Understanding Society

Tilburg University is convinced that it can contribute to solving social issues by developing and transferring knowledge and bringing together people from various disciplines and organizations.

Overview Team Speeches March 9, Speech2025

On March 9, 25 teams of students and staff presented their ideas on the future of the university in six minutes each. Read the summaries of the presentations and view the recordings of the speeches in the table below.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 1

Corporate Social Responsibility - from understanding society to leading by example

Teamleaders: Anne de Vries, Floor van’t Ende

By 2025, Tilburg University should top the worldwide CSR rankings. Principles of sustainability, human rights and equality should naturally be integrated into the university’s decision-making, education and research. Tilburg University should be a positive example in social responsibility for its students, staff and society as a whole. Let’s move forward from “understanding society” to actively assuming responsibility for society.

Tilburg University should set a place in the top 20 as a CSR goal. This should contain:
  1. Campus sustainability
  2. Diverse and healthy food
  3. Responsible investments
  4. Motivate and educate
  5. Embrace the unique features of Tilburg University
  6. Get students and staff involved

Speech2025 Presentation Team 2

Unity in Diversity – An Institutes’ Perspective

Teamleader: Panos Delimatsis

Research institutes lie at the heart of TiU’s vivacity. They have been the ambassadors of TiU curiosity, achievements and overall excellence around the world. All started small, bottom-up and grew up to become global leaders in their respective fields, carrying the TiU’s brand. We want to use this opportunity to take stock of (and pride in) our accomplishments and contribute to the discussions on four pillars: continuity, benchmarks, bottom up, focus.

  1. Continuity: research institutes have been around for 10/15 years. We should look beyond the strategic plan period.
  2. Benchmarking: if we want to know what we want to become, we need to know whom we are competing with.
  3. Bottom up: research institutes play an important role in sharpening the external focus of Tilburg University. We have acted as ambassadors in this respect. Our focus has developed bottom-up. Currently we are working with three themes. The research institutes have a much broader palet of research interests.
  4. Focus: focus is relative. Why three major themes and not 10 or 20? Important to identify connecting themes with which we can work together and excel. We should also monitor whether there is scope for clustering.

Why should globally renowned institutes remain in Tilburg?

We stay because of:

  • Proper incentives for research;
  • Rewarded for fruitful outreach efforts;
  • Supported in launching education initiatives;
  • Stimulating environment for working together.

What should the university do in the future?

  1. Continue the above.
  2. Use the institutes much more actively when it comes to building international networks.
  3. Streamline sustainable investment in the institutes.
  4. Discuss how to ensure that they work properly at the interstices between institutes and schools.

Sustainable growth: critical mass is necessary to move in new directions. A continuous monitoring of critical mass is necessary, otherwise we may cause unnecessary fragmentation.

Tilburg University institutes carry the Tilburg University brand around the world quite successfully. We should celebrate these achievements. Achievements that we could not have achieved on our own.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 3

Team 3: Understanding Students, Advancing University
Teamleader: Bob van Soolingen

A university has two core tasks: providing academic education & academic research.

University Forum, the meeting platform for all student participation organs of Tilburg University, will focus on the education of our university. We ask the university not only to focus on the number of students, but also on  “who we want to educatie. We call this Student2025. In which way can the university serve the 'Student2025', or in other words: how can it optimally fulfill its education task? How do we want to get students here? How do we want to keep them here and make them successful, and how can we create alumni that are loyal and successful.

First, you must understand the students. The study period is formative and students should have both freedom and responsibility - when and how to grow, but also live up to expectations. University should facilitate. University must use:

●        data-driven education (analyse how students study, map alumni, suggestions for extra trainings/elective courses that fit ambitions of students)
●        student-centric approach (students must be central in all policy documents)

Speech2025 Presentation Team 4

Team 4: Positioning Tilburg University as a leading institution concerning the impact of Technology on Society
Teamleader: Jean-Malik Dumas

Given the growing impact of technology on individuals, organizations and society at large, Tilburg University should include technology as a dimension of its strategy.

