Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

dr. R.J. Renes (Reint Jan)

Professor of Psychology for Sustainable Cities

Behavioural scientist Reint Jan Renes is the AUAS’ Professor of Psychology for Sustainable Cities. His professorship conducts research into the social psychology of sustainable behaviour, focusing on concrete issues in society.

People are becoming increasingly concerned about climate change. Yet many of them lack a sense of urgency or perceive too many barriers to actually make eco-friendly changes in their daily lives. What motivates them to spring into action?

Reint Jan has been involved in diverse practice-based research projects during the past 15 years. He has learned that in order to effectively influence behaviour, it’s crucial to intrinsically understand what motivates - and inhibits - people. Furthermore, placing too much emphasis on sustainability and what you think others should do can backfire. In order to encourage people to contribute to a more sustainable world, it’s vital to take interest in their current situation and what drives them.

Reint Jan obtained his doctorate in Social Psychology at the Vrije University (VU) in Amsterdam in 2005. He held the positions of Professor of Cross-Media Communication in the Public Domain (University of Applied Sciences Utrecht) and Associate Professor  in Strategic Communication (Wageningen University) until the start of 2019, when he joined the AUAS.

He is a co-author, alongside researcher Sander Hermsen, of the successful book Draaiboek gedragsverandering: De psychologie van beïnvloeding begrijpen en gebruiken (Road map for behavioural change: the psychology of influencing, understanding and implementing). Magazine Communicatie (Communication) ranked Reint Jan third in a list of the 25 most inspiring communications professionals in the Netherlands in 2015.