Strategic Alliance Leiden – Delft – Erasmus Universities

Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam  work together in numerous areas in education, research and valorisation. In the Strategic Alliance, established in 2012, the three universities are building on this and intensifying their existing collaboration. In the future, the alliance will continue to take shape in areas in which it offers added value and where the universities complement and reinforce each other. 


By working together, the three universities aim to explore and solve complex issues facing society. They intend to improve the quality of the research and competitiveness in the international university world and offer their students opportunities for outstanding and wide-ranging education. The alliance forms the basis for larger international alliances in research and for partnerships with the business community, government agencies and other players in society in the region and beyond it. 


The universities in Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam are to a large extent complementary, in terms of content and in their approach to academic, scientific and social problems. This offers unique opportunities for collaboration. Leiden University is a broad, general university which conducts a great deal of fundamental research, TU Delft is broad university of technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam is a more specialised university with a strong grounding in business economics. All three universities operate at the highest levels and have an outstanding international reputation. Together, they made up the Dutch top three in THE World University Rankings for 2013. 

Profiling agenda

In 2012, the three universities submitted their joint profiling agenda (‘Meer Waarde/Added Value’) to the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), as a supplement to their individual profiling plans established for the purposes of performance targets with government. These targets ensue from the Ministry's strategic agenda “Quality in Diversity”, which indicates, among other things, that the universities need to present themselves better, particularly through intensive mutual collaboration.

Medical Delta

One example of collaboration between the three partners that is already successful is Medical Delta:the Delft-Leiden-Rotterdam consortium for innovation in health and medical technology. The partners in the consortium are not only the universities and their UMCs in Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam, but also science parks, incubators, businesses and local and regional government authorities. Medical Delta has been recognised by the EU as a Region of Knowledge and is part of the prestigious consortium HealthTIES. 


The three universities have been working together for years in joint study programmes and tracks such as Life Science & Technology, Nanobiology and Chinese Economy & Business. The study programmes also organise joint minors. The three universities consider it important that it be made even easier for students from Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam to take courses at the three universities. For this reason, they are developing new multidisciplinary tracks, minors and Master's programmes in response to current themes in society.


In 2013, partly as a result of suggestions from researchers at the three institutions, eight multidisciplinary centers were launched to focus on research and education relating to the international issues facing today's and tomorrow's society: the economic and financial crisis, global heritage, ports and airports in relation to their hinterlands, innovation in Africa, governance of complex societies and organisations, sustainability, safety and educational research. These themes are in line with the European agenda ‘Horizon 2020’ and the nine so-called Top Sectors designated as such by the Dutch government. 


In the years ahead, the three universities intend to strengthen their joint contribution to valorisation and innovation in the region of Zuid-Holland and in Europe as a whole. They plan to achieve this by combining several activities and initiatives. 

Operational management

In the area of operational management, the institutions explore the potential for coordination, the sharing of knowledge and expertise and working together in areas in which benefits of scale can be leveraged. A good example of this is the LDE traineeship, to be launched on 1 January 2014.


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Presidents of the board

  • Pauline van der Meer Mohr, President of the Executive Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam: "Far-reaching collaboration makes an essential contribution to the Netherlands' ambition to be numbered among the top world economies. Each of these three universities has a strong academic profile with a different emphasis that complements and strengthens that of the others. They have achieved worldwide renown in a number of fields. Together they cover the entire chain, from fundamental research to practical implementation."

  • Prof. Paul van der Heijden, till 2013 Rector Magnificus and President of the Executive Board at Leiden University:
    "Formulating a joint strategy instead of competing against each other enables us to lay a foundation for the financial scope we will need to be able to continue to play in the Champions League of the academic world. And ultimately researchers, students, the regional business community, economy and society will all benefit from this."


  • Dirk Jan van den Berg, President of the Executive Board of TU Delft:
    "The fact that we are located so closely together, that our academic staff complement each other, and have so much more to offer our students together, makes collaboration a logical step and provides real added value."



  • Speech delivered by Pauline van der Meer Mohr at the opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Speech delivered by Rector Magnificus Prof. Henk Schmidt marking the Dies Natalis (anniversary) of Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Speech delivered by Paul van der Heijden at the opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012, Leiden University
  • Speech delivered by Dirk Jan van den Berg at the opening of the Academic Year 2011-2012, TU Delft


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