Universiteit Leiden

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‘There couldn’t be a better time to launch EUniWell’

On 17 November, the European academic community will be a partnership richer, when EUniWell, the European University of Well-Being, is launched. Within EUniWell, Leiden University and six other universities are working together on well-being challenge. Four Leiden researchers explain the benefits of this partnership for them.

Joachim Koops (Professor of Security Studies) will be on the panel at the official EUniWell launch

What is the value of EUniWell for the University and society?
‘EUniWell is an innovative, interdisciplinary and unique project that aims to become the first European University of Well-Being. It brings the medical sciences together with the social sciences, law, business studies and humanities to delve into issues of individual and societal well-being. It also takes an innovative look at the concept of well-being itself. This ranges from physical health to safety, security and human and environmental rights. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for individuals and the world around them, there couldn’t be a better time to launch EUniWell.’

Why would you encourage students and colleagues to get involved?
‘EUniWell brings together seven complementary universities: Leiden, Cologne, Florence, Birmingham, Nantes, Semmelweis (Hungary) and Linnaeus (Sweden). The initiative provides plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in and benefit from the exchange and learning opportunities. Seed funds for joint projects also offer excellent opportunities for students and staff to work collectively on a truly new model of European higher education.’

Follow the EUniWell launch

Watch the livestream of the EUniWell launch from 10.00 hrs. on 17 November. Before the official launch, there will also be an opening meeting in Leiden, where we explain how Leiden University can contribute to and benefit from EUniWell. Students and staff from Leiden University can take part.

Sjoerd Louwaars (Director of Innovation at PLNT) was involved in the EUniWell Student Design Challenge in January

What stikes you about the collaboration within EUniWell and what shape do you think it will take in the future?
‘Wow! The world has completely changed since the Challenge because the coronavirus pandemic came soon after. Two things have stuck with me. First the diversity of research fields, languages and cultures. This wealth of perspectives and experiences is a huge source of innovative ideas. There was also loads of positive energy: the participants were involved, curious and actively engaged in the EUniWell challenges. This means we’re doing something topical and relevant.’

How else can EUniWell help?
‘Together with the other EUniWell partners, we have started to exchange knowledge and experiences of entrepreneurial teaching and entrepreneurship. In the first phase we will get to know one another better online, so that we can meet up next year and start joint initiatives. Preferably in person of course!’

About EUniWell

EUniWell unites seven universities, alongside Leiden the universities of Birmingham, Cologne, Florence, Linneaus, Nantes and Budapest (Semmelweis), and aims to promote the well-being of individuals and society in a way that is grounded in research expertise, educational leadership and civic engagement. The universities thus hope to bring about meaningful and sustainable change for students, institutions and society as a whole.

Maria del Carmen Parafita Couto (linguistics researcher) studies bilingualism

Why is it important that Leiden is participating in EUniWell?
‘EUniWell provides a unique opportunity to compare multilingualism in the collaborating cities. It means that we at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) can conduct research at schools in Florence, Cologne and Birmingham.’

What would you have to say to students and staff who aren’t familiar with EUniWell?
‘EUniWell fosters intensive transnational exchange and collaboration, creating opportunities for European mutual cooperation networks and infrastructure. This enables researchers, lecturers and students to learn from and enhance one another’s expertise.’

Jan Adriaanse (Professor in Turnaround Management) is working on a joint ‘entrepreneurial university’ within EUniWell

Why do you think well-being and EUniWell in particular are so important?
‘It’s important that the University helps find solutions to societal problems. EUniWell can be an accelerator by bringing people together and creating “energy” in the internal and external environment.’

What is the value of EUniWell for Leiden University students and staff?
‘EUniWell gives you the chance to gain inspiration from students and staff abroad. Make good use of it is what I’d say. Take the initiative to knock on the door of other students and lecturers. In other words: be enterprising!’

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