Universities stand up en masse for humanities and social sciences

Humanities and Social Sciences deserve solid financing and effective support so that as many people as possible can benefit from good teaching and research. In a meeting attended by Jet Bussemaker Minister of Education, Culture and Science, seven university networks signed a declaration in Leiden setting out these plans.

Combating global problems

The signing of the Leiden Statement at the initiative of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) was the culmination of the two-day meeting on ‘Social Sciences and Humanities Research from a Global Perspective’  at Leiden University. Academics, university governors and policymakers from across the world came together in Leiden to discuss how social sciences and humanities can contribute to combating global problems such as terrorism, Ebola and environmental problems, and what is needed to allow the humanities to flourish.

Leiden Statement


The signatories, who represent 158 research-intensive universities across the world committed to:

  • Continue to give effective support to the social sciences and humanities within their institutions;

  • Stress the importance of these disciplines for national and global prosperity, and to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from research and education;

  • Recognise that acadmic freedom is essential for research and to be truly innovative;

  • Commit to solid and stable financing and support for research in the social sciences and humanities;

  • Promote international partnerships and an interdisciplinary approach.


Minister Jet Bussemaker in a tete a tete with Prof. Wim van den Doel, LERU Chairman for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. Sitting at the far right is Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus of Leiden University.

Minister Jet Bussemaker in a tete a tete with Prof. Wim van den Doel, LERU Chairman for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. Sitting at the far right is Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus of Leiden University.

More collaboration with sciences

With this statement The aim of the university networks with this statement is to emphasise the fundamental role that these sciences play in the globalising world. Their role can be expanded by engaging in interdisciplinary research with the exact sciences more frequently, for example in studying environmental problems and new technological challenges such as the advent of robotics. Current problems such as the conflicts in the Middle East and combating Ebola can be better understood from, for instance, a cultural-historic perspective.

LERU

The meeting is an initiative of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), an international network of 21 research-intensive universities, including Leiden University.   

Prof. Wim van den Doel, LERU Chairman for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University, commented, ‘In a changing world, our role is also changing. We are increasingly becoming active players in multi- and interdisciplinary research networks. Our aim is to help resolve global problems. That’s not something we can alone, but together, and in partnership with the other – fundamental – sciences. The political climate is also changing, nationally and internationally, with the funding of science coming under increasing pressure. This is another reason why we want to emphasise the importance of this fundamental science, for the longer term too; and - probably - without the quick-wins that politicians seem to want from us.’

The signatories

See also

Speech Minister Bussemaker
Leiden Statement the role of the social sciences and humanities in the global resarch landscape

Last Modified: 21-11-2014