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LDE collaboration: seeing further than the end of your nose

‘We can see further than the end of our noses.’ This is what the presidents of the three Zuid-Holland universities in the LDE Alliance say in ScienceGuide. Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam have been working together within the LDE Alliance for seven years now, and have recently developed a new strategy. The focus of their collaboration lies on interdisciplinary research, joint programmes and creating social value in the region.

The three universities decided to enter into a strategic alliance seven years ago. ‘Much has changed in the intervening time,’ says the representative of the group Carel Stolker, who is Rector Magnificus and President of Leiden University. ‘At that time universities of applied sciences and research universities had big plans for mergers.’ But having given this more thought they decided this was not the right approach to generate the ‘extra value’ that the strategy hoped to achieve back then. ‘There’s not much point in plonking two law faculties together, just like there’s little point in putting large numbers of experts in public administration in one department just for the sake of it.’

What has been retained in the new strategy is the need to create value for the region, says President of Erasmus University, Kristel Baele. ‘Our teaching and societal relevance have a prominent role in the new strategy.’ To facilitate this, the three universities have met with policymakers and the municipal executives of the big cities as well as with the Economic Development Board and the Province.

‘It has made us appreciate that the major societal challenges can only be solved with a multidisciplinary approach,’ says Tim van der Hagen, President and Rector Magnificus of Delft University of Technology, adding that the universities in his province are all ‘unfinished.’ ‘But,’ he goes on to say, ‘the collaboration between a general, a specialist and a technical university creates a perfect combination for tackling the big issues.’

Read the full interview in ScienceGuide [in Dutch]

Photo above: the three presidents: Tim van der Hagen (Delft University of Technology), Carel Stolker (Leiden University) and Kristel Baele (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Photo: ScienceGuide

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