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Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML)


Urban, Food, Water, Biodiversity, Resources and Energy: these are the main research topics of the Institute of Environmental Sciences. We always strive to be a global leader in our field. And make a real impact with our research programmes.

Maximize human well-being and minimise use of resources and emissions

Maximizing human wellbeing and minimizing the use of resources and emissions, to protect the biodiversity and natural capital of our planet. That is our mission. We do this with strategic, natural science based research and education. We aim to be the leader in our field, so we can have maximal impact and keep the planet liveable for you and future generations.

Working on Sustainable Development Goals

Our research is focussed on Economy, Society and Biosphere. Thinking for a life cycle and/or systems perspective. And we take into account the critical limits of the Sustainable Development Goals.

These are the main research topics of the Institute of Environmental Sciences:

 All other SDGs are used within a systemic way, specifically incorporated are SDG 3, 10, 13 within our investigations and SDG 16, 17 in our education programs. With our tool development we always strive to be a global leader in our field. And make a real impact with both our research and education programmes.

All the 17 images and names of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Our research programmes

  • Environmental Biology: focuses on subjects related to understanding the impact humans are having on biodiversity and natural resources and contributes to their optimal management.
  • Industrial Ecology: managing human impact on nature, focusses on biodiversity (our natural capital).
Conceptual representation of the mission of CML: quantitative assessment of the use of natural capital in the economy and the impacts on natural capital in the enviroment.
Quantitative assessment of the use of natural capital in the economy and the impacts on natural capital in the enviroment

Environmental Biology

The Environmental Biology department aims to increase the scientific understanding of how current and emerging anthropogenic threats affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. Through this understanding they facilitate strategic management of natural resources by addressing urgent challenges in relation to involved mechanisms and their inter-linkages across scales.


Ecotox is a stimulating top-facility that provides an integrative research environment around the topic of ecotoxicological testing and experimental research.

BMA Pesticide Atlas

Dutch water boards have a well-established program for monitoring pesticide contamination of surface waters. These monitoring data have been processed into a graphic format accessible online and designed to provide insight into pesticide presence in Dutch surface waters and trends over time: the Pesticides Atlas (www.pesticidesatlas.nl). With this tool one can easily get maps of where a pesticide is being measured and where it might possibly constitute an environmental problem over the years.


PNEC-pro is now available online, free of charge (you only have to register for free). PNEC-pro is a user-friendly screening tool for professionals dealing with the assessment of surface water quality. The tool calculates local, watertype specific no-effect concentrations (PNEC) of copper, nickel, and zinc based on biotic ligand models (BLMs).

Similarity modelling

The ZZS structural similarity model is an online tool designed to predict whether a chemical is structurally similar to those chemicals of concern (persistence, bioaccumulative or toxic). The model has been developed as a collaboration between Leiden University- CML and RIVM in a PhDtrajectory. 

Industrial Ecology : managing human impact on nature, focus on biodiversity (our natural capital)

The department of Industrial Ecology is dealing with research into the development of tools for decision making on sustainable production and consumption.

CML-IA Characterisation Factors

CML-IA is a database that contains characterisation factors for life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) and is easily read by the CMLCA software program.


Statistical distributions in LCA and converting between different representations of these distributions.


A global, detailed Multi-regional Environmentally Extended Supply and Use / Input Output (MR EE SUT/IOT) database.


GLOBOX is a spatially differentiated multimedia fate, exposure and effect model. It is used for the calculation of spatially differentiated LCA characterisation factors on a global scale.

Quantitative uncertainty in LCI

Overall dispersion in LCA as result of inherent uncertainties, spread and unrepresentativeness.

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