Universiteit Leiden

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Marlieke Ernst
Anna Loh

Meet the knowledge broker: 'I want to break down the walls between faculty and society'

Since 1 June, the Faculty of Humanities has gained a position. As knowledge broker, Marlieke Ernst wants to connect researchers: with each other and with the outside world.

'The faculty is doing great research,' says Ernst. ‘It just sometimes stays too much within our walls, even when researchers would actually like to do more outreach. That's why in this role I'm going to look at how we can have as much impact as possible on and with society.

‘In concrete terms, this means that she supports researchers where necessary to embed their stories even better in society. 'Sometimes someone comes to me asking how best to make a podcast, another time someone wants to make contact with the municipality or schools, for example. Then it's nice that they don't have to build a whole network themselves first, but that I can support them in that.’

Impact Support Network

As such, Ernst is part of the newly established Impact Support Network. 'This also includes Leiden Global and Leiden City of Knowledge, as well as, for example, a communications specialist and someone specialised in education. If you email us, we’ll carry out a triage to decide what the best options are for you.'

Marlieke Ernst
Marlieke Ernst

From outreach to inreach

In doing her work, Ernst emphasises that the Impact Support Network mailbox is not just for initiatives from within the university. As a knowledge broker, she also hopes to draw the outside world into the university. ‘We naturally pay a lot of attention to outreach, but inreach is becoming increasingly important. When an organisation or municipality knocks on the door with a question, I see if we can add value. For example, I’ve already been approached by the Embassy of Bangladesh to organise a day for heritage languages. We want to do this together with our programmes on International Mother Language Day.'

Another big project that will be running is 450 years of Leidens Ontzet, the Relief of Leiden. 'We are setting up a programme with several researchers and students from the faculty to broaden the story of 3 October. Everyone knows the legends, but we want to show where they came from and what happened in the time leading up to it. I think that's incredibly fun, also because it's so interdisciplinary and the students are involved.’

Want advice on the societal possibilities of your research? The knowledge broker can be reached at impactsupport@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

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