IVM is organized into four groups of researchers: The Water and Climate Risk department studying the interaction between society and the hydrological and climate systems. The Environmental Geography department studying the geographic variation of human‐environment systems.  The Environmental Economics department studying the economics of various environmental themes, and  the Environmental Policy Analysis department studying governance for sustainability, focusing on the institutional and political aspects of environmental change.

Although each department, applies specific scientific methods and techniques, IVM overall research approach is best described by four characteristics. First, we still apply system-thinking and integration approaches for studying interactions between human and natural systems. Second, we take a cross-scale and multilevel perspective, connecting the local with the global environments. Third, IVM researchers have interdisciplinary collaboration in their DNA, both within and across the natural and social sciences.  Fourth, IVM research has always aimed to generate actionable and impact-driven outcomes, critically evaluating current practices, and working closely with societal stakeholders. 

IVM works at the forefront of current scientific and societal debates to contribute to a more sustainable planet. We have always tackled contemporary and emerging themes in the context of sustainability. IVM’s current key challenges include biodiversity loss, climate change, sustainable energy and food systems, land-use change, and water governance.

IVM approaches and challenges figure 

Integrating Themes

Cross-cutting topics of research involving all IVM's departments.


Brief description of the four research departments of IVM.