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447th Dies Natalis

Innovating and connecting

Tuesday 8 February 2022
Pieterskerkhof 1A

On 8 February 2022 the theme of Leiden University's 447th Dies Natalis will be innovating and connecting: the direction of our new University strategy that we will be launching that day

As a University, we are part of an increasingly complex society that is more reliant than ever before on science to resolve difficult societal issues, such as climate change and health care. In this position, we are challenged to innovate, to forge strong connections within and between scientific disciplines and society. Thus, we create interesting opportunities for research and education, that, eventually, may lead to promising applications with a significant impact on society.

Two Dies lectures

The two Dies lecturers this year are inspiring examples of how these aims can be achieved in practice. In their talks they will show how (independent) scientific research, and combining insights from different scientific disciplines can contribute to societal impact. Matthias Barz (professor of BioTherapeutics) has a background in chemistry and researches how nanotechnology can help develop new medical treatments. This research makes use of broad multidisciplinary expertise and completely new research applications. Meta Roestenberg (professor of Vaccinology) conducts research on the development of vaccines for poverty-related infectious diseases. She involves a broad array of areas of expertise and uses methods that bridge the gap between fundamental and clinical research.

Granting of honorary doctorate

Innovating and connecting are also clearly manifested in the research carried out by Rosemary Joyce (professor of Anthropology and Social Archaeology, University of California - Berkeley) through the combination of scientific fields and the clear connection she makes between her findings and developments in society. The faculties of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Archaeology will jointly confer an honorary doctorate on Professor Joyce in recognition of her research on culture and heritage in Central America and Mexico. Due to travel restrictions, unfortunately she will not be presented with the doctorate in person by Maarten Jansen, emeritus professor of Meso-American Archaeology and History (Faculty of Archaeology) and Marja Spierenburg, professor of the Anthropology of Sustainability and Livelihood (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences). Therefore we will make contact with Berkeley via a live video connection for the conferral of the doctorate.

University Medal

The Executive Board will award the University Medal to Dr Bart van Zijll Langhout. He has worked at Janssen for over 30 years, in the past years as lead at Janssen Campus The Netherlands. As chair of the Leiden Bio Science Park Foundation, he made an active and fundamental contribution to the development of the largest Life Sciences & Health innovation district in the Netherlands. This contribution is of clear importance to research, teaching and societal impact. Van Zijll Langhout will be presented with the medal by Vice-Chairman Martijn Ridderbos.

  • Opening by Rector Magnificus professor Hester Bijl
  • Dies lecture by professor Matthias Barz, professor of Biopharmacy
  • Dies lecture by professor Meta Roestenberg, professor of Human models for vaccine development,
  • Musical Interlude by members of the Practicum Musicae Orchestra, conducted by Aafko Boonstra
  • Conferral of an honorary doctorate on professor Rosemary Joyce
  • Presentation of the University’s new strategic plan Innovating & Connecting 2022-2027 by the President of the Executive Board professor Annetje Ottow
  • Award Ceremony: Bart van Zijll Langhout will be presented with the University Medal by the vice-chairman of the Executive Board Martijn Ridderbos
  • Dies lecture by Rector Magnificus professor Hester Bijl
  • National Anthem Wilhelmus
  • End
  • Hester Bijl Rector Magnificus

    Hester Bijl is Rector Magnificus of Leiden University. She is responsible for education and research at the University. The appointment of professors and academic integrity form part of her research portfolio. Hester Bijl is also the point of contact for LERU, EUniWell and the development of Leiden Bio Science Park.

  • Meta Roestenberg Professor Human models for vaccine development

    Professor Meta Roestenberg studied Medicine at the University of Maastricht, where she graduated with distinction. Throughout her studies she worked as a doctor in Africa, South-East Asia and India. She obtained her PhD in 2013 with distinction at the Department of Medical Microbiology at the Radboud University Medical Centre, where she developed a human model for malaria immunity. Today, she is an internationally recognised expert who has received many awards for her research on poverty-related infectious diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis and hookworm. In 2021 she was appointed professor of  Human Models for  Vaccine Development.

  • Matthias Barz Professor Biotherapeutics delivery

    Professor Barz has a background in polymer chemistry and organic chemistry. He studied Chemistry at the  Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Germany) and Seoul National University (South Korea), and obtained his PhD in Polymer Chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2009, after which he worked in laboratories in Spain and the United States. In 2013 he established his own lab in Mainz and started his habilitatie (a scientific PhD that follows on from the initial doctorate), which he completed at the end of 2016. In the spring of 2020 he joined Leiden University as professor of  Biotherapeutics Delivery within LACDR. He is currently engaged in moving his research group from Mainz to Leiden.