We propose to position our university as a leader in the following dimensions:

●        A leading institution concerning the role and future of technology in education ;
●        A community of individual trained to use technology in a healthy, efficient and sustainable way ;
●        A leading institution regarding research on the impact of technology on society.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 5

Team 5: Ideas for character building
Teamleader: Ingemarie Sam

One of the distinctive aspects of Tilburg University's educational profile is the focus on ‘character’. We will argue that character building should be made more concrete in the next strategic period. In this presentation we will give you a swot-analysis of character which will result in ideas how Tilburg University can really start with character building.

Where do you stand if we talk about good governance or good business or if we talk about pro-life or pro-choice? What is your leading principle and do you understand the opposite position? What kind of solutions are you thinking of? You need more than knowledge and skills to deal with moral and social issues. You need character! Our university sees character as a unique selling point and has a lot of opportunities to build character. Our students want to be involved with society. Do we practice what we preach? Yes! But we need more! Get out of your bubble, meet the world!

Concrete ideas:

  • lectures for dummies by staff
  • student social initiative fund
  • community outreach week by students and staff, with board and deans as role model
  • engagement award for alumnus with character
  • yearly character event: explore a dilemma

Speech2025 Presentation Team 6

Team 6: Living Campus
Teamleader: Max van Veen and Paul Hoeijmans

Our university campus can be the unique selling point of Tilburg University.

We would like to create a campus full of life and activity. A place where students, employees and guests want to study, research, meet and collaborate.

In order to do that we need to invest in the facilities on this campus, think about food and beverage, retail, events and sport.

A strong connection to the city, in which we and Tilburg work together to make this city and university attractive to our (new) students.

We foresee a significant growth. Our university invest in excellent research and education, but we should also invest in our campus as a unique selling point for both students and staff. Our university should be a community to be proud of. Our campus needs to be a place to meet people in real life. Therefore our campus needs to be a environment thriving with energy and with an international feeling, with room for diversity. Our campus should be an attractive place for our staff and students to live, work and study together!

Speech2025 Presentation Team 7

Team 7: Tilburg University as a breeding ground for a Tilburg School of Health, Care and Well-being
Teamleader: Jaap Paauwe

A new joint initiative involving all schools, combining our resources to found a Tilburg School of Health, Care and Well-being.

TiU wants to grow to 20.000 students. This is only possible if we broaden our university with additional schools. We should be building on our strengths and create cross-overs between faculties, departments and themes. The health theme is of crucial societal importance. We are aiming for a unique School next to Medical Schools, emphasizing care and prevention. It can also connect with Data Science and Resilience. We propose an integrated approach of Health, Care and Well-being on four different levels:

Societal level

  • Health care: 3rd largest expenditure of government budget→    95 billion, 14% van het BBP, of which only 5% for prevention
  • Number of people employed: 1.4 million
  • Communities, municipalities, national, global, sustainability of care
  • Governance, market regulation

→TSB (Tranzo)/TISEM(Netspar)/TLS (Reflect/Bestuurskunde)

Institutional/Organizational level

  • Hospitals, social relief, mental health care, quality of care, evidence based practice
  • From care afterwards to prevention (“van nazorg naar voorzorg”), transitions in care: youth care, social care, participation/work: from national to local level

→ TSB (Tranzo/Sociology/Org Studies/HRM)TLS(Reflect)

Team/Individual level

  • Personalized care, self management (“eigen kracht/regie”), capability, quality of life, client perspective, support of evidence based care/practice, co-creation, mental health


Spiritual level
  • Spiritual health, sense making
  • Meaning of life


The new school should have a positive approach:  Care, prevention, personalized medicine and focus on well-being. The vision for 2025 therefore is a new School added, a unique niche in the Netherlands, with a multidisciplinary approach.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 8

Team 8: 2025….Re-viewed: Impact through value-based connections
Teamleader: Geert Jan Peters

It’s 6 minutes to 12(!) December 31, 2025. Several members of Tilburg University Society meet in Building F (Future) to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Whilst looking over the campus, they discuss how Tilburg University has become the central hub connecting to hubs worldwide, both in the offline and online world. They overhear a student, employee, alumnus, and partners  (organizations/companies/society) explaining their view on what impact has been achieved.  

