Universiteit Leiden

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Unique collaboration between knowledge institutions and municipality of Leiden

The city of Leiden has a unique combination of knowledge institutions. To ensure this knowledge flourishes and the city gains the maximum benefit from it, the Leiden City of Knowledge partnership was launched five years ago. A new partnership agreement will be signed on 11 November.

Leiden City of Knowledge comprises Leiden University, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, LUMC, Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Municipality of Leiden. They will be joined by mboRijnland on 11 November. In the coming years the partnership will increase its focus on the themes of health and well-being, sustainability and biodiversity, and cultural heritage and collections. The knowledge institutions can jointly address social issues in the city, for instance.


Lara Ummels is a knowledge broker and works for all the Leiden City of Knowledge partners. She ensures they continue to work together on the current themes and on new projects. ‘If we see opportunities, I have to make sure we take advantage of them. If, for instance, I know that Leiden University is working on something that University of Applied Sciences Leiden is also working on, I try to bring them together. That strengthens the partnership and may mean that an issue at the municipality can be solved.’

‘It’s great bringing parties together and getting cross-pollination going between them.’

She loves her job. ‘It’s great bringing parties together and getting cross-pollination going between them. We sometimes forget how unique it is that we have so many knowledge institutions in our city and that they work together intensively. I don’t know of it from any other city. It’s important to cherish it.’

City Deal Kennis Maken

The day the new Leiden City of Knowledge agreement is being signed is also City Deal Kennismaken Day at Naturalis Biodiversity Center. This is a day full of inspiring workshops, demonstrations and talks. In contrast to Leiden City of Knowledge, City Deal Kennis Maken (CDKM) is a national initiative and funding can be applied for from the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA, which is part of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The aim is to bring about faster solutions to societal challenges in the cities by improving the collaboration between municipalities and knowledge institutions and by making use of students, lecturers and researchers.

Leiden’s CDKM project is called Learning with the City. In this programme, students from the University and the University of Applied Sciences work on current issues together with neighbourhoods, civil society organisations and residents. On CDKM Day more information will be provided about Learning with the City and there will be trips to the programme headquarters and the Leiden Education Field Lab.

The Hague

Kennis Maken Den Haag is The Hague’s CDKM programme. One of the projects from this programme is Student & City. Here seven universities, the municipality and student organisations are working together to improve the student climate in the city. In the past three years, a student guide to The Hauge for new students (Study in The Hague), a student GP, an app for the social side of student life (Student Radar) and a student sports council have been initiated, for instance.

Sign up for the City Deal Kennis Maken Day on 11 November.

Text: Dagmar Aarts
Photo: Gabrielle Liaugminaite

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