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Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development
Bringing sustainability science forward

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Plastic and Microplastics

Plastic is fantastic! It is so versatile and useful that we can now find it everywhere: in our phones, computers, books, clothes, food packaging, water bottles, toothpaste, body creams, and even in our skin and lungs. It is so pervasive that it is now considered an escalating pollution crisis. Our group aims to collaborate in finding causes and solutions to tackle this new upcoming emergency. 

Core areas 

Micro and Nano. Micro- and nano-plastics are plastic particles of a size between 5 millimetres and 1 nanometer that have infiltrated everything on earth, including the top of mount Everest and the air we breathe. The issue of microplastic is getting more and more attention: from alarming news articles to Doctor Who episodes. However, research on these nanoparticles is still scarce and awareness in the general public is low. Our group aims to advance knowledge on micro- and nano-plastics. 

Health and the Environment. (Micro)plastic affects not only human’s health but also the environment. From the perspective of the new concept of Planetary Health, we aim to investigate this issue taking into account the planet as a whole with all its inhabitants. 

Interdisciplinarity. Complex global challenges such as microplastics need an interdisciplinary approach. Our group aims to work on this issue from different perspectives, including environmental science (how can we better protect nature from this threat?), medicine (what is the effect of plastic on our health?), polymer science (what are the alternatives to plastic?), psychology (how can we motivate behaviour change in consumers?) and communication (how can we effectively communicate this issue?). Are you from another discipline and interested in this topic? Contact us! 

Societal stakeholders. Tackling real-life problems is more effective when combining the efforts from science and society. Our group cooperates with societal stakeholders, namely institutions, companies, research institutes, citizens' organisations and the cretaive sector.


●       Interdisciplinary School on Microplastics

●       Involvement in Momentum Consortium

●       ZonMW Microplastics and Citizens

Academic Leads

Dr. Josefine Geiger (Campus Fryslan)

  • E-mail: j.l.geiger

Prof. Barbro Melgert (FSE/UMCG)

  • E-mail: b.n.melgert

Irene Maltagliati (Faculty of Arts)

  • E-mail: i.maltagliati

Group Members

Antonis Vasileiadis Vasileiou (FSE)

Dian Burhani (FSE)

Dr. Karin de Boer (FSE)

Student Assistants

Anna Jegorenkova (Faculty of Arts)

Kasper van Haastregt (Campus Fryslan)

Last modified:01 February 2024 09.12 a.m.
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