The Centre for unusual collaborations (CUCo)

Future generations face unprecedented challenges. In the context of climate change, resource depletion, socio-economic and health inequalities, systemic structural transitions are urgently needed. Addressing these challenges requires diverse teams of academics as well as funding structures based on collaboration rather than competition. Together with the other Young Academies of the Alliance (TU/e, UU and UMCU) the WYA has set-up a platform to enable interdisciplinary research to address these challenges and produce sustainable transitions for a better future. We are committed to building unusual, interdisciplinary collaborations across our four institutions.

Thinking outside the box is key. High risk, high gain: we work towards bold ideas that go beyond traditional research to also consider opportunities such as collaborations around education and societal impact. We push beyond the limits of traditional funding streams and contemplate longer-term initiatives for lasting impact. 

As Young Academies, by definition, we represent a large and diverse group of scientists working across disciplines. We are in daily contact with leaders but also work directly with future generations of scientists and scholars through education, supervision and mentorship. Importantly, we are in close contact with one another and have mechanisms in place to build up truly interdisciplinary programs that address pressing societal challenges. This uniquely positions us to identify, foster and sustain new collaborations that push forward novel ideas.   

In 2020 we officially opened the “CUCo’s nest” a physical space at the Science park in Utrecht where young researchers and scholars can meet, brainstorm, learn about and perform interdisciplinary research.

Please visit our website for more information: CUCo (

For more information about the Alliance: Challenging Future Generations – Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University & Research, Utrecht University and University Medical Centre Utrecht are complementary in knowledge and talent and work together to contribute to societal transitions (