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Studium Generale & YAL

YAL now has its own lecture series! In collaboration with Studium Generale, we organise ‘Young Academy Leiden lectures'.

In this new lively lecture series, YAL members and other young researchers from Leiden University present the latest insights from their research field to a wider audience.

The Young Academy Leiden lecture series serves as a stage for young scientists who are passionate about science communication and outreach. The lectures cover a variety of topics but have in common that they are given by young researchers who discuss innovative and cutting-edge research and its implications for today’s society. 

The lecture series started in February 2020. For more information about the upcoming lectures, see the overview below. Please note that most lectures will be in Dutch 

About Studium Generale

Studium Generale organises broad academic activities, such as lectures, symposia, movie screenings, and debates.

The programme of Studium Generale is intended for students, Leiden University staff members, and everybody else who is interested. Studium Generale wants to raise greater interest in science, to give more insight in the coherence between different sciences, to contribute to cultural and social development, and to develop a better understanding of the relationship between science and society. 

Past Lectures

Peter Bos, associate professor of educational sciences gave a lecture on the biology of human relationships. What role do hormones play in the relationship between parents and children, between lovers and in relationships in the workplace? What is the role of our hormones in this? What do those hormones do to our brain? What are the consequences for our biological system when relationships are disrupted? And perhaps the most important question: what does all this say about us humans? Relationships are a biological necessity for humans. And in times of crisis, that need only increases. Early in human history, hormones were involved in the interaction and sense of connection with our fellow human beings. In his lecture, and in response to his recently published book 'Connected', scientist Peter Bos explains exactly how this works. Our hormonal system, the result of millions of years of evolution, makes this connection possible, and that is something to cherish.

Max van Lent, assistant professor of economics gave a lecture on how governments can help people make financial decisions (a video recording is available here). As life gets more complicated – in terms of the number of choices people have to make and the implications these decisions have – many people tend to find themselves in needless financial hardship. For example, making mistakes when filling out their taxes, choosing a bad mortgage, not saving for the unknown or planning for retirement. In this lecture, the motivations behind these errors will be discussed. However, the main focus will be on what governments – and corporate social responsibility – can do to make life better. Especially for those who are inclined to make bad (financial) decisions

Olaf van Vliet, professor of economics, gave a lecture on the flexibilization of the labor market. The flexibilization of the Dutch labor market has taken place at a rapid pace in recent decades. With relatively new developments, such as the emergence of the platform economy, the expectation seems justified that the trend of flexibilisation will continue in the coming years.

During the lecture, the labor market effects of globalization and technological progress were discussed. Van Vliet also explored
ideas for future policy making in this area. Recent policy proposals were also examined, such as the proposals from the Committee on the Regulation of Work (the Borstlap Committee). The impact of the corona crisis on the labor market was also discussed.

Joris Larik, Assistant Professor of Comparative, EU and International Law, gave a lecture about Brexit and its international legal ramifications (a video recording is available here). For more than four years, Europe has been embroiled in the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, with transition period scheduled to end on 31 December 2020. However, as Dr. Larik stressed in his lecture, the UK’s departure is not just an intra-European issue. On the contrary, Brexit has a global impact. Firstly, hundreds of international agreements concluded by the EU with third countries will no longer apply to the UK after the end of the transitional period unless continuity solutions are found. Secondly, EU-UK relations in international organizations such as the WTO need to be reconfigured. Thirdly, the EU and the UK need to shape their future relations, including the way in which they want to continue working together in the fields of foreign and security policy. Hence, even after the official end of British EU membership, many questions remain about the place of the UK and the EU on the world stage.


Associate Professor Tom Louwerse gave a lecture about the pros and cons of political polls. These polls are used by policial parties to make clear what differences there are between parties. Besides that, it is argued that polls give an insight in the opinions of the voter about important issues. With a poll you are questioning a limited group of people to give an idea what a large group of people thinks, in this case the voters.  It is a powerfull instrument, but it is also quite contested: exitpolls and election outcomes tend to differ from time to time. Does this mean we should not pay attention to polls? Tom Louwerse, creator Peilingwijzer (all polls combined), spoke about how the voter needs to use the polls and where the dangers lie. 


A number of Yal members have been guests in episodes of Radio Horzelnest. These podcasts are Dutch, please navigate to the Dutch page for more information.


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