboud University, TU Delft, Prorail, Cetorhinus Maximus (Biosgroep), Mobiliteitsalliantie, BAM infraconsult, Transdev (Connexxion/Hermes), ROCOV Gelderland, Stedin Netbeheer, Futureconsult, Etopia, The Barn, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Provincie Gelderland, Gemeente Den Haag, Gemeente Nijmegen

The mobility sector needs to become more sustainable. It is highly uncertain what measures need to be taken and what their impact will be. In a collaboration with various societal partners, this project will develop and test an approach aimed at creatively managing these uncertainties.

Accelerating the transition to plant-based proteins
Led by: Prof. Marko Hekkert (Utrecht University)
Collaborating partners: Utrecht University, TU Delft, Wageningen UR, Unilever, Danone Nutricia Research, Green Protein Allinance, Freedomlab/Dasym, Voedingscentrum

Plants instead of meat and milk. Many of us are used to eating meat and dairy products. The environmental impact of these products is high. Therefore, society needs to shift its diet towards environmental-friendly, plant-based substitutes. The research in this project will contribute to understanding and accelerating this transition.

Food Waste: from Excess to Enough
Led by: Dr Erica van Herpen (Wageningen UR)
Collaborating partners: Wageningen UR, TU Delft, University of Groningen, Hello Fresh, Levahrt, Iglo, HAK, ACV, Voedingscentrum, Stichting Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling, EFMI (Food Management Institute) Business School, Capgemini

The food system aims to provide large amounts of food anytime and anywhere but the price for this is extensive food waste. This project will investigate changes in the food system, focusing on both consumer and retail concepts, to obtain a transition from having excess to having enough.

Beyond adaptation and mitigation to regeneration. Transforming behaviour by changing the recursive relationship between behaviour and transition-relevant systems (TransB)
Led by: Prof. René Kemp (Maastricht University)
Collaborating partners: Maastricht University, University of Amsterdam, KWR Water BV, Waternet (Waterschap AGV), Waterschap Limburg, Waterleiding Maatschappij Limburg, SATIJNplus architecten, Pantopicon, Gemeente Amsterdam, Gemeente Kerkrade

In just a few decades, cities are meant to become carbon neutral, climate proof and circular. This project will use design thinking to co-create new options and to foster competences and behavioural change among professionals and citizens in four settings. It also seeks to find lessons about the wider changes needed.

Changing inter-organizational collaborative behaviour in circular construction projects
Led by: Prof. Alfons van Marrewijk (VU Amsterdam)
Collaborating partners: VU Amsterdam, TU Delft, Dura Vermeer, Volker Wessels, Van Wijnen, BNA Dutch association of architects, JHK architects, CePeZed, DP6 Architectuur Studio, Bouwend Nederland, Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, Gemeente Amsterdam, Gemeente Rotterdam, Gemeente Den Haag, Rijkswaterstaat, ACCEZ

The architectural, engineering and construction sector can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and climate impact by transforming from linear to circular practices. The research aims to enhance implementation of technological innovation in the sector by reflecting and intervening upon laborious collaborative behaviour in the design phase of circular construction projects.

Designing compassionate technology with high societal readiness levels for mental healthcare
Led by: Dr Matthijs Noordzij (University of Twente)
Collaborating partners: University of Twente, Minddistrict BV, Dimence Groep

Compassionate technology for sustainable mental health care. The ambition is to generate a transition to sustainable mental health care, in which the adaptability of people is increased and supported by compassionate technology. Compassion means recognising what is needed to help and then doing that. In this project, compassion is central during the development of new therapeutic technology.


Led by: Dr Clarine van Oel (TU Delft)
Collaborating partners: TU Delft, Noorderberg & Partners, Knaapen Renovatie en Onderhoud, Mateboer Bouw BV, Zaanderwijk Beheer BV

VR-Renovate: unleashing VR's participatory design power. VR-Renovate gives social tenants a voice during the sustainable renovation of their homes and as a modern communication means to explain what energy transition means for tenants. It employs an immersive visualisation. Living Labs will further VR’s potential to support tenants in making sustainable choices.

Tenants' behavioural responses to residential energy transition: are intended energy savings feasible?
Led by: Dr Ioulia Ossokina (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Collaborating partners: Eindhoven University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Leiden University, Stichting Elan Wonen, Stichting Pre Wonen, Stichting Woonbedrijf SWS.HHVL, Stichting Woonlinie

Energy retrofitting and energy use by tenants: how are these related? Energy retrofitting should lead to less energy use and CO2 emissions. For recent energy renovations in social housing, this project will examine whether energy consumption of tenants has gone down as predicted and to what extent this was influenced by tenants’ behaviour. The project will also develop tools to optimise retrofitting packages and aftercare.

Tipping the balance in dietary change: behavioural aftereffects of designing healthy and sustainable food environments
Led by: Prof. Emely de Vet (Wageningen UR)
Collaborating partners: Wageningen UR, Reinwardt Academy (Amsterdam University of Arts), Waag Society, BeBright, Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Gemeente Utrecht, Gemeente Amersfoort, Provincie Utrecht

Shifting consumption towards plant-based diets can contribute to human and planetary health. Yet, the food environment with easy access to and abundant availability of unhealthy, ultra-processed foods complicates consumers’ healthy and sustainable food choices. In this programme, healthy and sustainable food environments will be co-designed and social and behavioural after-effects on food consumption will be investigated.

Enduring Rewards: Maintaining a lifestyle change by eHealth-supported dynamic personalized incentives
Led by: Dr Valentijn Visch (TU Delft)
Collaborating partners: TU Delft, Leiden University, NIPED Prevention BV, Innovattic, Leiden University Medical Center (department Clinical Health Cardiology), Gemeente Rotterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam Medical Center (department Public Health)

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is rewarded with a long and healthy life. But maintenance is difficult. We will investigate how maintenance can be supported by different types of rewards. We will therefore collaborate with people struggling with lifestyle maintenance, designers, psychologists, hospitals, municipalities, and eHealth and game developers.

Towards Safe Mobility for All: A Data-Driven Approach
Led by: Dr Joost de Winter (TU Delft)
Collaborating partners: TU Delft, University of Groningen, SD-Insights, Assurantie Bemiddeling, Wegtransport (ABW), Transport en Logistiek (TLN), KBO-PCOB, Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen (CBR), Regionaal Ondersteuningsbureau Verkeersveiligheid (ROV) Zuid-Holland

Vehicles are increasingly equipped with sensors. We will examine how sensor data can be used for providing short-term and long-term feedback to young drivers, older drivers, and professional drivers. The goal is to improve data processing algorithms so as to facilitate a transition towards safe mobility for all.

Source: NWO