In the VU Amsterdam Strategy 2020–2025 we focus on three priority areas that guide our actions: sustainable, enterprising and diverse. Our four profile themes – Connected World, Governance for Society, Human Health and Life Sciences and Science for Sustainability – serve as our substantive compass.
Our nine strategic aspirations
1. Developing future-proof forms of education.
2. Enhancing Lifelong Learning.
3. Strengthening the profile themes and our research focus.
4. Improving our scientific reputation.
5. Increasing our impact through educational and research activities.
6. Developing a balanced system of recognition and reward.
7. Further digitalisation for even better primary processes.
8. Developing a bustling and innovative campus.
9. Investing in an effective and agile organisation.
VU Amsterdam Strategy 2020-2025
At Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, we aim to contribute to a better world through our education, research and operations. Since our foundation, the university has stood for values-driven academics with a strong focus on society. The VU Strategy 2020-2025 helps us to further strengthen our identity and to create even greater social impact.
Three priority areas
How can we embrace individual differences in a way that leads to greater equity, creativity and talent development?
Diversity is part of our identity and it is one of our priority areas. At VU Amsterdam, we believe that diversity contributes to the quality of education and research and strengthens collaborations. We challenge everyone to bridge differences, think freely and be open to the uniqueness of others.
Contact Nathalie Janssen and Ruard Ganzevoort for more information.
How can we act more sustainably when it comes to the environment, people, the economy, and culture?
The climate crisis is one of the great challenges of our time and we take our responsibility by contributing to a liveable and sustainable world. That is why sustainable is a priority area of VU Amsterdam. It goes beyond the environment and includes people, the economy and culture.
Activities for priority area Sustainable will continue within the Sustainability Office VU. Contact Ivar Maas for more information.
How can we seize opportunities, take risks and experiment in a way that creates added value for society?
VU Amsterdam encourages and facilitates an enterprising attitude among our students and staff. The VU campus is an inspiring place where academics, students, start-ups, scale-ups and civil society organisations work toward a better world.
Contact Davide Iannuzzi for more information.
Nine strategic aspirations
Future-proof forms of education
How do you not just become something, but someone?
VU Amsterdam encourages students, academics and professionals to be open-minded. To be people with A Broader Mind who expand their perspective academically, develop themselves personally and engage socially. This helps us bridge conflicts, find sustainable solutions and work toward a better world.
Contact Janneke Waelen (implementation/innovation), Hayke Everwijn (flexible education) and Marleen Westerhof (A Broader Mind) for more information.
How do we ensure that professionals know how to approach VU Amsterdam for questions about their professional development? And how do we create a professional organisation that matches the needs of this target audience?
The labour market is changing enormously. Fewer and fewer people continue to do the same thing all their lives. The need to continually develop yourself is increasing. Organisations are also looking for partners for the continuing education of their employees. VU Amsterdam offers professionals countless courses and degree programmes for lifelong development.
Contact Brendy Boogaard for more information.
How can we make more meaningful connections in a world where not everyone benefits from digitalisation and globalisation? How can we contribute to the resilience of democratic governance in organisations and societies? How can we promote health and wellbeing, taking into account the whole person in his or her social environment? And how can we create an ecologically healthy, socially just and economically viable world for current and future generations?
VU Amsterdam has four outstanding profile themes: Connected World, Governance for Society, Human Health and Life Sciences and Science for Sustainability. These profile themes 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.
Contact the strategy coordination point for more information.
How can we showcase even more clearly that our research contributes to solutions to social issues?
VU Amsterdam has a strong profile based on its academic and societal impact. In prominent international rankings, we are among the world's top universities.
The aspiration Academic reputation had been included in the Impact and Reputation programme. Contact Davide Iannuzzi for more information.
Entrepreneurship and impact
How do we become an entrepreneurial university?
An entrepreneurial mindset is essential for a thriving university, now and in the future. This drives us to acknowledge and value education, research and knowledge transfer equally and to strive for effective and adequate support of knowledge transfer. Entrepreneurship and an enterprising attitude must be second nature to our students and staff. And our VU campus is the innovation hub in the Zuidas Innovation District, the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam and beyond.
Contact Davide Iannuzzi for more information.
Recognise and reward
How do we create space to develop academic talents?
We are used to our current way of working when it comes to recognising and rewarding our academic work. It has become our ‘own’, to the point that it is often no longer noticeable. VU Amsterdam stands for a rewarding and hiring policy that fit with the VU mission, the university’s identity and its ambitions. We recognise and reward commitment to education, research, knowledge transfer, open science and leadership in which working collaboratively is a central theme. By devoting ourselves to the accessibility of various career paths, we create space for every VU researcher to develop their own specific talents and to make a difference.
Contact Hanneke Slop for more information.
How do we make our education pliable to allow for tailored learning?
Digitalisation is essential to realise the VU aspirations regarding education, research and knowledge transfer. It creates opportunities for collaboration and innovation, and contributes to the development of an effective and agile organisation. Digitalisation therefore not only offers a strategic prospect, but also functions as the red thread in our education, our research and our operational management. Digitalisation takes shape in various ways: from flexible (hybrid) education and open science to the modern digital workplace.
Take a look at our Digital Strategy 2025 (Dutch) or contact Tim Pinchetti for more information.
How can we make the campus – the heart of our academic community –livelier and more bustling?
VU Amsterdam aims to stimulate curiosity about our academic operations. On the VU campus, anybody can gain new experiences. Beyond study and work, we offer intellectual deepening in the form of music, events, film, sports, theatre, social activities, visual arts or a combination thereof. For those who want to contribute, can: by visiting, participating and organising. The social campus is our second home where everybody feels welcome.
Contact Kate van de Krol for more information.
Effective and agile
The aspiration Effective and Agile has been included in improvement programme VUture. Contact Nynke Rodenhuis for more information or questions about the programme.
From faculties and departments
Strategy coordination point
The implementation of the VU Strategy 2020-2025 will continue from the faculties and departments. The project organisation that previously dealt with the overall coordination and support of the implementation (the strategy team) has thus ceased to exist.
A strategy coordination point has been set up instead (within BBO), with Tim Mensink as lead. From this coordination point, a strategic conference is organised twice a year in which we look back at deliverables and preview priorities.
An overview of the most important results so far are listed in VU Strategy Times #1 (2020), VU Strategy Times #2 (2021) and VU Strategy Times #3 (2023). You can also view our midterm review (October 2022, in Dutch) and our annual report.
Would you like to learn more about or contribute to the implementation of the VU Strategy?
Please feel free to contact us.