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.
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.
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.
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.’
Leiden Statement the role of the social sciences and humanities in the global resarch landscape