Challenge Accepted: taking on the societal challenges of the 21st century together

‘Challenge Accepted’: with that slogan, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Erasmus Trustfonds are jointly launching a campaign today that will allow the university to take on the societal challenges of the 21st century. Their ambition is to create an endowment fund of EUR 100 million by 2025. Donors have already contributed a total of more than EUR 26 million to this end. In addition, the two organisations have introduced an online community for alumni, students and academics.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aims to be a leading university that, through its research and education, takes on the societal challenges of the 21st century in the fields of health care, sustainable prosperity and living together in urban environments. However, the university can’t do this on its own. Everyone – students, scholars, EUR’s some 100,000 alumni, other interested parties – can contribute: through their donations, knowledge, experience or network.

Never before on this scale has a Dutch university called on her alumni (and others) to support excellent research and education.


Today, on the University’s 104th Dies Natalis (birthday), Erasmus University Rotterdam and Erasmus Trustfonds (trust fund) are launching the new campaign ‘Challenge Accepted’. This campaign reflects the university’s (typical Rotterdam) spirit – of never shying away from a challenge.

Finding new answers to societal challenges is never an easy undertaking. It requires a lot of research – and the associated funding. That is why the partners aim to create a new endowment fund totalling EUR 100 million by 2025. A fund that will allow the university to carry out research and education activities with a clear social relevance. This independent income stream enables the University to perform ground-breaking research, draw world-class scientists to Rotterdam and support the best students with scholarships.

This fund also reduces the University’s dependence on (declining) public funding. This is the first time ever a Dutch university has undertaken this on such a large scale.

Several dozens of alumni and families have already contributed a total of more than EUR 26 million. These successful alumni and Rotterdam families feel a strong connection with the University’s ambitions and would like to contribute to their achievement. From now on, everyone can contribute to the independently-managed endowment fund with larger or smaller donations.

History is actually repeating itself: in 1913, the Nederlandsche Handels-Hoogeschool (NHH, one of EUR’s precursors) could be established thanks to the financial support of an array of Rotterdam entrepreneurs and families.

Online community

In addition, Erasmus University and Erasmus Trustfonds are launching ‘EUR Connect’ today: an online community for alumni, students, scholars and everyone who feels ties with the University. Everyone can use share his or her knowledge, experience, network and useful contacts.

Kristel Baele, President of EUR’s Executive Board: “Our mind-set and disciplines enable us to bring about real change when it comes to dealing with the major societal challenges of this century. We do this together with our exceptionally strong EUR community, consisting of students, scientists, staff, alumni and everyone who feels connected to the University. For example, it never fails to impress me just how strong our alumni identify with the university.”

Michiel Muller, Chair of Erasmus Trustfonds: “With this campaign, we have chosen an approach that is decidedly ‘un-Dutch’ – although it is incredibly ‘Rotterdam’. The enthusiasm among alumni and ‘Rotterdammers’ to support this campaign is huge. We’re off to a flying start. A gift, an endowment, lasts forever. You’ll remain connected to the University.” 

More info also on the Dies webite

More information

Press Office Erasmus University Rotterdam, +31 (0)10 4081216 or

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