Strength through knowledge: Rotterdam and Erasmus University refresh partnership

Benefit more from each other’s knowledge, encourage students to help resolve issues in the city and work towards a more pronounced joint international profile. These are the goals set out in the renewed partnership agreement signed by Erasmus University and the Municipality of Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam, recently signed the renewed partnership agreement, which will run until the end of 2021.

This agreement further strengthens the ties between Rotterdam and its university. It outlines a further transfer of knowledge between the two partners and more intensive collaboration in the international positioning of both the city and the university.

Sharing knowledge
The key focus of the renewed agreement is interaction between academic knowledge and knowledge acquired in the field. This interaction is necessary to make the city and the port future-proof. Metropolitan issues and ‘inclusive’ economic growth are key research themes at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). 

The renewed agreement will invest further in the initiation of new collaborative projects in 2017 and 2018. In addition, Erasmus University will serve as the Municipality of Rotterdam’s preferred source of scientific knowledge.

EUR researchers and municipal policy officers will be working together in Knowledge Workshops and other partnership programmes on themes like quality of life at the neighbourhood level, talent development, Smart Port, behaviour, health, the employment market, food and urban big data. These programmes can contribute to the resilience of the city and its inhabitants. 
For example, last year, the Knowledge Workshops, which were launched in 2010, were involved in Rotterdam’s new education policy. In addition, the partners developed a different perspective on public perception of safety, gained a clearer picture of health discrepancies in the city and gave more systematic thought to the application of urban big data.

It was agreed to involve students more intensively in the development of new solutions for metropolitan issues. This also extends to the local implementation of the nation-wide City Deal programme, Making Knowledge, in which both EUR and the Municipality take part. Among other things, the partners have agreed to ensure that ‘Food for the Future’, an initiative that was launched last year, becomes eligible for inclusion. 

Since the very start of the collaboration – to encourage students to concern themselves with issues faced by the city and the port – the partners have jointly presented the Rotterdam Thesis Award to the master student with the best and most relevant thesis for the city of Rotterdam. 

And finally, another important element in the renewed agreement is a new commitment to the parties’ joint international positioning. Rotterdam wants to attract more citizens with a higher education, while EUR invests in the retention of more international talents. The opening of the Erasmus University College in 2013 and the brand alliance ‘Make it happen’ (which was launched in 2015 together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Rotterdam Partners) are examples of collective activities that contribute to the partners’ international profiling.

The partners have agreed to make a stronger investment in joint applications for European research grants. This will allow Rotterdam to further develop as an international centre of important research into the issues faced by today’s cities. In addition, the agreements outline the appointment of a delegation to represent Rotterdam at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels.

Mayor Aboutaleb: “The agreement continues in the line of the partnership launched in 2010, when the city and the university officially decided to move forward together. Both parties like the results so far! Over the past few years, our collaboration has strengthened the ties between the city and the university. It has become easier for the Municipality to access relevant scientific knowledge, while the City in turn can supply useful expertise and data for education and research.”

Kristel Baele, President of the Executive Board: “I am delighted that Rotterdam and the University are forming increasingly close ties, to effectively prepare the city and its residents for the future. Researchers and students are motivated to contribute to this enterprising city through their education and research. If we furthermore work together to create a strong international profile, this will raise Rotterdam’s appeal as a location for talented individuals to work and live.”


More information

Marjolein Kooistra, press officer Erasmus Unversity Rotterdam,  +31 10 4082135 |


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