Student view:

  • Online - offline courses, cooperation, co creation
  • Student work at the university
  • International
  • Buzzing campus

Business partner view:

  • Business - academic partnership
  • One stop shop
  • Ambassadors of Tilburg University
  • Impact Hub - exchange knowledge, digital hub on data science, startup with entrepreneurship students

Employee view:

  • Teamwork with international partner universities
  • Virtual campus
  • Share experiences and knowledge
  • Proud to work at Tilburg University. Create inspiring environment, challenged and encouraged to go the extra mile, celebrate successes and learn from failures 

Alumni view:

  • Mentor programme by alumnus - showing students around the job market and practice job interview
  • Guest lecture - share knowledge with students
  • Meet next colleague or intern

Speech2025 Presentation Team 9

Team 9: Rooted in the world
Teamleader: Guido van Leerzem and Hans Georg van Liempd

There is hardly a place in the world that is not connected, cross-linked and oriented towards other places. Globalization and increasing international integration are affecting societal issues of our research and education. Is it possible to re-imagine the infrastructure of our university in such way that we become firmly rooted in other parts of the world? We should add a new dimension of international collaboration. The new strategy: Look beyond our region.

Growth in Asia, Africa and South America leads to a transition to a knowledge based economy:
Universities expand out (capacity) and expand up (graduate level). Universities start contributing to the global production of knowledge. Now we are rooted in the Brabant region, our ambition is to become rooted in the world! Imagine we had a Bogota TiU College, Accra TiU College, Shanghai TiU College and a TiU College.

Key activities would be:

Joint education
Foundation year
- Extended master semesters
- Short term education
- PhD Programs
- Online education

Joint Research
- Structural research partnerships
- Access to local ecosystems
- Access to funding
TiU World Colleges would provide a teaching and research infrastructure in partnership with universities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. They would turn into centers of excellence which are full member of TiU’s academic community. They would increase our quality, reputation and competitiveness world wide.
Understanding Society is Understanding the World and connect to the world with a new model of collaboration.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 10

Team 10:  Impact Team: "Advancing Society: A call for research excellence with a soul”
Teamleader: Martijn Gruijthuijsen and Ton Wilthagen

By 2025 we want to combine research excellence, impact and science with a soul. We want to achieve this through:

  1. Connection across schools and departments (multidiscplinary)
  2. Connection between science and society (co-creation with society)

Examples of excellent research with a soul, aimed at advancing society:

  • Data Science for the Social Good: using advanced analytics to fight world hunger (Hein Fleuren, UN World Food Program)
  • Resilient Society: smart districts, working with stakeholders in society to build a city with the highest standards of living, health, safety, logistics, etc. (Ton Wilthagen)
  • Health and wellbeing: personalized medicine, working with hospitals, insurance companies, Philips Healthcare, and various departments at Tilburg University to effect changes in people’s lives and wellbeing (Johan Denollet)

Advancing society is the future of Tilburg University and should be done with all the relevant stakeholders within the university and outside the university (regional, national and international) stakeholders. In order to address the major issues in society we need to work together across schools and departments. This is an invitation to join us!

Speech2025 Presentation Team 11

Team 11: Educating tomorrow's leaders.
Teamleader: Bart Bronnenberg

Our strategic goal is be a top choice for ambitious young men and women, to offer them a transformative educational experience, delivered by outstanding faculty, and to be recognized as such within Europe's borders and outside it. Our group believes that Tilburg University should stand for educating tomorrow's leaders. Tilburg University is well-prepared to educate tomorrow's leaders:

  • we have five strong schools in the social sciences that additionally form a perfect match and complement to the region’s economic activity, in, for example, Brainport;
  • we have a beautiful, but underutilized campus where students, social scientists, and employers can come together
  • we have an educational vision that puts “Bildung” of students central;
  • last but not least, Tilburg University has the right people both in terms of academic teaching talent and support staff

Our strategy proposes a clear focus on four reinforcing initiatives:

  1. First and foremost, being an educational institution, the university should attract and retain extraordinary classroom and research talent. With increasing transparency about teaching quality and ambitious students increasingly considering options farther from home, the long term success of the university success increases exponentially in its reputation for teaching. Students remember inspiring teachers. To recruit and retain talent, we should acknowledge, appreciate, and retain our best professors and offer a singularly productive and fun environment to work in.
  2. We should continue to develop our campus and its connection to regional economic activity. It is a true asset to our university and important to our students. Put state-of-the-art facilities into existing classrooms to foster dialog and student engagement.  Also, our link to the region gives our activities meaning. Our campus should become a lively knowledge and recruitment hotspot to for instance the Brainport region.
  3. We should commit to turning our existing long-term projects into successes. We need to make sure the data science initiative becomes a resounding success and integrate it with our teaching and research; we have to implement our education vision; and we have to make the BEST initiative work. All three are nontrivial tasks requiring lots of ongoing effort. Future students and faculty who consider us want to see these successes.
  4. Finally, we need to get the word out: For students to choose us, they need to who we are and what we do well.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 12

