At the University of Amsterdam, people have long realized that things cannot go on like this. People must act now towards a better, healthier future for themselves and the world. The university will organize a digital exhibition called “A Better World@VU”, in which they will highlight a selection of sustainable projects and initiatives from an educational viewpoint.
A professional jury selected 17 projects that are linked to one or more SDGs (Sustainable Development Goal). These projects have a positive impact on the environment and/or on economic, cultural and social aspects in modern society.
Here's a sneak peak of the 17 selected projects:
01. A 3D Mathematical Model of the Rat Brain to Reduce Animal Usage
Is it ethical to cause animal suffering when testing drugs? Bioinformatics & Systems Biology student Beatrice Guastella developed a three-dimensional mathematical model that represents rat brain tissue and can predict the distribution and efficacy of drugs for Parkinson's disease. With less animal suffering, medicines become accessible and affordable for more people.
02. Active8 Planet
How do patients and staff actually experience their care environment? As part of the EU project Active8-Planet, a team of various master students from the Faculty of Social Sciences is translating the results of this ongoing research project into sustainable technical interventions at care partner Adagio.
03. Artificial Intelligence for Long-term Weather Predictions
Over the past five years, the Institute for Environmental Studies has developed a generic artificial intelligence method for making seasonal forecasts. This model is already used in several countries. The start-up of master students in Econometrics and Operations Research is now ready to develop even more applications that can contribute to a better and safer world.
04. Brighter Futures
The huge influx of refugees into Lebanon has seriously affected the socio-economic situation of the country and amplified existing challenges in the labour market. In this ongoing project SOZ/IO/CIS aims to help Lebanese institutions and organizations improve quality education for refugee students and host communities in Lebanon's Bekaa region and provide psycho-social support services.
05. Cities 2030
CITIES2030 assesses the way systems produce, transport, deliver and reuse food in Europe. Citizens will work in pilot labs and come up with innovative solutions for a more sustainable food system. This is a project by Suzanne van Osch and Mark Koetse from IVM.
06. Climate change impacts on Fairtrade crop producers
The team of Žiga Malek (Institute for Environmental Studies) analysed the consequences of climate change for Fairtrade producers of bananas, cocoa, coffee and tea around the world. The results of the study support Fairtrade International's planning of appropriate adaptation measures to make the supply chain more climate resilient and maintain farmers' livelihoods.
07. CollAction- Power to the crowd
Many individuals want to contribute to a better world. However, together you are stronger. CollAction is a start-up of Computer Science students. They developed an app where like-minded people can find each other, so that individual actions become joint actions.
08. Deep Offshore Carbon Sequestration (DOCS)
Earth scientists know where oil and gas can be found and extracted. And sometimes that's why they don't have the best reputation. However, knowledge about the subsurface can also be used to map out additional storage capacity for CO₂. Professor Wim van Westrenen's team is investigating the storage options in deep underground rocks off the coast of the Netherlands.
09. Ecosia Challenge
You can contribute to a better world by conducting searches on the internet. How? By using search engine Ecosia! A tree can be funded with an average of 45 searches. The Green Office VU is the driving force behind the Ecosia Challenge. They want to encourage students and employees to start searches via Ecosia from now on.
10. Eroding Arctic Coastlines
Thawing permafrost has an impact on global warming. Fleur van Crimpen and Lina Madaj of Earth Sciences are mapping the carbon degradation in Arctic regions and show that climate warming is already having disastrous consequences for many people. Follow the team as they do fieldwork in the cold north and keep an eye on their website.
11. Finding hope in times of climate change
Our children face an uncertain future. But what do they really think of climate change? In this project, the team of researcher Elisabeth IJmker of the Faculty of Religion and Theology engaged in a creative discussion with young people in secondary schools, from a perspective of hope.
12. Knowledge Alliance Sustainability Amsterdam New West
In this project, the team of Anne Rotteveel from the master program Management Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences, together with students from the ROC and the AUAS, investigates sustainability issues of organizations and residents' groups in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. In this project a participative action research method is used in which constant adjustments are made in the process.
13. Planetary Health
The CO₂ assistant team of the master program in Medicine wants to increase the awareness of fellow students about the health consequences of climate change in the Planetary Health project.
Right2Education encourages students from the AUC, VU and UvA to teach English and Dutch to refugees or to contribute to social activities. This project initiative is really about getting involved, taking a stand and contributing to greater equality and justice. New VU students are more than welcome.
15. SDG Scan
Organizations that want to become more sustainable, but do not know how to approach this, gain insight into how they can implement sustainable changes via the SDG Scan. The SDG Scan is a pilot project of the Sustainability Leadership Hub and the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute and is carried out by SBE students.
16. Strong roots, strong women
Led by Liselotte Hagedoorn (IVM), this project investigates how the natural system is able to reduce the risks of disasters in Vietnam and contributes to local livelihoods through increased fish stock and improved biodiversity. It also examines how women can become more empowered and involved in protecting local areas.
17. Urban Mining
Waste electronic equipment contains many metals that can be easily reused. Bernd Andeweg, Earth Sciences teacher, supervised a student who was investigating Urban Mining of mobile phones. The research shows that people are willing to recycle their mobile phone if they are aware of the added value.
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