Universiteit Leiden

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Research Dossiers

Read the dossiers below for a plain-English explanation of a range of topics that academics from Leiden University are researching. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the experts listed in the dossiers.

Fundamentals of science

From the nucleus of an atom to the enigmas of the human brain: Leiden physicists, social scientists and biomedical specialists study the minutest particles, the greatest infinities and the oldest galaxies. But they are also engaged in exploring the origins of our behaviour – individual or in groups – the most complex datasets and the smartest algorithms. Their research is driven by the desire to unravel the deepest secrets of humans and the universe, to make the unknown known and – wherever possible – to apply this knowledge. 

Health and wellbeing

Leiden researchers and physicians seek a deep understanding of the best treatments for complex diseases such as cancer. They are actively engaged in regenerative medicine, personalised medicine and population health. They believe that a healthy society benefits from prevention: an understanding of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and of why people don’t always choose such a lifestyle. This research mainly takes place outside a clinical environment. And how can you best organise care? This question raises not only medical but also social, psychological, organisational and legal issues. In Leiden and The Hague researchers from these different fields work together to create a healthier society. 

Languages, cultures and societies

Our researchers explore human culture in the broadest sense of the word, both today and in the distant past. This is essential to a deep understanding of history, literature, music and other performative arts in both western and non-western societies. But a deep understanding is also crucial to current debates on our social and cultural roots, migration issues, ethical discussions, ‘national and religious identity,’ technological progress and the influence of traditional and social media. 

Law, politics and administration

A safe and sustainable society calls for a deep understanding of how society works on both a national and international scale. Our social and behavioural scientists strive for as complete as possible an understanding of political, societal, organisational and security issues. Our legal experts and criminologists connect the diverse areas of the law with criminological insights. They work in close collaboration with national and international institutions. 

Life sciences

The fundamental basis of all life is made up of complex processes involving cells, molecules and DNA. Knowledge of the human genome, powerful microscopes and gene expression techniques increasingly give researchers the opportunity to understand and control the most fundamental biological processes. Our researchers use this knowledge to search for and find stepping stones to new medicines and therapies. 

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