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Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development
Bringing sustainability science forward
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About us

The Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development

The Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development is the University of Groningen network organisation in the area of sustainable development. In this School UG scientists and lecturers from a broad spectrum of disciplines work together with societal organizations and citizens on the pathways to more sustainability.


Sustainable development has many aspects, as well articulated in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Sustainability is essentially about connecting: strengthening the relationship between people and nature and strengthening the connection between people in unequal circumstances. Our goal is to develop scientific knowledge and to bring existing expertise together more effectively, in order to bring sustainability closer. Regional, national and international.


The Agricola School is a pressure cooker for transdisciplinary scientific research. The staff of the School supports scientists to work together from different perspectives, and forges alliances between the scientists of Agricola and key organizations and stakeholders.

We connect with national and international colleagues, organizations and social partners.

  • We inspire, innovate and accelerate.

  • We share results, make them visible and usable.

  • We develop ground-breaking research projects, organize research meetings and major events with a national and international impact.

  • We develop education, for academic students, but also for professionals and citizens.

  • Agricola supports scientists in obtaining funds, organizing workshops and living labs, communication and publicity.

Our four priority themes

The Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development has four priority themes. In it up to 250 scholars join forces to bring interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and education forward. The four priority themes approach Sustainable Development from four different angles: places, governance, shocks and trade.

Within the themes there are research 'groups' in which 3-15 scientists from different disciplines cooperate to create new knowledge or science-fueled actions for sustainable development.

The Sustainable Landscapes & Regions group takes a place-based approach to sustainability of regions and landscapes. This in the context of huge transformations in space, be they biodiversity, agriculture, energy or urbanization related. The group aims to find approaches that integrate and balance ‘hard’ economic values with ‘soft’ well-being values.

Democracy and Governance targets inclusive sustainable governance. It does so by exploring the field of deliberative democracy, accountability and transparency in public governance and local to transnational cooperation. This against the backdrop of increasing levels of public distrust and anti-government populist movements,

Risk, Crises and Resilience concentrates on crises and disasters which are prone to increase in frequency as we approach planetary boundaries. How can people and communities develop higher levels of risk awareness and preparedness to become more resilient and sustainable?

Development & Security are two essential domains that play a critical role in creating a sustainable future and have significant implications for the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Development and Security (D&S) research theme aims to foster interdisciplinary research along three research lines: development, security, and the interplay between the two.

Last modified:02 June 2023 2.27 p.m.
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