Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

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 aim to 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. Our research intends to spark positive change, and contribute to more inclusivity, equality and sustainability.

Transdisciplinary approach

Through a transdisciplinary approach, theoretically rooted in the broad field of Science, Technology & Society (STS), 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 for transformation

Ensuring societal relevance is Athena's primary objective. In our 'Transformation Journeys’ - a four-part video series - our researchers explain how they address complex problems based on societal needs, enable joint learning and action, and thereby contribute to theoretical innovation and societal transformation. 

Watch the full videos in the slider at the bottom of this page.

Research and education

Research domains

Different, but converging starting points of our analyses transpire into four research domains:

Education programmes

Athena offers innovative educational programmes at the interface of life sciences and social sciences, and of theory and practice. We train students not only in cognitive skills, but also in understanding social dynamics and psychological processes in organisations and society.

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 and learnings together. In such continuous 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

Watch Athena's Transformation Journeys

More about Athena


Contact us

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