Shining a light on collaboration: Erasmus University Rotterdam launches community for impact-driven education

On a cloudy Thursday afternoon in March, teachers, learning innovators and other professionals gathered to shine their light on impact-driven education. Because that’s the beauty of making positive societal impact: you never do it alone. So, it’s official. The word is out! Erasmus University Rotterdam now has a Community for impact-driven education.

The Kick-off

How can we help each other in the design of impact-driven education? Our university strives to make a positive societal impact, which has consequences for both our research and our education. We want to scale up, enhance our efforts, and gather different experiences. We’ll do this by bringing together the professionals dealing with impact-driven education at EUR and by welcoming external knowledge to our meetings. That’s why we asked Mandy Koenraads to share her inspirational story with us that day.

Koenraad is the coordinator of The Hague Southwest Thesis Project, an educational platform where master students from Leiden University, TU Delft and EUR conduct research in response to practice-based challenges formulated by local stakeholders and residents. A wonderful example of impact-driven education in all its complexity! Koenraads spoke vividly about the importance of getting to know the community you work in before you start your project. You’ll never truly know what it’s like to live in the area you’re conducting your research. That’s why you should make it a priority to conduct your research with the community instead of about them. Building trust is a crucial aspect of community engagement, and it involves consistently offering value to those communities. A key principle is ensuring that your efforts benefit both students and the communities they serve, resulting in a win-win situation for all involved.

To enter another’s world is a privilege, not a right”.

When implementing impact-driven education, you want students to understand the complexity of a societal challenge and its context, and this requires developing certain skills. That’s why the Thesis Hub includes workshops on three key topics: research methods, communication, and ethics. The goal is for students to reflect on important questions. How do I communicate with stakeholders from different backgrounds? Should I use jargon, or not? How can we avoid research fatigue when working with communities? Bearing in mind the ethical dimension of a university-community collaborations is essential, according to Koenraad. Students should be aware that “to enter another’s world is a privilege, not a right”. Therefore, significant consideration should be put on being respectful and responsible towards the people who live in the community.


The Community for impact-driven education

By bringing together teachers and learning innovators and faculty staff, we hope that this community will contribute to the upscaling of impact-driven education across all faculties of our university. During this first session we took our first steps into collaboratively defining our objectives and expectations as a community. Three main ideas came up. Firstly, we want to create a platform to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices to continually learn together. Secondly, we expect to foster connections and collaborations to create a strong network of impact-driven professionals at EUR. Finally, we want to work together! Co-creating practical solutions to address the challenges encountered during the implementation of impact-driven education, making resources available for everyone to improve their practice. All this work is aimed at making sure more students can benefit from impact-driven education and the positive changes it can bring. 

With this community we hope to create a space where teachers, learning innovators and other professionals working on impact-driven education can come together and share. Whether these are lessons, wins, challenges or bloopers, together we can learn and grow impact-driven education at Erasmus University Rotterdam!

You are all invited to join and actively participate in the Community for impact-driven education. We have a Teams Channel which will grow to become the heart of our community. A place where you can post your questions, ask for help, share your wins and bloopers. Together we will learn and make positive societal impact. Do you wish to become part of the Community for impact-driven education? Please send an e-mail to

More information

The community for impact-driven education is an initiative of Impact at the Core 

Impact at the Core is a central innovation program at Erasmus University Rotterdam that works on education within which students work together on solutions for societal problems. We do this by designing, strengthening and co-developing initiatives for so-called impact-driven education. By that, we mean education in which our positive contribution to society plays a central role.


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