VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM
FROM IDEA TO UNIVERSITY
WELCOME TO VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university. Located in the vibrant city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we conduct cutting-edge research into problems of major societal and scientific importance. Ever since its foundation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has been known for its distinctive approach to academic research and education. What matters is not just acquiring in-depth knowledge, but also taking a broad perspective. We ask and expect our students, researchers, PhD candidates and employees to look further; to look beyond the boundaries of their own field, culture, traditions and philosophy to become critical and socially engaged academics.
VU SCIENTIST MARJO VAN DER KNAAP PROFESSOR IN PAEDIATRIC NEUROLOGY
‘I enjoy science, especially those eureka moments… those moments of insight when you suddenly see the light.’ FATAL ILLNESS AS ONE’S LIFE’S One in a thousand children has a white matter disorder. These disorders are often fatal. Marjo van der Knaap has devoted her life to finding a cure, but there is still a long way to go. She has identified new syndromes and unravelled their mysteries to find the genes responsible.
Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905, founded Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1880. He wanted an independent university, free from interference by either church or state. At first the university was only open to Reformed Christians who financed the university entirely through private funding and donations. In the 1960s the university became primarily state-funded and welcomed people from a rich diversity of cultural backgrounds and religious faiths.
ENRICHED BY DIVERSITY
In recent decades Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has engaged in an open dialogue with different faiths and ethical systems. Convictions, whether personal or scholarly, form the basis for critical reflection on the value, function, content, limits and effects of science. Such reflection is invested in all of our education and research activities, resulting in academic pursuits that are bound by personal responsibility and marked by a keen focus on issues of societal relevance. Our basic philosophy is expressed in responsibility, openness and personal engagement. Our student population has a diverse background, many students are descended from immigrants, or the first in their families to pursue higher education. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as a source of innovation and progress, and hence as a special strength. We place a strong emphasis on the academic development of our students and help them become intellectually engaged citizens. We encourage students and scholars to discuss academic issues with those who hold different views and perspectives, and to do so with respect and an open mind.
Throughout the past 135 years, the university has continued to expand. It now comprises ten faculties and hosts over 13,000 Bachelor’s and 9,500 Master’s students. Our teaching and research programmes cover a broad spectrum of disciplines, from the Humanities to the Sciences, from Medicine to Theology. With more than 50 Bachelor’s programmes and 160 Master’s programmes, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers a wide choice of study options. The university campus is situated in the south-western part of Amsterdam, in one of the most dynamic and fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands. The proximity to International Airport Schiphol and train connections into Europe, makes Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam easily accessible to the world.
Responsible; Working in the service of mankind and society. COMMUNITY OF LEARNERS
An academic mindset and practice are at the core of our education. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a community of learners where students and faculty jointly participate in the process of knowledge development. During their studies students learn about the main topics of research and debates in their field. They learn how to use scientific research to address social issues, to take a stand in social debates and controversial problems. Students are expected to portray an inquisitive and self-conscious attitude. To become acquainted with the professional environment, students can work on practical assignments, participate in ongoing research projects or do an internship.
VU SCIENTIST PIEK VOSSEN PROFESSOR IN COMPUTATIONAL LEXICOLOGY
‘My computer understands me.’ SUPERCOMPUTER
Piek Vossen is a linguist and a computer programmer, a disciplined researcher and an efficient project manager. He works hard and successfully on computers that have a thorough understanding of language. In June 2013 he was awarded the Spinoza Prize of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). The Spinoza Prize, worth € 2.5 million, is awarded to researchers who rank among the absolute top of science.
Student numbers per faculty Enrolments per faculty 2015-2016
Intake per faculty 1st year students 2015-2016
Earth and Life Sciences
Economics and Business Administration
Behavioural and Movement Sciences
Open; Encouraging diversity in disciplines, nationalities, ideologies and social convictions.
The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam bachelor’s programmes are all three-year degree programmes with in-depth focus on the subject area as from the first day. All of these programmes feature an academic core that is not only devoted to research and learning skills, but also to ethics and to integrity, and to the historical and cultural context of science and society. Over 300 of our Bachelor’s-level courses are taught in English and are also open to international exchange and study abroad students.
VU SCIENTIST DORRET BOOMSMA PROFESSOR IN BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY
‘There has never been a better time to work on genetics. We are experiencing one breakthrough after another.’ 87,000 SETS OF TWINS
Data from twins are a treasure trove of information on behaviour and health. How do our genes and our environment influence who we are? Dorret Boomsma is a leader in this field. She has compiled a register of 87,000 multiple birth siblings and thousands of their family members. A biobank stores biological samples, for over 10,000 participants.
HIOE MULIADI/ INDONESIA
MASTER IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: INFORMATION & KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
‘I can say that they have done a stellar job in getting us ready for the job market.’ CAMPUS AND OPPURTUNITIES
The campus is strategically located in the Zuidas area, i.e. the financial district and business center of Amsterdam. We are always surrounded by professionals and not only are they a source of inspiration to look up to, but there is always ample opportunity to start a conversation with them and build up our networks. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam acknowledges highly talented students through scholarship opportunities, Honours programme and other prestigious awards. The VU Fellowship Programme scholarship (VUFP), is just one of many examples.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers a wide range of Master’s degree programmes of either one or two-year duration, as well as two-year research Master’s. They all take an analytical approach with great emphasis on research skills. More than half of these programmes are taught in English, and this number is increasing. We aim for an international student population and to prepare our students for a globalizing world.
Faculties and Professors Our education and research covers a large range of disciplines, from Arts to Sciences, from Medicine to Theology. The academic departments of the university are organized in 10 faculties.
