Newsletter No 1 March 2011

VU University set to launch Amsterdam Global Change Institute


Frans Berkhout

agci1The Amsterdam Global Change Institute (AGCI) will be officially launched at the VU University on 16th June 2011. The new institute aims to encourage excellence and innovation in research on the environment, global change and sustainability.

Five departments and institutes at the VU University will work closely together within the AGCI: the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), the Department of Ecological Sciences, the Climate and Earth Cluster (all in the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences), the Department of Spatial Economics (Faculty of Economic and Business Administration) and the Department of Political Science (Faculty of Social Sciences). Existing collaborations between these research groups are being strengthened, building on a long track-record of interdisciplinary research at the university. IVM is playing a leading role in the new institute, and its first director will be Prof dr Frans Berkhout. We believe that through the added scale and strength of AGCI, the VU University can position itself more clearly as a leading European environmental and global change research university, with clear benefits for IVM.

agci2Six research themes have been defined for the AGCI research, each relating to existing VU scientific strengths, and in fields where greater collaboration promises innovative integrated science (see below). In the first phase of the institute (to 2014), new post-doctoral appointments will be made under each of these research themes. Working with senior scientists from across the new institute, these post-doc researchers will be given the freedom to develop integrated research on complex global change issues. To support the establishment of the institute, start-up funding of €1.3 million has been granted by the university and the faculty for the period 2010-2014. Additional funding will be sought from external funders for a total budget in this initial period of about €2.5 million. The total research capacity represented by the new institute will initially be about 200fte faculty and researchers, making AGCI one of the largest global change and sustainability institutes in Europe. A website containing more details on research strategy and key scientists will be launched in the next month.

Contact: Frans Berkhout