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UM business sold, money goes to SBE chair

MAASTRICHT. The sale of Gresb, a business that was developed by UM researchers and placed under UM Holding, yielded so much money that Maastricht University is able fund a chair for the next 20 to 25 years (0.6 FTE, three days a week). Gresb stands for Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. Piet Eichholz, professor of real estate and finance, and colleagues from the School of Business and Economics set up this benchmark, which shows the level of sustainability of real estate funds in which retirement funds invest. “This was one of the results of our research into sustainability and real estate: is sustainable real estate also lucrative? Does it yield more money, have a better occupancy rate? Gresb is now the worldwide benchmark in this field. Retirement funds cannot get around it, they have to participate. Our mission is to improve sustainability in the real estate industry worldwide.”

With the proceeds (money – placed with the Universiteitsfonds Limburg/ SWOL - and investment profit), the School of Business and Economics is able to appoint a professor of sustainability and real estate for the next 25 years. Eichholz does not want to say exactly how much money was involved. But it will be at least some 1.5 million euro, looking at the gross salary of a professor who is appointed for three days a week. Eichholz: “It is the first time that we have appointed someone via an endowment fund. It is more common elsewhere in the world that chairs are financed in this way.”

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