VU Amsterdam seeks to find answers to scientific and societal questions. But we can’t do this in isolation; we must look beyond the boundaries of our scientific disciplines and seek collaboration with partners in society: government and the business sector. Our research is divided into four themes, which reflect just how in touch we are with current societal issues, the Amsterdam clusters, national top sectors and European grand challenges. Scientific quality, interdisciplinary research and societal relevance are the key terms in our research. VU Amsterdam invests in talent to stimulate top-class research. After all, the researchers define the quality of our research and education. The university cherishes its scientists and watches proudly as they raise the University’s reputation.
The quality of education and research at VU Amsterdam is reflected in its position in international rankings. To maintain this position and improve our research even further, it is imperative to measure the quality of the research and identify any points for improvement. Scientific integrity is an essential aspect of scientific quality and something VU Amsterdam values greatly.
Most of our research, which has been bundled into four research themes, is carried out in interdisciplinary research institutes. Biomedical, biophysical, psychological and clinical neurology, for example, all work together in Amsterdam Neuroscience, while CLUE takes a completely new approach to the cultural, economic and scientific aspects of heritage. What’s more, the campus and close proximity of VU University Medical Center are an added benefit when it comes to an interdisciplinary approach.
Many of the researchers at VU Amsterdam are at the national and international top of their field. We expect our researchers to broaden their horizons: beyond their own personal interests, through the boundaries of their field, into the realms of the unknown, further than here and now. Societal relevance is of the essence. Every year, we show just how highly we rate this quality with the Societal Impact Award: an award that recognizes academics engaging in research with a massive social impact. As research at VU Amsterdam is geared towards top social areas, VU researchers often manage to secure illustrious research grants.
Contract research, research commissioned by or together with the business sector or societal organizations, reflects our choice for societal relevance. The Renewable Energy in Africa (RENEW) research programme by the Amsterdam Global Change Institute (AGCI) is a prime example. Projects like this allow society to reap the benefits of the scientific knowledge and experience we hold at VU Amsterdam. But this doesn’t just apply to the Netherlands; our work also stretches into developing countries. In this way, we can help countries that are as yet unable to help themselves.
VU Amsterdam encourages researchers to publish articles that can be read, downloaded, copied, printed and distributed by anyone interested: Open Access. We feel that research funded by public money should be freely available to the public.
Investing in talent
VU Amsterdam invests in talent. The quality of our researchers can make or break our excellent research record. VU Amsterdam has therefore established three special honours to stimulate top research and reward its finest researchers. The University Research Chair is an exclusive five-year professorial appointment for researchers with the potential to lead their research field. The University Research Fellow challenges top researchers to select a personal Fellow from among their students each year. This Fellow will assist his mentor with research and teaching duties. Finally, University Professor is the highest university accolade, which is only given to outstanding, excellent researchers. VU Amsterdam currently has three university professors.
The support scheme of VU Amsterdam is designed to help promising researchers submit research proposals to the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Innovative Research Incentives Scheme and ERC Ideas programme.