Team 12: “Career in the core business"

Teamleader: Hans Haans and Sander Berlinski

The core task of a university is to teach students in the best possible way. This requires the best lecturers capable of performing this task. To make sure that the best lecturers are interested to work for our university we also have to offer them an clear career path for the future. Currently such a path is not existing, which result in lecturers with short term contracts putting pressure on the quality of education. Next to that the future perspective for lecturers is limited within the university. A student centric is approach is only possible if education is taken seriously. That is the main focus of our speech.

What is the problem?

  • Temporary contracts; teachers have to leave after 2 years
  • Capital wastage; we train teachers, they get a UTQ.
  • Job profile; we are only allowed to read out slides others have made.

This does not provide quality education.

We should provide career perspective for our lecturers by means of:

  • Fixed contracts; (with still a flexible part)
  • PhD possibilities; it is important for teachers to have a PhD.
  • Career path; it is not possible to make a step on the career ladder based on education. Core business is teaching, but you are evaluated on research and publications.

Education is our core business. Give teachers the opportunity to pursue a real career in our core business.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 13

Team 13: The Boundaries of the Human Sciences: Protection or Alienation?
Teamleader: Paul Mutsaers and Antony Pemberton (representing the Academic Sounding Board)

The human sciences—which encompass all five TiU faculties—are facing a paradox. The more we descent from the isolated towers of knowledge, accommodating to the public demand for extra-academic value, the more we find ourselves on a metaphorical battle ground to defend our expertise. Perhaps, the public sphere is the ultimate testing ground to determine what the human sciences are worth, but we believe that something else is going on here. We argue that, by stepping out of our comfort zone and crossing boundaries that have long protected us, we have become susceptible to political charges that essentially question our legitimacy. This legitimacy crisis ought to be a top priority on our strategic agenda’s.

A new time has begun, it is the age of valorization, knowledge utilization and public value of the sciences. But it did not take long for academics to realize that they had entered unknown territory where they faced a completely different truth game. This territory was the land of pragmatism, and in this land ideas do not triumph because of their intrinsic truth, but because of their affinity to pragmatic concerns and interests that usually have little to do with the quest for truth. The other side of the story is that we as academics have not yet proven to be ready to adapt ourselves to this new terrain. The general public is not always served by a direct confrontation with state-of-the-art scientific insights and debate. These require a public translation, lest our public activities are perceived as elitist and inaccessible. The public translation of science is a craft in itself. Too often it results in a way to speak down to the public (Jip & Janneke versions of our articles).

Think collectively about the function of boundaries of our institution. How do we maintain our separate identity of a human science university, while fully engaging with the society we seek to serve? Our attempts should be fueled by self confidence, but not by arrogance. When we reach out, we do this as representatives of an academic community, not as free floating individuals.

We call for the establishment for a Tilburg initiative of public knowledge, with two core tasks: organize the distribution of knowledge and co-construction of knowledge to and with the general public. A modest step, but an important one and the stakes could hardly be higher.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 14

Team 14: Best PhD University 2025
Teamleader: Eva Zijlmans

The Strategic Plan should take due account of the PhD community, which constitutes a substantial part of the academic staff.  That is why this speech explores the crossroads we currently face. A question of whether the Strategic plan should choose to go down the road of being a PhD farm; choosing quantity over quality. Or whether we should try and become the Best PhD University possible and choose quality of theses over quantity, and what that would entail.

What should Tilburg University do?:

1. Provide an excellent legal status. We are staff, not students. Same rights as employees, such as sick leave and parental leave that do not cut into PhD time. Formulate an adequate vision on bursary PhD’s, that at the moment are not considered staff nor students.

  • Quality first.
  • years to write a dissertation
  • Supervising our supervisors.
  • Provide training as teachers.

