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The Netherlands
Erasmus University Rotterdam (project coordinator)
Founded in 1913, Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is currently one of the biggest universities of the Netherlands with a student population of 23,000 and a research community of circa 1,400. The scientific research at Erasmus University has a strong social orientation, drawing inspiration from the issues facing the metropolis Rotterdam. It is deeply embedded in international research networks and one of Erasmus University’s priorities is to recruit and train top academic talent. Socially relevant research is increasingly carried out by multidisciplinary teams. The underlying areas of expertise can be grouped into four domains in which the leading research conducted by Erasmus University can be seen: Wealth, Health, Governance and Culture.

EUR has a large global network of academic partnerships, a strategic alliance with Leiden University and Delft University of Technology and a unique collaboration with Rotterdam city and port. The university has a consistent top-100 position in most major universities rankings. On the lively, modern campus, students and scholars of more than 100 nationalities are constantly encouraged to develop their talents and meet their ambitions. According to the “New York Times Global Employability Survey”, EUR delivers the best employable alumni of all Dutch universities.

The EUR Strategic Agenda has established ‘Internationalisation’ as a top priority. A large part of our education and research is internationally oriented. Faculties and institutes of the university have a strong international focus, offer international curricula, and have a diverse and international student and staff population and international partnerships. With the launch of the Strategic Programme Internationalisation Education in 2014, EUR allocated resources to develop the internationalization of its education, faculties and institutions to realize the overall EUR objective to be a world class, internationally driven university, leading in its field and contributing to the quality of society.

Our graduate schools

In order to nurture its research excellence within EUR, the Erasmus Graduate Schools play a key role on the research pathway for PhD candidates. EUR has five graduate schools:
1.Graduate School in Life Sciences
2.Tinbergen Institute (one of Europe’s leading graduate schools and research institutes in economics, econometrics and finance)
3.Erasmus Research Institute of Management (Doctoral Programme in Business and Management)
4.Erasmus Graduate School of Law
5.Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities


Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH)
The Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) has been formally established in September 2012 and is a joint venture of four faculties: the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, the Faculty of Philosophy and the International Institute of Social Studies. By facilitating doctoral education to over 350 PhD candidates by approximately 200 FTE research staff members in more than 10 academic fields the Graduate School prepares and trains doctoral candidates to become highly qualified, autonomous and leading researchers and skilled professionals. In this context, the underlying Graduate SPIRIT project, with its strong focus on interdisciplinarity and diversity in graduate education, will contribute to the further development of the research training and the professionalization of the staff members and the Graduate School.


Team members

Prof.dr. Liesbet van Zoonen Prof.dr. Liesbet van Zoonen is Popular Culture and Dean of the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) at Erasmus Univeristy Rotterdam (EUR). Professor Liesbet van Zoonen is also the academic director of the Centre for Big Open and Linked Data (BOLD) Cities. Professor Van Zoonen was trained as a political scientist, and wrote her PhD in 1991 about the media (and the women’s movement). Ever since, she wrote about (new) media, citizenship and identity. Her work currently is focused on data and cities. She hold additional functions as chair of the supervisory boards of Waag Society and ClickNL, and is an appointed member of the Dutch Council for the Arts.

Drs. Jan Nagtzaam Jan Nagtzaam is a sociologist, with a specialisation in labour and organisational issues. He is part time policy advisor to the Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam and manager of Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and Humanities. He has conducted several feasibility studies and developed programme scenarios at EUR. In 2010 he developed a business case and a blueprint for the structure, mission and objectives of the current joint graduate school for four faculties and nine research areas.

Since December 2005 he has been policy advisor for educational and research affairs and deputy director of the Faculty of Social Sciences at EUR. Within the task clusters education and research the main results are the preparation, implementation and evaluation of educational programmes. He has played a key role in conducting market research for new business ideas, in organizing and reporting on quality assessments and preparing the allocation of faculty education budgets. Furthermore, he was involved in developing and organizing an Honours Program, the introduction of new didactical and small-group teaching forms, the revision and implementation of a student evaluation system and the introduction of minors. His tasks on research affairs included the management of external assessment of  research groups, the preparation of research budgets, provision of management information and governance support to the dean and the management team.

Vanessa Abel, MA Vanessa holds a Master of Arts in Law and a Bachelor in Political Science. For over ten years, she has worked for public entities and a ‘big four’ company as a lawyer in the field of socio-economic and educational affairs and business law.  Since 2014, Vanessa has been working as a project manager on a wide range of innovative educational and city development projects, including a life long learning project, NEET programs, digital awareness and citizen participation in the Smart City on national and EU level. As a project manager in the Graduate Spirit project, Vanessa will bring her team-oriented approach and will focus on achieving the outlined objectives.

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