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What does the Leiden economy of the future look like?

With the long lockdown, it’s been a hard year for Leiden businesses. How can the local economy bounce back and how can the University help? Two talk shows discussing this were recently recorded in the Academy Building. They will be aired on Unity TV on 28 September and 12 October.

The theme of the first talk show is the ‘economy of tomorrow’. Representing the University Joanne van der Leun, Dean of Leiden Leiden Law School, will speak about the ambitious plans for the Leiden Law Park. Together with the Municipality of Leiden and the Province of Zuid-Holland, the Law School wants to create an ‘innovation hub’ where researchers, businesses, government and citizens develop knowledge together at the interface between law, ethics, and digital technology. Leiden Law Park will help develop sustainable solutions to current problems in society. To hear about the latest developments, watch the programme on 28 September. 

The programmes will be broadcast every hour from 19.00 on 28 September and 12 October on Unity.nu or the website or channel 40 on Ziggo.

The University is contributing to a vital economy

Lilian Visscher will speak at the second talk show, which is about the Leids Stimuleringsfonds, a fund that supports initiatives that respond to a fast-changing world. Visscher is director of Alumni Relations at the University and of the Leiden University Fund. What does she want to emphasise in the talk show? Visscher: ‘The University and the city are inextricably linked. Take all the startups by researchers, entrepreneurial students and alumni. That’s how the Leiden Bio Science Park has become so big. This shows how the University is contributing to a vital economy.’ Visscher is a member of the assessment committee for the Leids Stimuleringsfonds – as is Leiden alumnus and former estate agent Wim de Leeuw. Entrepreneurs can submit a proposal to this fund, which has a budget of 500,000. It was set up to give Leiden entrepreneurs a bit of extra help during the pandemic. Innovation is an important criterion. 

Innovation in the city

In the talk show on 12 October, various entrepreneurs will talk about a project that they have received funding for. Engineering company Quantified Sensor Technology has developed a concept that involves placing sensors in green areas in the city that can measure how dry the soil is. This makes it easier and more efficient to care for the city’s green spaces. Another project that has received funding is installing the free Eduroam wifi network throughout the city, so that everyone can use it in public spaces. Education alderman Paul Dirkse will talk about Leiden as European City of Science 2022 and the opportunities this represents for the city and the collaboration with the University.

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