The Science Shop of Wageningen University & Research: an open door to research for non-profit organisations in society

Published on
April 8, 2022

The Science Shop of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) collaborates with non-profit organisations in society by organizing research projects that find answers to their questions. The challenges these organisations are facing range from social issues to questions related to food & health, nature and environment. The Science Shop works closely with researchers and students within WUR. Often a collaborative project of approximately one year is started, for which the Science Shop provides funding. If you are interested in making use of this kind of research, please contact the Science Shop.

Our goal is to empower groups in society by engaging them in scientific research and to create direct, positive change together. We believe that local problems can be great opportunities to address global societal issues: we serve society by being an open door to the university and creating the space for everyone to decide what should be researched at WUR.

Case studies - collaborative solutions

De Regenbooggroep

At the end of 2019, De Regenboog Groep, an Amsterdam-based non-profit organization that supports citizens in risk of exclusion, contacted the Science Shop after observing the rise of economically homeless citizens. Economically homeless people become homeless after a critical life event such as an accident, divorce, or loss of job. They don’t present any sort of mental illness and thus often are not eligible for social help - making them vulnerable to ending up in an even worse situation.

In our joint project, we looked for possible solutions by investigating what are the needs of the economically homeless to improve their wellbeing, what the current policies are (and how they can improve), and lastly by mapping options for temporary housing in Amsterdam.

The project leader of this project is Karin Peters (Cultural Geography). Interested in this topic? Read about the project (article in Dutch).

Regreening urban spaces

Cities like Amsterdam keep on growing to accommodate the increasing demand of housing - but can we afford to lose green spaces to city growth? Groen Platform Amsterdam (GPA), a group of 30 green organizations of the city, contacted the Science Shop to provide a scientific basis for the value of the urban green in Amsterdam.

The results were clear: Amsterdam’s greenery has considerable value - socially, economically, and environmentally. As Paul de Dooij from GPA explains: “Greening neighborhoods, for example by creating a neighborhood park or vegetable garden, is a 'no regret measure': the benefits always exceed costs”.

To build on these results, Science Shop and GPA joined forces to map the most suitable places for the greening of the city. Taking great amounts of satellite data and studying the impact of green in specific areas, 80 possible spaces were found. Of these 80 places, a practical feasibility study was carried out by GPA: 40 areas in Amsterdam could be greener.

The municipality of Amsterdam used these ‘top 40’ to create a more extensive ‘top 100’ areas to start regreening projects.

Collaborating with the Science Shop

Are you part of a non-profit organisation in society that is facing a challenge, or has a question? Or do you know anyone who could benefit from a collaboration with the Science Shop? Please contact us.

More examples of our work can be found on our website, as well as more details about the way we work. Or stay tuned and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Don’t hesitate to get in touch and start a conversation!