AUAS to study the acceptance of energy transition

Some EUR 8 million in grants available for consortium to speed up the transition

12 Dec 2019 16:37 | Communication

The transition to sustainable energy and mobility in the Netherlands is faltering, despite advancing technological developments and the clear economic benefits of such a transition. To change this, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) is allocating almost EUR 8.5 million to a multidisciplinary research programme in which engineers, social scientists, NGOs and businesses will work closely together. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is the only higher education institution with an applied emphasis involved in the NEON project.

In the next five years, new methods and techniques will be developed to give the transition a significant boost. The focus is on sustainable energy production and alternative forms of transport.


One new development is the involvement of behavioural scientists from day one, led by AUAS professor Reint Jan Renes of the professorship in Psychology for Sustainable Cities. This should make it easier for businesses, governments and citizens to actually make the transition.

“Often these kinds of consortia are largely driven by technology. But if we want technological solutions to be desirable and acceptable, we need to think about people’s individual preferences when developing them. So I’m very happy that we can be involved in the development of key enabling technologies from day one,” says Renes.

Climate agreement

We humans are rapidly disrupting the ecosystem on which we depend. For this reason, nearly 200 countries, including the Netherlands, signed the Paris Agreement in 2017, in which they pledge to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees.

Our country is lagging far behind when it comes to achieving this objective. The proportion of renewable energy sources in our total energy supply is among the lowest in the world; we still emit too much CO2 with our cars and lorries, while our roads are becoming more and more congested, with all the associated costs.

PhD students

The NEON project, which stands for ‘New Energy and mobility Outlook for the Netherlands’, is associated with a total of EUR 12.5 million, with almost EUR 8.5 invested by NWO, providing funding for 32 PhD students.

In addition to the AUAS, other participants in the study include Eindhoven University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tilburg University, the University of Twente, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). They will work closely with 18 companies from the Netherlands and abroad, as well as with various government agencies and NGOs.