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Researchers get free rein with new Social Sciences and Humanities Labs

There was a lot of interest. In front of nearly a hundred researchers, supporting colleagues and Martijn Ridderbos, the Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board, Lotte van Dillen, Research Director of Psychology and Saskia Goedhard, Director of Humanities Operations jointly opened the new lab with a classic psychological dyadic game.

After the first steps six years ago, last Tuesday 14 November saw the opening of the Social Sciences and Humanities Labs (SSH labs): a new state-of-the-art research facility of Leiden University and a unique collaboration between the faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Creativity in research

When Humanities researchers did not yet have their own research labs, they were already visiting the social science spaces in the Pieter de la Court building. With research continuing to increase in LUCL's own labs, this collaboration is a good next step for lab manager Andreea Geambasu. 'This involves sharing spaces, knowledge, expertise and perspectives. It offers room for creativity in our research.'

Smart infrastructure and exciting crossroads

This is a good example of Leiden University's ambition to promote interdisciplinary cooperation. With this project, another step has been taken to improve university-wide infrastructure for behavioural science labs. The arrival of the SSH labs is important for the future sustainability of scientific research.

Martijn Ridderbos, present at the opening, remembers his tour of the small old lab rooms with enthusiastic researchers at the bottom of the Faculty of Social Sciences building. He is grateful for the innovative initiative of Rolf Oosterloo, Director of Operations at Social Sciences: 'Making smarter use of infrastructure by working together. And not just multi-disciplinary, but with especially exciting crossroads and insights.'

Virtual reality, dance or sports

In recent months, a lot of work has been done to prepare the labs as places where a variety of research can take place, beyond what is currently possible in the standard labs. Like virtual reality, dance or sports, and classroom set-ups. A skills lab has also been realised where students and novice researchers are taught how to conduct human-related research. In this, Ridderbos underlines the role of support staff. 'Not only aimed at researchers, this is also a nice challenge to bring together support staff, who are very important because they make research possible.'

Next steps

In the coming period, the renovation of the research rooms in the Pieter de la Court building and the avialability of the labs in the Lipsius building for all the SSH faculties involved will follow.

Be sure to come and see the facilities for yourself! The SSH labs are located on the second floor of the Sylvius building, Sylviusweg 72.

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