2. Room for personal development.

  • Visit conferences,
  • Make room to exercise creativity,
  • career development (also for the 80% outside academia)
  • internships

Speech2025 Presentation Team 15

Team 15: Teaching As Research
Teamleader: David Janssens

Drawing on the successful practice of team teaching in the University College, this speech argues that the distinction between teaching and research should be qualified or even dropped, in order to value and develop both on equal footing. Interdisciplinary Teach Teams will trigger researchers to ask new questions. It will make you look, reason, discover and argue across boundaries of disciplines. Also, Team Teaching will teach you things about your discipline that you would not discover without Team Teaching.
We learn by teaching. We should therefore value teaching in the same way as we value research.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 16

Team 16: University-wide ethical review of research
Teamleader: Nina Kupper

Although ethical review of research is very important to ensure a responsible research practice, within the social and behavioral sciences, including humanities, we are only in the initial stage of ethical review of research. We want ethical review of research in all fields of research within Tilburg University, whenever human participants are involved. As a specialist university we are in the position to realize an institutional review board, which would be unique in the Netherlands, to ensure this responsible research practice, and the yield of better efficiency and improved access to grant opportunities in the EU and the US.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 17

Team 17: No high quality education without high quality teachers
Teamleader: Esther Breuker

Goal: in 2025 Tilburg University is not only outstanding in the field of research, but also in the field of education.

What should Tilburg University look like in 2025?

  • Top quality lecturers, modern infrastructure, adequate support
  • Education is organized on a small scale and is perceived as a joint responsibility of teaching staff and students
  • Teachers inspire students through activating teaching methods
  • Professional support staff to help achieve high standards
  • Career opportunities for lecturers: combining research and education, or specialize in either research or education: individual career perspectives
  • Tilburg University attracts passionate lecturers from all over the world who enjoy working together and inspire one another
  • Internationally famous for great teaching atmosphere
  • Innovation labs where lecturers can innovate their education
  • Students trained a T-shaped professionals ready for the world of today
  • Blended form of online and off-line teaching

Tilburg University: the place to be!

We already have a excellent teachers and a very good education plan, but we think that is not enough. We want to take education to the next level. Teachers need more time and more support to innovate their courses. Our advice: more time for teachers, careers for teachers and more support for teachers.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 19

Team 19: Survival of the fittest: Getting ready for tomorrow
Teamleader: Machiel Hermans

By this presentation, we, master students public governance, put theory into practice. Together with the group members, around 25 trends were identified in the rapidly changing environment where Tilburg University is maneuvering in. Since the future is highly uncertain, it is rather difficult to answer the question where Tilburg University will be in 2025. However, we provide four scenarios how Tilburg University in 2025 could look like. Five strategic implications are derived from those four scenarios, which will be presented during the Speech 2025.

We are going to focus on the interest of Tilburg University as a whole. Tilburg University had to be responsive to change!

Two important trends for our university that are yet uncertain in the way they will develop:

  1. Digitalization as a supplement or digitalization as a replacement
  2. Primary market led or primary governmental led

Four models:

  1. American Model
  2. Mooc Market
  3. Back to Basics
  4. Open Model

Tilburg University has to be prepared for these scenario’s: invest in our digital infrastructure and in the training of our staff members. Both disruptive and autonomous growth: also in terms of partnerships! Stimulate bottom-up initiatives and entrepreneurship. Prepare for the future! There are no such things as bad scenario’s, but there is only bad preparation!

Speech2025 Presentation Team 20

Team 20: let’s team up together! Saying goodbye to the academic/management divide.
Teamleader: Mirjam Siesling

Just call everyone staff of the university and no longer apply academic or management/administrative job titles. The divide between academics and administrators is unnecessary and obsolete. It hampers academic careers and in the end the university’s proper functioning. All university work is of equal value, so: let’s have one workforce (and one term), one focus and one set of values. Let’s work together in interdependence and co-creation and recognize that the knowledge and expertise needed to run a university is great and needs blending of skills for the future.

Problems/challenges that our university faces:

  • Only 30% of PhD holders find a (temporary) academic contract at a university, whereas 60% wish to stay;
  • Current developments & challenges for Universities demand more sources of knowledge than scientific insights alone;
  • Increasing complexity of university management calls for high level thinkers;
  • Due to ‘mission stretch’ the work pressure for most academics is too high (6 in 10 ponders on finding another job);
  • Various (perceived) divides threathen the university’s good functioning.
  • Our solution is the blended professional. Specifically the group PhD-holders working in administrative staff. They have academic and non-academic expertise. Cherish this group. Unique and indispensable quality.