Every year, over 300 PhD students complete their doctoral research with a thesis, thereby making an important contribution to academic research at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We offer our PhD students a wide range of teaching possibilities and we invest in researchers with talent. Many PhD programmes are run, together with the research Master’s programmes, in Graduate Schools such as the William James Graduate School of Psychology or the ACTA Graduate School of Dentistry.
495 Full 149 Endowed professors professors 8
Earth and Life Sciences
Economics and Business Administration
Behavioural and Movement Sciences
51 17 31 18 24
Sciences Humanities Theology Law
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Interfaculty research insitutes A significant proportion of our research activities is carried out in several interdisciplinary research institutes on Campus. The layout of the campus and the proximity of Vrije Universiteit Medical Center both facilitate diverse disciplines to cooperate. AGCI / Environmental studies AIMMS / Research on Molecules, Medicines and Systems CAMeRA / Advanced media research CCA/ V-ICI /Cancer research CLUE / Heritage, History, Cultural Landscape, Urban Environment EMGO+ / Health and Care Research ICaR-VU / Cardiovascular research LaserLab / Science and Biophotonics LEARN! / Research in Education MOVE / Human Movement NCA / Neuroscience NI / Networks and business information Phoolan Devi / Criminology VISOR / Religion, culture and society research
Everyone deserves opportunity and challenges. Firstgeneration students can undertake an intensive programme to prepare for their introduction to the academic world. The Honours Programme stimulates true academic talent. For excellent and highly motivated international students Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam established the VU Fellowship Programme. This selective programme annually awards scholarships for a total amount of €1 million.
Personally engaged: Embracing an inclusive academic community.
VU SCIENTIST DAVIDE IANNUZZI PROFESSOR IN EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS
‘I like to think out of the box. I can’t help myself from pursuing my ideas.’ TINY WIRE, BIG BUSINESS
In 2006, physicist Davide Iannuzzi devised a sensor no bigger than a hair to help him solve a technical problem he was facing in an experiment of his. Since then, the technology he invented has been spreading all around the world, with applications that range from physiology to geophysics. But his greatest ambition is to transfer his invention to the medical field. ‘My greatest wish is that my discovery will help save lives.’
VU SCIENTIST HERBERT BOS PROFESSOR IN SYSTEM AND NETWORK SECURITY
‘We are one of the best in the world at building secure computer systems.’ BULLETPROOF COMPUTER
Cybercrime is everywhere. Your bank account is in danger; trains, traffic lights and elevators can be disrupted. The solution is the impossible dream; there is no such thing as a secure computer. This is because today’s systems are simply too complex. Herbert Bos, professional hacker, realized that protecting systems and networks from the inside does not work. Instead, he designed a bulletproof vest.
FOCUS IS BASED ON OUR FOUR THEMES: 1
Human Health and Life Sciences: research and teaching in the area of health and life sciences, from single molecules to the individual, to human society as a whole.
Science for Sustainability: Multidisciplinary research and teaching in the area of sustainability, focusing on energy, scarcity, climate and governance.
Connected World: research and teaching into the various facets of the ‘network society’: the technology that makes this new societal structure possible, the accompanying structural, social and cultural changes, and the consequences for the world around us.
Governance for society: research and teaching in the area of financial, legal and organizational services, with a structural emphasis on corporate social responsibility, behaviour and integrity.
EDUCATING DEDICATED SCIENTISTS
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam educates people to become academics who share their knowledge with the community and with society. The societal relevance of our research is the guiding principle at our university. Our academics look further than the boundaries of their own disciplines. The university’s single-campus design, which includes the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Medical Center, facilitates cooperation between disciplines. This means that a significant proportion of our research activities is carried out in interdisciplinary research institutes on campus.
RESEARCH THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
The world is smaller than ever, but the problems are bigger. These problems often require scientists from different disciplines to cooperate not just at their own universities, but also worldwide.
VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM IN THE WORLD
The Netherlands has a binary system of Higher Education with 13 research universities, including Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and 40 universities of applied sciences. The Dutch research universities are all of high academic quality, and consistently ranked among the first 200 universities on international rankings. Only the US and UK feature more research universities in the top 200. In the ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ (AR WU) 2015 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam holds position 98. Moreover, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ranks in the top 50 in the disciplines Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy and in Social Sciences, and in the top 100 in Life and Agriculture Sciences and in Economics. Computer Science belongs to the international top 150.
COLLABORATE FOR SUCCESS
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam (UvA), our sister research university in Amsterdam, constituted the Amsterdam Academic Alliance (AAA). By collaborating and pooling our resources in various educational and research fields, both our institutions aim to progress to a leading international position in a number of academic disciplines. By working together, we can strengthen each other in terms of academic results, attractiveness to talented individuals and as partners to businesses and non-profit organizations. The Amsterdam University College and the Academic Centre for Dentistry (ACTA) are already joint initiatives. The UvA Faculty of Science and our Faculty of Science and Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences have several joint degrees together. Furthermore, the two university Medical Centres are increasingly collaborating.
ADDRESS Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam De Boelelaan 1105 1081 HV Amsterdam The Netherlands T +31 20 598 9898 F +31 20 598 9899 E International@vu.nl W www.vuamsterdam.com
The Desmond Tutu Training Programme (DTTP) is an academic cooperation programme for joint PhD supervision, focusing on the theme of ‘Bridging Diversities for Academic Advancement’. In the second phase of the programme (2014- 2020), 20 VU-NRF scholarships will be awarded annually. The programme focuses on the themes of Youth, Sports and Reconciliation and has installed five Desmond Tutu Chairholders in different domains. The aim of the programme is to strengthen cooperation between Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and six partner institutes in South Africa through the joint supervision of South African PhD’s and by encouraging student exchange at Master’s and Bachelor’s level.