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A call about: the national university funds campaign

Various thought-provoking questions have been appearing online and in print adverts. They are part of a national university funds campaign in which the Leiden University Fund (LUF) is also participating. We wanted to find out more, so we called LUF Director, Lilian Visscher.

Lilian Visscher wears a red sweater and tells us about the national university funds campaign
Lilian Visscher is director of the Leiden University Fund (LUF) and tells us about the national university funds campaign

Why are the university funds running this campaign?

As a university fund, we see that people are not always aware of how important it is to support scientific research and that research helps solve major societal issues. At the University, research is conducted into important themes such as sustainability, health and security. That research is at the root of the solutions, and as a university fund, we want to show this more clearly. But as an individual university fund, we don’t have the reach for that. We mainly reach our alumni and our university community in Leiden and The Hague through our own channels such as Leidraad and newsletters, but we don’t have the budget to appear in national papers or on radio stations. This is what we and the other universities have all realised, but by joining forces we can do just that and are stronger. This collaboration is unique and has never been done before. We all have the same core message because interesting research into societal issues is being done at all the universities. Together we can therefore create awareness of the importance of supporting research.

And what are the initial reactions and results?

We have had a lot of good reactions and lots of people have seen the videos online. It’s mainly an awareness campaign and that is going well. We can see there are lots of views and the campaign is being shared. We can’t really say anything about the first results yet, but in terms of reach, things are going really well.

What else can we expect?

I mainly hope that lots of people will see the message and that we generate awareness of how important it is to support research. There will be many more adverts, radio commercials and online posts in the coming weeks. Each university has its own message. LUF’s one is: ‘Is a cancer pill a matter of time?’ These messages are constantly being posted on social media and in videos, and each university fund will have an advert in de Volkskrant or Trouw. And ultimately, of course, I hope the campaign will encourage donations and endowments for research at Leiden University. 

LUF’s message is: ‘Is a cancer pill a matter of time?’
Each university has its own message in the campaign. LUF’s one is: ‘Is a cancer pill a matter of time?’

How has the collaboration with the other funds been for you personally?

Really good. It’s great to work with the other university funds. We have similar challenges and a similar mission, so you soon find common ground. We have a core group of four university fund directors who are taking the lead and in the broad group everyone is very willing to do their bit.

What can Leiden University staff do to spread the word about the campaign?

Share the campaign! Go to the website www.universiteitsfondsen.nl and share the link on your social media, share the videos and posts and call on everyone to support research. Good videos with clear explanations are available, so share them with your network. And donating is always an option, for staff too. Many staff already do donate. But above all: share the campaign with your network and share why you think it is important to support research. Our staff are really important ambassadors.

Finally, for those who are not yet familiar with LUF, how can LUF help students and staff?

We provide grants to students and researchers. We can also support them with fundraising knowledge and expertise. Colleagues can always contact us for advice or if they want to join with us to raise funds.

A call about

There is a lot happening within Leiden University. The websites are filled with news on a daily basis. In the section 'A call about' we ask one of our employees to tell us more about a relevant and topical subject within the university. The answers give you more insight into the facts, but above all give you more personal background information. What was fun or frustrating? What was remarkable? What was good and what was bad? You can read all about it in 'A call about'.

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