Strategic Plan Tilburg University

Core values / "The four C's"

In achieving our mission, we work on the basis of a number of core values (also known as "the four Cs"). These are informed by our university's open Catholic signature and traditions and by continuing to engage in the mutual conversation about our goals and what we want to stand for as a university.

The core values inspire us and guide our behaviours and actions. They give us insight into what it means to be part of the academic community, into what it means to be part of Tilburg University, and into our individual and collective responsibilities. They guide our actions and choices so that we can 'live up to' our values.

Tilburg University's core values are: Caring, Connected, Curious and Courageous.


We respect and care for each other, and regard everyone as equal. This is what guides us in our decisions and behaviours. We recognise and respect the differences between us, and engage in respectful conversation about them. We can give constructive, constructive feedback to another at times, out of concern for each other.


For example:

  • Showing empathy
  • Being sincerely interested in each other
  • Caring about the interests of the other person and the organization as a whole
  • Giving each other honest and timely feedback
  • Setting boundaries and holding each other accountable


We are connected to each other, to society, to other disciplines, and to other cultures. We embrace and value diversity and different perspectives. As an academic institution, we are committed to the connection between education and research, and we want to facilitate the connection between the Schools and Divisions. We feel responsible for an active contribution to the regional, national, and international ecosystems with which we are connected, confident that these contacts will benefit our students and staff as well.


For example:

  • Seek cooperation between different disciplines of the university, involved in society
  • Engage in dialogue with each other where we really listen to each other and treat each other with respect
  • Looking at different perspectives and integrating them to enrich one's own thinking
  • Celebrating successes together
  • Creating safe spaces: showing vulnerability to grow trust


We are in search of new and fundamental knowledge and insights and substantially interested in the still unknown. Where knowledge ends, we actually find inspiration and an entrance to search further. We are creative and promote innovation in our own work, but also in and for environments with which we are connected. We realise that digitalisation offers us new opportunities to renew scientific research and education on many fronts.


For example:

  • Giving and taking time to explore, look beyond one's own boundaries, and seek depth
  • Developing insight into yourself and others, trying to understand thoughts and feelings
  • Learning instead of judging
  • Keep on wondering
  • Trying to understand each other's perspective


We think and act courageously, are critical and independent. We show decisiveness. We dare to challenge established opinions. We trust each other and give each other space, also to make mistakes and learn from them. We have the courage to act ethically and according to our values in difficult situations.

sport activity

For example:

  • Daring to take and implement bold decisions; Daring to stop things
  • Standing strong when a decision has been made, supporting each other when challenges arise
  • Daring to enter into difficult conversations
  • Daring to explore the unknown: being open to experimenting and learning from possible mistakes
  • Daring to be your authentic self 

Although we describe the core values here as four separate values, they often overlap with each other in different situations. For example, what one person sees as Caring, another might see as Courageous. The values should therefore be seen not so much as separate from each other, but as a whole. Only then are they most in their power. 

Tilburg Young Academy

With its core values, Tilburg University wants to make a positive contribution to society. But what does it take for a university to "do good" in this way? Tilburg Young Academy has published a book in which several academics speak about what it takes to become and be a good university: 'The Good of the University: Critical Contributions of Tilburg Young Academy'

Elaboration note

'Weaving Minds & Characters' describes Tilburg University's strategy and what we believe is needed to prepare our university for the next century. The core values form the basis for our strategy. An elaboration note has been prepared that describes the project approach for the core values of the 2027 strategy, entitled 'Living up to values'. If you would like to know more about this, please send an email to

Questions or comments?

Do you have input on how we can communicate our core values even better as a university? Perhaps you have a good example of one of the core values yourself? Or do you have anything else to say or questions related to this topic? Let us know at

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