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Max van Duijn and Vasiliki Kosta join The Young Academy

Leiden researchers Max van Duijn (Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science) and Vasilika Kosta (Leiden Law School, Europa Institute) will join The Young Academy (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) KNAW)).

The Young Academy is a platform for researchers from different disciplines. During their five-year membership, its members champion projects on academic policy, interdisciplinarity, internationalisation and the relationship between academia and society. Van Duijn and Kosta will be officially installed on 28 March. 

Max van Duijn

Max van Duijn

Van Duijn studies the human ability to empathise with others and imagine the world from different perspectives, also known as ‘mind reading’ or ‘Theory of Mind’. Using a combination of techniques from linguistics, narratology, data science and artificial intelligence, he analyses how children and adults adopt the perspectives of others and elaborate on them in stories, conversations, and other language use. His research brings together the humanities and the natural and social sciences.

Within The Young Academy, Van Duijn wants to work towards a better understanding of the links between disciplines that are traditionally taught at different faculties. To start with, he wants to develop a series of ‘humanities for scientists’ lectures. This is an extension of what he already does as a lecturer. For example, he reads Kafka with Media Technology master’s students and analyses science fiction films with computer science students.

He also wants to organise storytelling workshops in which people tell stories themselves and also find out more about the science of storytelling. What distinguishes stories from other forms of language use? How do children learn to tell a story? What exactly is the appeal of a night of Netflix?

Vasiliki Kosta

Vasiliki Kosta

Universities increasingly act like enterprises competing on the market, are managed like companies and are understood to serve political-economic interests. Kosta is researching what role the EU’s fundamental right to freedom of the arts and sciences, including freedom of scientific research and academic freedom, plays vis-à-vis this phenomenon. She is seeking to establish the content, scope and philosophical justification of this fundamental right and is also examining compliance with concrete EU laws and policies and national measures.

Within The Young Academy, Kosta wishes in particular to work on increasing the cooperation between the arts and the sciences, also through collaboration between The Young Academy and the Academy of the Arts. In addition, she wants to work on connecting Dutch and international researchers and wishes to contribute with her research expertise on academic freedom and the commercialisation of academia towards relevant ongoing and future initiatives of The Young Academy.

Alongside Van Duijn and Kosta, a further eight researchers will join The Young Academy. See the full list of new members in a press release from the KNAW.

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