Universiteit Leiden

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Ideas from bachelor's students sought after by government and businesses

In their third year, students of International Studies get their teeth into difficult issues put forward by government and businesses such as Unilever and the World Food Programme. Students who take part gain valuable experience.

The research reports that the students present are well received by the 'clients' who take part in the Leiden programme on Practising International Studies (PRINS). An example is the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International. ‘On the advice of our students, they now train non-profits as a new field of work,' says Sarita Koendjbiharie. She developed PRINS and has taught the course since the start of International Studies in 2012.

Contact with international companies

According to Koendjbiharie, Leiden University is  one of the few educational institutions that allow bachelor's students to develop large-scale business cases. The students work in teams and come into contact with international players: a mix of large concerns, NGOs and government organisations. Students who take part gain valuable practical experience. 

Exploiting talent

The PRINS assignment is an annual consultancy project in which some 350 students learn to put their academic knowledge into practice. ‘The students become really inspired by the the projects, which increases their motivation for developing strategic solutions for such world issues as the integration of refugees into the job market, space technology, sustainability goals on earth and LHBT rights.' 

Valorisation

The results generated by PRINS are a form of valorisation and are therefore important for the University: they represent an instance of academic knowledge developed at the University being put to use in society.  The projects are chosen on the basis of a match between the need for knowledge on the part of the organisation, and the academic background and interests of the students,' Koendjbiharie explains. At the same time, lecturers give the student teams intensive supervision so that they are able to devise concrete and practical recommendations that are substantiated by solid scientific research.

On 11 and 12 May 2017, thirty presentations will take place of the six projects carried out by bachelor's students of International  Studies. The projects have been put forward by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Space Agency, Xyntéo, the World Food Programme, DAMCO and Workplace Pride. With these presentations the students conclude the PRINS assignment and transfer their knowledge to the practical environment.