Anders Ekström and Sverker Sörlin take an active part in critical debates of humanities in and for society. University policies in the last decades have primarily aimed at the research component, to trigger excellence and international visibility, whereas education and collaboration have played a secondary role, often disconnected from the excellence surge in research policies. The British RAE/REF systems are cases in point, but similar tendencies are visible throughout the world. The authors analyze the concept of "integrative environments" where education, research and collaboration are vitally interconnected - either orchestrated by universities or as spontaneous outcomes from below. It critically examines how such integrative environments have been set up in different university settings, and particularly point to the promising route of conjoining different intellectual backgrounds and disciplines in them (such as humanities, environmental studies, policy and industry).