The Netherlands’ system of research schools is unique in the world. The Dutch Research Schools bring together the country’s best expertise and infrastructure with the aim of optimizing the quality of research. In addition, they develop and organize education in the form of Research Master’s and PhD programmes.
VU University Amsterdam participates in over forty national research schools, in some cases fulfilling the role of lead institution. Two of these research schools have been accorded a special status. Institutions that achieve this status are known within the Dutch system as ‘top research schools’ and receive additional funding as part of a ‘vertical strategy’, based on the concept that an organization should play to its strengths. This involves selecting the best research schools and ensuring that they receive additional resources so that they can develop into outstanding research schools with an international reputation.