Let’s take the following actions:

  • Everybody is ‘staff of the university’
  • It is easy and very common to combine ‘administrative/management’ work with ‘academic’ work
  • All university staff is encouraged to pursue a challenging career, both ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’
  • Administrative/management staff holding a PhD are encouraged to perform (institutional) research and basic teaching
  • All TiU managers are exemplary blended professionals
  • We all offer our best and are proud of our University


Speech2025 Presentation Team 22

Team 22: Participation of academics in the public sphere
Teamleader: Inge van de Ven

How do we participate as academics in the public sphere? Disseminating the results of academic research to the wider audience is one of the key agenda points in the university’s emerging new strategic plan. We operate in a complex landscape of opinions, the difficulty of estimating the truth value of facts, the increasing reliance on emotion in public debates, and the increasingly algorithmic nature of the public sphere. According to Katharine Viner we live in a ‘post-truth age’. She claims that technology has disrupted the truth. In the digital age it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is then quickly shared and taken as the truth. Virality gets valued over truth and form over content.

What is the role of the academic in the face of these new problems? Our role is to inform, because a democracy without a well-informed people is a democracy in crisis (Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America). The academic not only has to produce outstanding science, but also has a duty to enter the public debate: to take a stance, based on knowledge and expertise; to help build a more just, equal and democratic society.

Goals for 2025:

  1. To train students and engage ourselves in separating fact from fiction; truth from rumours; data from knowledge.
  2. To manage information overload and distinguish between that which demands close attention and that which can be skimmed; what must be understood in a deeper sense and what can be consumed in a distracted fashion.
  3. To participate in an increasingly interconnected and algorithmic public sphere: the voice of the academic today is still too much trapped in academic journals. Future academics should invest not only in trying to understand society, but they should actively intervene in order to improve it.

Example of encouraging students to take an active stance: Diggit magazine. Students publish their own article and generate their own traffic for their content by using social media.

We call on the university community (from students to scholars) to join us in a sustained effort to get heard, to participate, so as to stimulate the availability of clear explanations and rational argumentation within the public sphere.


Speech2025 Presentation Team 23

Team 23: Will science still exist in 2025
Teamleader: Loes Keijsers

Fiction is taking over. Facts no longer seem relevant. Opinions have become equally important as scientific studies, and so do ‘alternative facts’. There is a new era, of post-truth. Science is losing importance, impact, and influence. In fact, trust in science may be lower than ever before. And that is only one challenge of today’s society. The question is: How can scientists, positively impact society, if society doesn’t trust science.

The decentralized structure of TiU allows researchers to excel. It is the fundament: Top-quality scientific research. But when it comes to regaining trust in science, top-quality research does not suffice. Two problems:

1. the big problems of today are complex. And it is seldom fixed with insights of one discipline. Complex societal problems are multidisciplinary by default.

2. people are so different. Each of the advices, regulations and interventions are evidence-based, but they are all average-based.

So as scientists who study humans and society, we are able to provide parts of the answer, that only applies to average persons.

  • Make a paradigm shift, that makes science relevant again.
  • Seek for multi-disciplinairy answers that can be applied to individuals [rather than group averages].

Big societal challenges lie ahead. Opinions, beliefs, and ‘alternative facts’ are gaining popularity as a solution. Science is in troubled water. The fundamental research at Tilburg University is excellent. The existing university structures have made this possible. But are we fully capitalizing on the strengths of our small scale university, are we building the bridges that are needed. Scientists, need to look over their own discipline to stem the tide and provide better answers to big societal questions. Tilburg University should invest in new initiatives and in the solid pillars of fundamental research. But also use the high-quality research as a stable fundament to build and to strengthen multidisciplinary bridges over troubled water.


