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Impact essay presented: Connecting to advance society

Published: 01st March 2019 Last updated: 01st March 2019

Scientists have a special responsibility to take on the endeavors of our time. “We are in need of good questions, not of hasty answers.” With these words the King’s Commissioner for the province of North Brabant Wim van de Donk accepted two essays about the university’s educational vision and its vision on societal responsibility respectively at the celebration of Tilburg University’s 90th anniversary.

Wim van de Donk

After having received the first copies of the two essays, Van de Donk stressed that researchers need time and space to research the questions of our time as well as to open that space to the outside world and stay closely connected.

Impact Program

The ambition of Tilburg University’s new Impact Program is to do just that: connecting researchers from different fields in social sciences and humanities to address key scientific questions together as well as collaborating with societal partners.


The questions the Impact Program addresses concern enhancing a resilient society, improving health and wellbeing, and using data in a responsible way to improve our lives. In the essay Advancing Society in aDigital Era. Science with a Soul, the three founders of the Impact Program argue in more detail why and how Tilburg University should take this responsibility to a next level together with the stakeholders in question.


In the province of North Brabant knowledge institutions, enterprises and governmental institutions are already closely connected in order to bring the region forward. Tilburg University’s founding father Martinus Cobbenhagen, who argued that theoretical science should be combined with normative values of social and human responsibility, “would be proud”, said Van de Donk.