About our research

The specialisation is closely connected to the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Aquatic Ecology in Duisburg-Essen, leading institutes in research on environmental, nature and water issues. On this page, you can read more about the relevant institute(s), research groups and unique facilities that make our highly renowned research possible.

Research institutes

Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES)

For over more than 20 years, researchers from the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) have been trying to fundamentally understand recovery processes and connect all different components in an ecosystem. This includes studying and predicting the impact of anthropogenic (man-made) stressors, such as carbon dioxide emission and the use of toxic agricultural compounds. Due to this long history, the institute profits from an ample funding and a large research network, both inside and outside academia.

Institute for Science in Society (ISiS)

Interventions in the natural environment – such as deforestation or reconstruction of nature areas for urban extensions – often incite strong public responses. Therefore, nature conservation does not only involve ecology but societal aspects as well. The research projects at ISiS bridge this gap between science and society. ISiS hosts a variety of experts including philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists and interdisciplinary scientists with the aim to analyse, assess and improve the societal embedding of science and technology.

Research groups

At RIBES, multiple departments study the field of species protection and nature recovery. For TWM students, the most relevant departments are:

Sustainable Development Goals

Environmental Science

In environmental management, 1000+ of species are to be protected against 1000+ of different pressures. The Environmental Science (ES) group aims to understand and predict both the relative and cumulative impact of anthropogenic stressors on species including humans. They translate detailed mechanisms into overarching principles, applied in models for future projections, in particular in highly populated river deltas and estuaries. 

Aquatic Ecology & Environmental Biology

The research group of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology focuses on explaining the functioning, diversity and services of wetlands and drylands in a changing world. The outcome of these studies provides vital information for successful nature and water management, and for the restoration of anthropogenically disturbed ecosystems.

Research facilities

RIBES researchers make use of state-of-the-art molecular, analytical and microscopy facilities in the modern Huygens building of Radboud University. New greenhouse and growth chambers were specifically designed for RIBES research needs and became operational in 2014.


In July 2014 a new greenhouse complex was put into use. Eight growing rooms  are ranging from 160 to 240 m2. Two small compartments are designated for climate cabinets. The greenhouse is accommodated with an advanced climate control system, shading and energy saving screens. Rainwater coming from the greenhouse roof is stored in basins and after UV treatment used for watering the plants. 


At the Experimental garden, the unique Nijmegen Phytotron is an experimental facility with containers for ecological studies at the mesocosm scale. Positioned under a rain shelter, long-term studies are performed under ambient conditions with water supplied with an automated drip-irrigation system. The Phytotron is designed for studies on belowground processes, including a minirhizotron system for root observations. It is a unique research facility as plant growth and below ground root interaction can be studied in big compartimentalised containers without stressing the plants or destructive methods.

Experimental garden

The experimental field is about 7500 m2, including smaller and larger ponds, and is suitable for diverse field experiments.