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Profile themes

VU has four outstanding profile themes. These are closely linked to our identity and refer to the social domains in which we work toward a better world through education, research and knowledge transfer.

Profile themes provide focus and direction
In the coming decades, our society will face major and increasingly complex challenges. This calls for A Broader Mind and a multidisciplinary approach. In addition, our society is challenging science more and more. And we more often have to legitimise the role that our university has in society. How should we deal with this development? How do we integrate scientific and technological developments in our culture? And what does this mean for people, their values and their identity? Our multidisciplinary profile themes provide direction in this. They show what we choose to focus on when it comes to our core tasks.

Contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
To bring focus to our activities, we have further defined the four profile themes based on the objectives in the VU Strategy 2020-2025. Each profile theme contributes to a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG dashboard measures our social impact for each of the 17 SDGs. In this way, we can better demonstrate what VU stands for—a university with a focus on society.

Profile themes

  • Connected World

    How can we make more meaningful connections in a world where not everyone benefits from digitalisation and globalisation? Read more about Connected World.

  • Governance for Society

    How can we contribute to the resilience of democratic governance in organisations and societies? Read more about Governance for Society.

  • Human Health and Life Sciences

    How can we promote health and wellbeing, taking into account the whole person in his or her social environment? Read more about Human Health and Life Sciences.

  • Science for Sustainability

    How can we create an ecologically healthy, socially just and economically viable world for current and future generations? Read more about Science for Sustainability.

  • Dream team for profile theme

    In a Dream Team, students can make societal impact and develop personal and professional skills. The team consists of  8 to 14 Bachelor's and Master's students from diverse disciplines and a rich range of skills. This way, you complement each other, reinforce each other, push boundaries, and grow academically, personally and socially. In short, you develop 'A Broader Mind'.

    The dream teams will represent a profile theme. They will independently carry out an assignment formulated by the VU academic staff and deliver a tangible end result.