VU University Amsterdam

Ever since it was founded in 1880, VU University Amsterdam has been known for its distinctive approach to knowledge. VU is an open organization, strongly linked to people and society.
Over the coming years, the university will be focusing particularly on strengthening the link between science and society. As part of its work analysing social issues and searching for solutions, the university has identified four themes:

– Governance for Society
– Human Health & Life Sciences
– Connected World
– Science for Sustainability

By focusing its teaching and research activities on these four themes, VU University Amsterdam is creating a clearer profile for students, researchers, businesses, funding agencies, government bodies and other (knowledge) partners. The themes are, in part, based on the identity of the university and its core values. These themes not only make us more distinctive as an institution, but they also encourage cooperation across the boundaries of academic disciplines.

The way in which science relates to business, and vice versa, is constantly changing. Contemporary social issues are increasing in complexity and require a more multi-disciplinary approach. The scientists and professionals of the future must be able to cooperate with others beyond the boundaries of their own specialist fields. Science is increasingly being challenged to justify its role in society. As a university, we need to ask ourselves how we should handle this development. How can we integrate scientific and technological developments into our culture as a university, and what does this mean for people, their values and identities?

The Faculty of Social Sciences is a broadly disciplined faculty wherein the classic disciplines of political sciences, sociology and cultural anthropology as well as the modern terrains of organization, communication and policy have their own respective places. The strength of the Faculty comes from the combination and cooperation between disciplines and our focus on current societal issues. Because we are situated in the bustling city of Amsterdam, the diverse, dynamic societies we study are right at our front doorstep. The Faculty participates in projects concerning integrity, safety, societal ageing, religion and many more. Of particular focus are safety and security, and the welfare state.

More information on the Faculty is at

In May 2015, the Institute for Societal Resilience (ISR) was founded. A research programme on resilient society should improve our understanding of the fundamental problems facing societies and how to address them by societal organizations and public organizations (resilient governance). Many research groups in the Faculty are already working on different aspects of the sketched agenda. Integrating their work in a joint research program will not only offer an agenda which will strengthen the profile of the research that is conducted in the faculty, but will also enhance the innovativeness and societal applicability of our research efforts.

Find out more about the Institute and its research agenda at