Universiteit Leiden

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About our research

Our research covers a very broad terrain and has a strong disciplinary basis across a wide range of scientific disciplines and fields.

Starting out from this basis, our researchers conduct both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. They maintain close links with society and draw inspiration from scientific and societal questions of the future, which they translate into fundamental research questions.

The Dutch government’s National Research Agenda is clearly reflected in the themes of our scientific research in Leiden and The Hague. And our research is also increasingly guided by the United Nations’ agenda, expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals. This is especially evident in The Hague, which is the world’s third UN host city, after New York and Geneva.

You can read about the impact of our research in our research dossiers. For example, that the Majorana particle – a highly promising building block for the quantum computer – was discovered in Leiden. Or that language offers new insights into our history, cultural diversity, migration and how our brains process information. And that Leiden researchers are seeking answers to the question of how we can safeguard peace and justice in our complex and increasingly globalised society.



Leiden University is largely organised on the basis of disciplines, a model that is characteristic of research universities worldwide. Yet many complex questions facing the world today require collaboration between researchers from different disciplines. Leiden University encourages this in numerous ways, which include establishing interdisciplinary centres, such as the Leiden Centre for Brain and Cognition, and allocating extra funds for interfaculty collaboration.

Promotion of research

From 2010 to 2018, the University invested in 11 ‘research focus areas’, aimed at building networks and promoting collaboration across disciplinary borders. This eight-year initiative was highly effective in enhancing such collaboration. In the period after 2018, the faculties and institutes can choose whether or not to continue with an extra financial incentive. Which means that the University as a whole again has the opportunity to give a special stimulus to new, sometimes more current, collaborations.

Collaboration with Delft and Rotterdam

The collaboration with Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam has also received substantial investment. Good examples include our partnership in the context of the Medical Delta, in the area of Life Sciences, Health and Technology, and within our joint Centre for Sustainability.

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