PhD Orientation Proposal: Exploring Sustainable Lifestyles

Abstract

In this orientation proposal I want to outline my interests and motivations for a PhD in the research area of sustainable lifestyles. I will be reviewing the research foci of three different research institutes: (1) The Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production, (2) the Future Food interdisciplinary research initiative at Utrecht University, and (3) the Strategic Communication Group at Wageningen University. I will contextualise their research activities with my own interests to provide research questions for prospective investigation.

Introduction

I am a sustainable development student with a background in energy and resources. Throughout my two years Master programme I discovered my interest in the dynamics between sustainability issues, technological solutions, human behaviour and lifestyles. In my master thesis I am currently investigating how daily practices of Dutch households affect food wastage and assess its environmental implications. Throughout my entire work I hold the core premise that successful sustainable development requires both technological innovation along with fundamental individual lifestyle changes towards a mindful adoption of sufficiency practices. Driven by curiosity and passion, together with my colleague and friend Jonas Wolterstorff we want to better understand the reasons that hinder or impede people to adopt sustainable lifestyles.

Aside this background, the main challenge that I would like to devote a prospective PhD to is as follows:

How can the adoption of sustainable, sufficient lifestyles amongst large parts of industrialised societies be facilitated to cope with grand societal challenges?

In the following sections I would like to outline my interest of a PhD in the research area of several research institutions that fit my aforementioned interests.