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Connecting science and society for a better tomorrow

Athena Institute

The Athena Institute addresses complex societal issues, like poverty, health inequalities and climate change. We bring all stakeholders involved in these challenges together, particularly those voices who often remain unheard. By learning from each other, we investigate how to instigate system transformation.

Athena believes that science should actively contribute to a better world. Therefore, we use science as a platform to support people at the margins of society and address complex societal problems. The evidence that emerges from our research is a means to spark positive change, and create more inclusivity, equality and sustainability.

Transdisciplinary approach

Through a transdisciplinary approach we design, facilitate and study multi-stakeholder processes. This means that we include the knowledge and expertise of a wide variety of actors in the design, conduct and evaluation of research and innovation. Think of citizens, professionals, policymakers, NGOs, industry, researchers and students. Timely involving these different perspectives discloses needs and concerns, which helps to bring new ideas to the table and anticipate potential barriers.

Research and education

Research domains and perspectives

The different, but converging starting points of our analyses transpire into 3 research domains:

  • Emerging Science & Technology
  • (Global) Health & Well-being
  • Food, Environment & Sustainability

and 4 research perspectives:

  • Competencies for Transformation
  • Science Communication
  • History of Knowledge
  • Societal Entrepreneurship

Education programmes

Athena offers challenging and innovative educational programmes at the interface of life sciences and social sciences, and of theory and practice. We coordinate two Master’s programmes, various Master’s differentiations, Bachelor's minors and a major, and several individual courses.

View our education programmes.

Multi-stakeholder engagement

Multi-stakeholder engagement

Next to initiating multi-stakeholder processes, Athena empowers and trains all parties involved to ensure successful participation. Then, we reflexively monitor and evaluate our progress together. In such continuous learning processes everyone involved gains new insights, including us. Ultimately, we stimulate upscaling of successful innovations and anchor positive change through our methodologies for knowledge integration.

View infographic

More about Athena's approach

More about Athena

Partners

Questions?

Feel free to contact us

Or send an e-mail to secretariaat.athena.beta@vu.nl

VU Amsterdam, Faculty of Science
Science building (W&N), 5th floor, wing C
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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