The start of this year saw the opening of the LDE Centre for Governance, Migration and Diversity. The Centre looks at public administration and policy issues in the four South Holland cities from a multicultural perspective. What is unusual is that there are already master’s graduates at the Centre.
Marc van Ostaijen (Erasmus University Rotterdam) presented the new Centre for Governance, Migration and Diversity (GMD) on 14 October in the first virtual Leiden-Delft-Erasmus talk. Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities (LDE) is the partnership of these three universities, including the University Medical Centres. GMD was not the only subject on the agenda. Dean of LDE Wim van den Doel gave an outline of the construction that LDE Universities has become and showed students what goes on at the Centre for Sustainability.
Collaboration with four cities
Van Ostaijen is coordinator of the Centre, in which all three universities have a strong input: Leiden in history (Marlou Schrover, Professor of Migration History) and law (Professor Jorrit Rijpma, European Law), Delft in technology and urban design, and Rotterdam in sociology, public administration, human rights and development. GMD will work together with the four cities in South Holland where the universities are located, each of which has a very diverse population given their history and their nature: Rotterdam (port city), The Hague (international law), Leiden (city of migrants) and Delft (international, technical university).
GMD already has graduates…
What is unusual is that there are already graduates at the Centre. And not only that: the fifth cohort of GMD master’s students has just started. The reason is that the Centre developed out of the master’s programme. The collaboration was so successful that the decision was taken to expand it and to create an LDE Centre.
The GMD had only just been established when the corona crisis broke out, which shifted the focus elsewhere. But now the initiators of the Centre are keen to make progress. Their first task is to map out exactly what expertise there is within the Centre: what concerted knowledge do we have as a group? Once we know that, we can share that knowledge with one another and connect the already existing networks. We need that overview to be able to decide what expertise will be of most benefit to the four cities. The researchers at GMD also contribute to the public debate, by writing articles for the opinion pages of newspapers, for example. A next step is to submit joint multidisciplinary research proposals.
A extensive and complex construction
GMD was not the only topic discussed in the talk. In line with the LDE motto Working together for science and society, LDE Dean Wim van den Doel gave an outline of the extensive construction that LDE Universities has now become. It has six multidisciplinary research centres where vertical programmes such as Digital Society, AI and Bold Cities are also running. The range of bachelor’s, master’s, minors, honours classes, executive master’s and MOOCs is also growing. The potential is enormous: together, the three universities have 1,100 PhD candidates, 85,000 students, 937 professors and 7,313 researchers, as well as those from the UMCs. A case of the sum being more than the parts….
Rotterdam circular by 2050
Time was also made available for students and their role at the Centre for Sustainability. Seven students, including two from the Master’s in Industrial Ecology coordinated by Leiden, carried out a study for the Rotterdam municipality: the city wants to be fully circular by 2050. Rotterdam student Josephine Bosch explored possiblities for making waste and waste processing circular. What she found was that both the city and the waste processing companies looked to start-ups for innovative ideas. But at the same time they were not really confident that they would survive beyond the start-up phase. That leaves the question of how to encourage innovation.
Leiden student Daan de Leur is a member of the Student Council at the Centre for Sustainability (@LDE_CfS). The aim of the Council is to bring students at the three universities – all of which have an affinity with sustainability and want to develop this theme further – into contact with one another. The plan is for all Centres to have such a Council. The Sustainability Council is now making contact with the Green Offices that are run by students at the three universities. Leiden Rector Carel Stolker has offered to help with bringing together the different participation bodies, saying, ‘Sustainability is one of the key themes for Leiden’s University Council.’ De Leur was delighted to hear that: another building block in the network.
Text: Corine Hendriks
Photo, The Hague market: Fleur Beemster