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Connected world

The research theme Connected World studies the influence of digitisation and globalisation on humanity, culture, the economy and politics. Worldwide networks are increasingly defining our economy, our culture, our relationships, and our immediate surroundings. Our working practices are changing, as is the way in which we communicate with one another. We are expressing our social concerns differently, and we now take a different approach to the past, our language, our relationships, and religion. Globalisation and digitisation have brought the global community closer together: we are indeed a Connected World.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam wants to actively encourage research into these connections, especially with a view to countering alienation and estrangement: enabling social groups to live together more harmoniously in metropolitan melting pots, using digital tools to connect citizens more effectively, and improving mutual understanding by finding better ways to connect global citizens.


To raise the profile of this Connected World research even higher, VU Amsterdam provides additional staff funding in the form of internal competitions (Academy Assistants en Fellowship Program). It also organises a programme of workshops and conferences that centre on the Connected World theme.  

Join us on 15 December for the Connected World End-of-Year Conference!

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Everyone on earth is connected

This video describes the Connected World research theme of VU Amsterdam. What do Connected World researchers study? What problems do they aim to solve?

About Connected World

  • Education

  • Research

    By definition, research into the Connected World brings together a variety of academic disciplines. Two interdisciplinary institutes are central to this research theme: CLUE+ and the Network Institute

    Historical, technical, theoretical and social: CLUE+

    CLUE+ is an interfaculty institute that emphasises the historical dimensions of globalisation and networks. Its research focuses on the Connected World as a philosophical, technical, theoretical, social and community-based issue. To this end, its focus is not limited to the present. The philosophers of the ancient world reflected on the theme of increasing connectivity; from the fifteenth century, overseas trade networks grew; and in the modern era, multinational corporations have developed, with operations that span the globe. Throughout history, globalisation has generated opportunities and possibilities, but it has also sparked problems and conflicts. This applies equally today. Growing connectedness can also give rise to exclusion; when national concerns merge into a larger European or global network, themes of alienation and loss of identity come to the fore. CLUE+ brings together researchers from various fields to explore these themes.

    Discover CLUE+ (video)

    Robots, fake news and virtual reality: the Network Institute

    The Network Institute shines a spotlight on the digital community. Digital technology – from robots and mobile devices to the platform economy, voice technology, virtual reality and autonomous weapons systems – is developing at lightning speed and dragging society in its wake. At the same time, new social challenges are having an impact, such as the digital divide, polarisation, privacy and the proliferation of disinformation. In all these areas, technological developments are often part of the cause and the solution.

    Discover the Network Institute (video)

    Digital technology and social processes are becoming increasingly intertwined. These developments cannot be studied adequately by taking a monodisciplinary perspective. For this reason, the Network Institute facilitates theoretical and demand-driven research that involves interdisciplinary research teams.

    And: lawyers and economists

    Researchers from the fields of law (migration and internet law) and economics (spatial economics, knowledge and innovation) are also involved in the Connected World. For instance, transport economists study the social problems arising from spatial interactions and reciprocal accessibility within urban areas. The context of global trade and the migration of individuals and companies is also touched upon.

  • Call for funding

    To encourage Connected World research, VU Amsterdam makes additional resources available to its staff each year by organising internal competitions:

    In addition CLUE+ and the Network Institute regularly provide grants to promote research on the Connected World theme, for example, to form Academic Living Labs.