  • Jan Kolen Dean / Professor Landscape Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

    Jan Kolen studied Archaeology at Leiden University. He pursued his career as a project leader for RAAP Archaeological Consultancy, which was at that time part of the University of Amsterdam. From 1993 to 1995 he also worked for the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Between 1998 and 2000 he worked for the Archaeological Services Centre, later as board member. From 2000 he worked at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD in 2005 with distinction, based on his dissertation ‘Biography of the Landscape’. In 2013 he beccame a professor in Leiden, where he holds the chair in Landscape Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. He is also director of the 'Centre for Global Heritage and Development', a partnership of the Universities of Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam. Kolen is dean of the Faculty of Archaeology.

  • Paul Wouters Professor Emeritus of Scientometrics

    Paul Wouters is Professor of Scientometrics and Dean of the Leiden University Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. He specialises in developing evaluation systems and the way in which these systems drive the development of knowledge. He also focuses on the history of science, and in particular on the role in this of information systems.

    Wouters was coordinator of the STS Graduate School WTMC in collaboration with Annemiek Nelis. In 2006 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Cybermetrics at the University of Wolverhamptom, and in 2007 he became Director of the Erasmus Virtual Knowledge Studio and Professor by Special Appointment at the Institute of Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

    Wouters was appointed by Leiden Unviersity as Director of the Centre for Science and Technology (CWTS) and as Professor of Scientometrics. Since 1 January 2019, he has been Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Leiden University.

  • Maarten Jansen Professor emeritus of Mesoamerican Archeology and History

    Professor Maarten Jansen is professor of Meso-American Archaeology and History. He has an international reputation in the field of Pre-Columbian Meso-American Studies. His expertise is primarily in the area of the culture, history and manuscripts of the Mixtec culture in  Oaxaca.

    He worked at Leiden University from 1977 until his retirement in 2018, holding both teaching and management positions. His posts included Director of Programmes (2000-2003), Dean (2003-2006) and head of the ‘Archaeological Heritage and Society’  department (2014-2017) at the Faculty of Archaeology.

  • Marja Spierenburg Professor Anthropology of Sustainability and Livelihood / Scientific director

    Professor Marja Spierenburg is professor of the Anthropology of Sustainable Development and Livelihoods at Leiden University and Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University South Africa. Having studied Psychology and Social Psychology, she obtained her PhD in 2003 in Anthropology based on her dissertation ‘Strangers, Spirits and Land Reforms, Conflicts about Land in Dande, northern Zimbabwe’ (University of Amsterdam).  Her research focuses on the role that the private sector plays in nature protection and land reform in Southern and East Africa, and how this affects the availability of land and the survival strategies of local communities. Spierenburg is a member of the UNESCO international advisory council for Biosphere Reserves.

  • Rosemary Joyce Professor of Anthropology University of California - Berkeley

    Professor Rosemary Joyce is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Berkeley (US). She developed pioneering insights at the interface between archaeology and cultural anthropology on the ancient societies of Central America and Mexico and distinguished herself in her research on broad societal themes from an archaeological and anthropological perspective, such as the influence of gender relations in archaeology and the way people use objects, material culture and heritage to mark and strengthen their position in society. In her current work, the focus is on cultural heritage and heritage practices, where she adopts a decidedly connective approach and she continues to seek new formulae to give a prominent role to communities in the research on their heritage.  

  • Bart van Zijll Langhout Lead Janssen Campus Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies

    Dr Van Zijll Langhout studied biology at Leiden University, where he also received his PhD in genetics. He joined Janssen immediately after completing his PhD research on the developmental genetics of fruit flies. He has worked there for over 30 years, in the past years as lead at Janssen Campus The Netherlands. As chair of the Leiden Bio Science Park Foundation, he has made an active and fundamental contribution to the development of the largest Life Sciences & Health innovation district in the Netherlands. This contribution is of clear importance to research, teaching and societal impact.

  • Annetje Ottow President of the Executive Board

    Professor Annetje Ottow is President of the Executive Board of Leiden University. She is responsible for strategy, valorisation, alliances and external relations, international relations, communication, alumni policy, social safety, diversity and inclusiveness and sustainability within the University. Annetje Ottow is also the point of contact for campus development in the city centre of Leiden.

  • Martijn Ridderbos Vice-chairman of the Executive Board

    Martijn Ridderbos, RA, was appointed by the Supervisory Board of Leiden University as Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board on 8 May 2017. His first term of office expired on 7 May 2021. His second term runs from 8 May 2021 to 7 May 2025. His portfolio includes the business operations of the University in a broad sense.

The Practicum Musicae Orchestra (PMO) was established for and by Leiden students who combine their studies with the Practicum Musicae track at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague. The aim of the orchestra is to give these dual students and other talented musicians from Leiden and the surrounding area the opportunity to practise their music at a high level.

The orchestra is directed by Aafko Boonstra.

President of the Executive Board Annetje Ottow will present the University’s new strategic plan. You can order your own free copy of the Strategic Plan 2022-2027 and our new corporate brochure About Us (available in Dutch and in English). Too much paper? Both the Strategic Plan 2022-2027 and About Us are available on-line from 9 February onwards on via the About us page.

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