Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab: Sustainable Horticulture

Are you a master student looking for a thesis topic? Join LDE Centre for Sustainability and the partners companies of World Horti Centre in their mission to make horticulture more sustainable and future proof. From February - July 2022, we will run the first Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab on ‘Sustainable Horticulture’. The findings will be made available in practical solutions for the horticulture sector in the area of South-Holland.

We are looking for 9 enthusiastic LDE master students with a background in: Robotics, Global Business & Sustainability, Sociology, Psychology, Sustainable Energy Technology, Management of Technology, Biodiversity & Sustainability, Philosophy, Industrial Ecology, Governance of Sustainability, Innovation Management and Africa Studies. Students with other academic backgrounds are also welcome to apply.

What we offer

The lab consists of 12 two-weekly meetings between February and July 2022 during which we will discuss and help the progress of each student’s master thesis process. The meetings will be organized altering in Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden or at the commissioners. We organize lectures and meetings with relevant stakeholders, excursions, and a pressure cooker. Check out the lab program and application procedure here.

Challenge: How can we move towards a sustainable production of fruit and vegetables?

The world’s population is growing, urbanizing and is demanding safe and healthy food, available in sufficient quantity at good quality. The Netherlands are in a leading position in protective cultivation. Below The Hague and next to Delft and Rotterdam is the “Westland” region, a world technology- and production champion both in quality and quantity. The technology is not only used locally, for the European market but is exported around the globe. There’s hardly any country in which no Dutch horticulture technology can be found, ranging from seeds to complete greenhouses. Of all fresh tomatoes worldwide 80% have Dutch heritage.

But are Greenhouses the future? How can the Dutch horticulture sector move towards a sustainable production of fruit and vegetables? How to integrate new technologies and innovations (such as Vertical Farming, applications of LED-light, water and energy), stimulate biodiversity and circularity, and what will be the future position of agriculture in the metropolitan area of South-Holland?

Subtopics for master thesis

The lab is structured around a main question that will be addressed by all partners and thesis researchers (MSc students) involved. The main question of this lab is: How can the Dutch horticulture sector move towards a sustainable production of fruit and vegetables?

The following sub questions form the basis for individual thesis research projects. Each assignment has its own organization involved: Artechno, Logiqs, Seed2Feed, Priva, Greenport West-Holland, Wageningen UR/NetWork Foundation, Topsector Tuinbouw & Uitgangsmaterialen and Floricultura.

  1. Application of daylight in closed cultivation systems (Artechno)
  2. Speed up the access to fair and honest food, by using robots, AI, sensors, substrates and VR/AR (Logiqs)
  3. How to transform and implement Dutch Greenhouse knowledge and technology into Sub Sahara Africa to feed the growing and urbanizing population? (Seed2Feed)
  4. How to create a plant watering system based on the latest technology insights, that’s optimizes plant growth and minimizes water and nutrients use? (Priva)
  5. How to integrate (greenhouse) horticulture symbiotically into the circular megacities of the future (2040-2050)? (Greenport West-Holland, Program Circular Metropolis)

            A. Value of circular residual flows and opportunities
            B. An economic and social model for circularity of organic residual flows
            C. Circular solution(s) for large-scale valorisation of residual flows for high-rise
            D. Valuation and business models of products and residual flows: place-based
            E. Social: social integration of greenhouse horticulture

  1. What options are available to increase biodiversity around greenhouses? (Greenport West-Holland, Program Biodiversity)
  2. Two assignments from NetWork Foundation in collaboration with Wageningen UR:
    A. What are the values ​​for the future that are essential for the (Dutch) horticultural sector?
    B. How can the values for the future be integrated into its (future) business model?
  3. Application of hydrogen as an energy source in the horticulture sector: technical challenges, sustainable business case and societal values (Topsector Tuinbouw & Uitgangsmaterialen)
  4. Systems interventions to bring the company’s energy policy to a higher level (Floricultura)

10. Open assignment: share your thesis idea with us

NB: You can find a PDF with an elaborated description of each of the assignments at the bottom of this webpage. 

Apply here


World Horti Centre

About World Horti Centre

World Horti Center is the knowledge and innovation center for international greenhouse horticulture. A leading platform where business, education, research and government jointly innovate, connect, inspire and share knowledge.

Every year, World Horti Center is visited by 25,000 international professionals, who are looking for connection, knowledge and innovations in horticulture. We connect parties who want to contribute in sustainable food supply and greening the world. Leading horticultural companies and innovations are represented at our year-round trade fair. Here is a complete reflection of technology, supply, floriculture and food horticulture.

In order to continue to innovate and maintain its lead as an international sector, World Horti Center has a state-of-the-art research center with 38 greenhouse departments where researchers, entrepreneurs and various education institutions jointly conduct research. In addition, World Horti Center offers a learning environment for global talent and we work together with leading (green) universities.

You can apply between September 23 and October 17, 2021.
We will present the final teams on November 5, 2021.
The Lab programs run between February and July 2022 and start on February 9, 2022. 



Why is the Dutch horticulture so world famous? And what are the challenges in the horticulture sector? Check out in these videos:

Another inspirational video is can be found on Vimeo  EatThis: Tomatoes on 5th (case subs).

Sustainable Horticulture