Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Protein transition - key to solving planetary crises

Substantial efforts are needed to address mounting societal and planetary challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, famine, and declining health. A key solution to these challenges is protein transition. Protein transition refers to a trend toward replacing the consumption of animal-based proteins with plant-based proteins. However, as we all know, changing any kind of behaviour is challenging. Many disciplines, including the social sciences, are developing a deeper understanding of human behaviour and how interventions can succeed in changing behaviour.

Wageningen University and Research are at the forefront of developing solutions for many environmental and health challenges and are spearheading the protein transition movement and associated research. While there are many researchers focussing on the hard science of proteins, there is substantial interest in social and behavioural aspects of the protein transition and how to achieve it.

Through a joint research effort (see below), we are in the position to explore research opportunities at the interface of protein transition, immersive technologies (eXtended realities), and consumer behaviour. As part of this project we will evaluate interventions delivered through immersive experiences targeting consumer behaviour and assess their effects on the choice of food (proteins).

Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, are entering a new era. Thanks to substantial investments by leading companies (e.g., Facebook(™), Microsoft(™), and Google(™)) catapulting immersive media into the mainstream, that is, they are affordable and seldom cause cybersickness anymore. At the same time, the creation and the design of immersive experiences are getting easier and easier and accessible to many more people. Tools such as Unity(™) or Unreal(™), that is, game engines, are sophisticated and well-supported development environments.

These developments open opportunities for research at the forefront of societal challenges by rethinking the ways that information is understood and communicated, how we can connect people to each other and to remote places, and how we move jointly forward to a more sustainable future. Wageningen is investing into these opportunities and is transforming its leading role in the agro-food domain through immersive technologies.

Relevance to research/projects

This project is part of an OneWageningen initiative as a collaboration between GRS and Marketing and Consumer Behavior. The project is additionally supported by a university-wide research effort (WANDER) seeking to establish immersive technologies firmly in the portfolio of research and education tools for environmental and societal challenges.


  • Design creative interventions for changing consumer behaviour delivered through immersive media (eXtended realities).
  • Evaluate interventions and assess their effectiveness
  • Use virtual or real environments for assessment of immersive interventions


  • Taufik, Danny; Kunz, Marvin C.; Onwezen, Marleen C. (2021): Changing consumer behaviour in virtual reality: A systematic literature review. In Computers in Human Behavior Reports 3, p. 100093. DOI: 10.1016/j.chbr.2021.100093.
  • Huang, Jiawei; Klippel, Alexander (2020): The effects of visual realism on spatial memory and exploration patterns in virtual reality. In Robert J. Teather (Ed.): VRST '20: 26th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology. New York, NY, United States: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM Digital Library), pp. 1–11.
  • Edwards, Caitlyn; Masterson, Travis D.; Sajjadi, Pejman; Fatemi, A.; Krieger, Erica; Klippel, Alexander (accepted): The Immersive Virtual Alimentation and Nutrition (IVAN) Application: An Interactive Digital Dietitian Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. In Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.


  • An interest in technologies and gaming
  • Interest in working with immersive technologies
  • Interest in empirical studies and evaluations

Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation; Empowering & engaging communities