The Centre for unusual collaborations (CUCo)

Future generations face unprecedented challenges; climate change, resource depletion, socio-economic and health inequalities. Systemic structural transitions are urgently needed. We are the Centre for Unusual Collaborations, part of the alliance between Technical University Eindhoven, Wageningen University and Research, Utrecht University and University Medical Center Utrecht.

We are convinced that the next big innovations for societal impact are to be found through unusual collaborations in research: through the interactions that push us outside our disciplinary comfort zones, and encourage us to think differently about problems and possibly solutions.

CUCo’s mission is to facilitate these unusual collaborations.

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 (