Our course: innovating and connecting

From the climate crisis to the digitalisation of our lives: as a university we are at the heart of an increasingly complex and rapidly changing society. How can we innovate and how can our research help resolve these complex issues, now and in the future? Good collaboration that yields results is essential. In our new strategic plan (Innovating and Connecting – 2022-2027) we therefore focus on stronger connections: between disciplines, with society and within our university community. This is how we will continue to innovate and pioneer, and how we will increase our societal and scientific impact.


Stronger connections will enable us to forge more connections between disciplines, to work with others on creating new chances and opportunities for research and teaching, to achieve greater synergy between our university and society, and to develop a strong university community. This is how we will continue to innovate and pioneer, and increase our social and scientific impact.

The following connections will guide us in the years ahead:

Connections between academic disciplines

Our broad-based research university offers the ideal opportunities for all kinds of new combinations of scholarship and new interdisciplinary forms of research. A solid disciplinary basis makes strong interdisciplinary development possible.

Connections between the University and society

To increase our positive contribution to society, we need more interaction and collaboration with the world around us, based on the issues at play there. All our academic disciplines have a valuable role in this. This will also enable us to offer our students more opportunities to gain experience with research and teaching with a central focus on societal challenges.

Connections within our University community

Successful connections rely on successful and inclusive collaborations within the University. Instead of a ‘me culture’ we need a ‘we culture’, with more awareness of the human dimension and more opportunity to inspire one another.

From these three connections, we arrived at six strategic ambitions with corresponding action lines. These ambitions and actions lines will inform the choices we make activities we perform in the coming years.

Core values

All members of our university community endorse our four core values: Connecting, Innovative, Responsible and Free. These are derived from our motto Praesidium Libertatis (bastion of freedom) and from our Leiden academic identity and culture.

These core values all have equal value and guide our conduct and actions, the choices we make and the partnerships we establish. They are not ends in themselves but support our strategy and ambitions, and the changes that these will require.



To strengthen the connections between disciplines, between the University and society, and within our university community, we will work in the coming years on the following six strategic ambitions:

Ongoing themes

The ambitions set out in the new strategic plan will be the focus of our attention in 2022-2027. Our ‘ongoing development themes’ will continue to be important. These themes influence our ambitions for our teaching, research and organisation, and transcend the periods covered by our strategic plans. We distinguish five ongoing development themes:


Partly in consequence of the Covid-19 crisis, digital applications are no longer mainly auxiliary but have become an integral part of the research and teaching process and the new ways of working. We see digitalisation as a way to achieve our ambitions. Based on our Digital Education Strategy and its implementation agenda, we will give further shape to a ‘blended university’ – where face-to-face interaction continues to be at the heart of our research and teaching.


The theme of sustainability is high on our agenda. Our Sustainability Vision 2030 is the starting point for a new implementation programme with goals and activities for the period 2022-2026. The core of this vision is to work on creating a more sustainable work and study environment that inspires and mobilises people both within and outside the University community to achieve a positive societal impact. With this in mind, we will further develop our existing sustainability initiatives to produce an integrated approach that has visible effects in our teaching, research and organisation.

Diversity and inclusion

Leiden University stands for diversity and inclusion. We want to be an open community where everyone feels at home and has equal opportunities. An inclusive university community contributes to innovative and progressive academic teaching and research. Creating an inclusive community requires an integrated approach that leads to cultural change in our teaching, research, administration and leadership. Diversity and inclusion will thus become an automatic part of our everyday work and study, with our Diversity & Inclusion Work Plan providing guidance for the University’s D&I policy.


Academic knowledge does not stop at national borders. With our internationalisation agenda we intend to further develop our international position in the areas of teaching, research and organisation. Our university functions as a ‘local hub for global challenges’. We educate both Dutch and international students to become global citizens, and focus on (societal) issues close to home and far away. We make grateful use of the knowledge and understanding that arise from combining national and international perspectives in our research and teaching.

Campus of the future

Combining face-to-face and online teaching and learning offers opportunities for innovative education and creates a lot of flexibility. This makes it important to take account of user needs when designing work and study rooms. Interdisciplinary collaboration, such as the Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH) labs, in combination with shared facilities, such as optimised video recording rooms, encourage interaction and connections between research and teaching. Our Campus of the Future programme brings together the accommodation, new ways of working, blended learning and shared facilities for research.