Thesis - Volunteer opportunity: Hybrid Working Sustainability and Green Buildings


VU Sustainability Lead


Are you interested in the people aspect of sustainability and would like to learn more about its implementation on a local level? Do you want your research to have a direct impact and your results to be realised? Do you want to gain experience in sustainability consulting? Then join the Green Action Lab and help VU Amsterdam to improve its friendly environment!

Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Greenery significantly increases workplace satisfaction in employees, heightens self-reported concentration levels, and improves perceived air quality.Some workers perceive their working environment in the new NU building as cold and sterile. Developing their own planting concept and maintenance can lead to more ownership of the space and make it appear more personal.

The transformed workspace could provide new opportunities to reduce consumption and conserve resources, but the bottomline benefits for VU employees and the planet are unclear. This is a vital question that the university wants to clarify as we start to redefine the working models in the wake of the “new normal” – with sustainability at its core.


Through the Green Action Lab, you will collaborate with VU’s experienced staff and help them by:

-Which planting concept would be best suited for office spaces in the NU building?

-How can a planting concept help in stimulating a feeling of community and ownership among users?

-What are the social impacts of hybrid working compared to working on campus at the VU, both positive and negative?

-What are the consequences of working hybrid on people and the organisational culture? What costs do these consequences bring?

-What strategic recommendations should the VU implement to minimise negative social impacts?

-What would be the most beneficial working model and how could VU redefine its current one?

Throughout your assignment, you can tap on the knowledge of VU’s experienced staff as well as VU’s researchers. Furthermore, through the Green Action Lab, you will have access to a network of sustainability practitioners in Amsterdam and elsewhere, who you can contact for e.g. expert interviews. The intended outcome for the case is a set of recommendations/further social-innovation on campus that benefits all the people on campus.

Depending on your academic background and personal interests, you can choose to focus on physical, behavioural or other aspects.


- You are interested in the people aspect of Sustainability and

- You are a bachelor/master student at VU Amsterdam for the duration of the appointment

- You can come to VU on a regular basis

- You have good oral and written command of the English language

- You are open towards interdisciplinary collaboration and show a welcoming and tolerant work attitude.

- Desired background: Ecology, Architecture, resource management (ecosystem services), Psychology, organisation sciences, Health sciences.

What are we offering?:

By joining the project team, you will gain experience in:

*Sustainability consulting experience

*Professional & personal skills workshops with certificate for your CV

*Flexible desk and a study spot at the Green Office-VU

*Peer reviewed publication in “Science for sustainability” open access academic journal (when thesis is graded above 7.5)

*Certificate on climate action (SDGs agent)

Duration: From 1 February until 30 June 2023 (flexible)

Working hours: 8 hours per week of practical work, research possible for the rest of the week

Place: VU Amsterdam and remote

Supervision: T.B.A

Application process:

Are you interested in this position? Apply until 1st February 2023 (THESIS) OR anytime before the end of the academic year 2022-2023 (VOLUNTEER) by filling your information below and the Green Action Lab coordinator will contact you in 2-3 business days.

We are looking forward to receiving our application!

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