Speech2025 Presentation Team 24

Team 24: Tilburg University: The Strength of Community & Cooperation
Teamleader: Jimmy de Kruijf and Shaghayegh Molawi

Our team from student party Vrijspraak will focus on what we believe is the main strength of Tilburg University: the strong sense of cooperation and a close and dedicated community of students and faculty. We will talk about how the TiU community contributes to the success of the university and the profile of our graduates and how to capitalize on that:

  1. Campus: small and green. Keep it that way, and make deliberate choices when expanding - new places must really add value. Also, too few places to meet and hang out (especially for international students), more cafe’s and places to eat needed.
  2. Multidisciplinary education: support students when they want to take courses at other faculties, facilitate instead of block. Organize clinics and events, like the Law Clinic: solve interdisciplinary problems for companies, NGO’s, (local) government.
  3. Career Prospects: extend mobility window from exchange only to internships and extra jobs, centralize courses on 2 days a week so students can work or be active the other 3 days of the week, use video lectures. 


Speech2025 Presentation Team 25

Team 25: Cobbenhagen Identity in Post Truth Era
Teamleader: Erik Borgman

In our rapidly changing societies and cultures, universities are changing too. And a lot of our debates are on the way we, as Tilburg University, can contribute to the society of the future. However, in order not to loose ourselves in a multiplicity of projects, steered by a variety of motives ranging from economic growth to personal welfare, we need to cultivate an ongoing debate on what it means to be a university under the circumstances we find ourselves in. What does it mean to institute the search for knowledge, the debate on justice and the quest for truth and what does that entail? To ask these questions constantly within Tilburg University and to let the outcomes influence the policy is, it will be argued, part of the inheritance form founding father Martinus Cobbenhagen. The decision in the current Strategic Plan to take this inheritance more seriously, has to bear consequences in the new Strategic Plan for Tilburg University to remain credible.

The mission of Tilburg University is understanding society. This is a modern translation of the vision of our founding father Martinus Cobbenhagen. We embrace a forward-looking ethical orientation. We look to our connections with humanity and the natural world for our vision of sustainability and diversity.

We must remain true to our roots. We have a mission to the society. The society needs the university. Today we live in a society that is not working together and that is excluding people. We need people to think about what it means to be a part of this society and we need an infrastructure to discuss what it means to be a university in a changing society. We need to be a house of truth in the post-truth area.

Speech2025 Presentation Team 26

Team 26: Open mind, open science
Teamleaders: Hylke Annema and Chris Hartgerink

Access to scientific research results, such as materials, data, and publications, should be as easy and open as possible for everyone. This maximizes the building blocks for future research and advancement of society. Science is bit like Legos; if you have a larger box of Legos, you can build greater structures.

Open Science can have great impact:

  1. Students can use these building blocks to learn about the process of discovery
  2. Businesses can create innovative tools based on these building blocks and add value to society.
  3. Citizens can more easily participate in science if these building blocks are more readily available.
  4. Most of all: science can become more reliable and accurate.

We call on you to make this part of the strategic plan!

Advancing society is only possible if we radically include society in what we do. The national landscape is shifting (National Open Data Plan), but it’s too slow and it’s incomplete. We should eliminate the problem of selective publication. Research isn’t about happy endings, but about accuracy. We need to see not just the successful attempts; we need to see all attempts. Selective publication greatly hurts the validity of science. What we need to do is move from confirming prior findings and beliefs to good science, which is Open Science. Sharing all research that is conducted is feasible and will increase validity.

The number of open access publications at Tilburg University is disconcertingly low. Instead of just policy making, we need to create a cultural shift. Open Science is the future. Let us advance science by making it more open, which in turn will help us advance society. Open Science is out of the box and it won’t go back in. The only question is: What are we going to do with that knowledge as a university?


Speech2025 Presentation Team 27

Team 27: Tilburg University:  Remember your endowed professors!
Teamleader: Esther de Vries

Tilburg University, aren’t you missing something?

Make more use of your endowed professors, deepen their connection with Tilburg University. That’s a win - win for everyone and will help our Impact Team.

  • 61 endowed professors
  • 4-5% of all scientific personel in all TiU Schools
  • liaison with their organizations
  • 50-60% of PhD-students are external

This is potential value! It could help increase your valorisation potential because of their link to their organizations. Create a community (digital?) and integrate it with the regular scientific staff. This needs central help because endowed professors don’t know each other. But if you do, it will have certain advantages:

  • better access to: organizations, external funding, clients/patients (for research)
  • facilitation of implementation of study results
  • more integration with TiU in general

Exploit this potential to the full and it will help in Understanding or even Advancing Society.