Erasmus University


Named after Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, this university is ranked among the top business schools in Europe.


The university

  • Established in 1913 to bring high education to the industrial world port city of Rotterdam.
  • Social impact as the central university ambition. The university plays a central role in the post-industrial transitions of Rotterdam.
  • High percentage of non-traditional students, especially many first-generation students and students with a migration background.

The city

  • Historically developed as a harbour city (until today one of the world’s largest port cities), but especially since the 1980s going through a rapid phase of development, bringing reform to the structure of the labour market, economic differentiation, restructuration of the housing stock, and a growing role of knowledge-intensive economies
  • A truly superdiverse city, with 52% of the population having a first- or second-generation migration background (mostly labour migrants connected to the industrial character of the city)
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Erasmus University and UNIC

Erasmus University Rotterdam is strongly committed to lead the UNIC Alliance. As a truly superdiverse university in a truly post-industrial city, EUR strongly identifies with the other partner universities and foresees great strategic value in working together with these universities. The initiative to start to build the UNIC Alliance started 1,5 year ago in Rotterdam. The mean reasons for Erasmus University Rotterdam to join the UNIC Alliance are:

  • Jointly setting a European role model for university-city collaboration.

Together we can set a role model for how the European Universities of the future play a leading role in shaping urban resilience and addressing the big urban challenges of our times. Our university has put creating a positive societal impact at the heart of the university’s mission and strategy and has developed a close partnership with the city of Rotterdam. Our impact on urban resilience will be far greater when we can learn from and work together with other universities in cities facing similar challenges and opportunities of post-industrial transitions; it will make our students better change-leaders and it will bring in new knowledge and expertise that will help our city to become more resilient. For instance, the UNIC CityLabs will bring in a unique European dimension to the already existing CityLabs in Rotterdam.

  • Unlocking unique mobility opportunities for our students and staff.

We believe that our students and our staff will be more inclined to engage in various forms of mobility when clear mobility paths have been carved out with universities that operate in similar settings facing often similar challenges and opportunities. Our students and staff are likely to identify better and more with the transitions that other post-industrial European cities face, than with other non-traditional cities in the Netherlands. This European experience will also benefit their role as change leaders for the urban transitions in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Europe.

  • Jointly setting a European role model for inclusive universities

Together we can set a mode for the inclusive universities of Europe’s future. EUR is unique in the Netherlands for its high percentage of non-traditional students and its superdiverse local population. UNIC partners share these characteristics and the commitment to make mobility and our educational programmes ever more inclusive. This provides us with a unique opportunity to work together with and learn from other universities to provide excellent higher education to student populations with relatively many non-traditional students.

The mission and ambitions of the UNIC Alliance are completely in line with the EUR Strategy 2024. The EUR Strategy 2024 is based on the following principles:

  • Engagement with society
  • World citizenship
  • Connecting the university with society
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Open-mindedness

To realise this strategy the following steps are defined which will be used at our own campus and at the UNIC campus to combine the EUR identity with the identity of our partners in order to make the most of our interdisciplinary potential:

  • Fostering our societal impact identity
  • Ensuring our education is future-oriented
  • Embedding excellent academic research in society
  • Taking responsibility on sustainable development
  • Investing in our people for the future
  • Stepping up our professional services.
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Aims and Activities

Erasmus University Rotterdam brings a number of aims and activities that are directly relevant to the future activities of the UNIC Alliance:

  • Leadership of IMISCOE, the largest European network of scholars in the area of migration and integration. EUR is coordinating the IMISCOE Research Network. This provides EUR with access to an almost unlimited pool of academic research and expertise on migration and integration. Models of practise and experiences will be directly shared and opened up to a larger research network. This is a clear added value for the UNIC Alliance.
  • EUR Diversity and Inclusion Office. EUR strongly feels that Diversity and Inclusion provides added value to any organisation. Our dedicated Diversity and Inclusion Office has experience with a comprehensive review of research to identify challenges that need to be addressed and also to identify best practices in the area of diversity and inclusion. The key factor is reaching a collective responsibility for, and understanding of, diversity and inclusion.
  • Close Partnership with the City. Erasmus University Rotterdam has developed a very close partnership with the City of Rotterdam. This has already led to the establishment of various Urban Knowledge Labs. This will provide a model upon which to build the UNIC CityLabs.
  • Focus on societal impact. EUR has as its official university mission to create ‘positive societal impact.’ It is also developing a Design School that should become one of the world’s leading institutes on how to have ‘impact by design’, as a part of research as well as teaching.
  • Educational innovation. EUR has been organizing numerous activities to boost innovation in education. It has established Learning & Innovation teams in all EUR Faculties and has launched  a masterplan on to converge impact and education.
  • Membership of various European innovation platforms. EUR is a member of numerous European platforms that give access to new ideas and instruments, as well as to provide platforms for dissemination of the models of practice that UNIC seeks to establish. This includes the European Association of Social Sciences and Humanities Universities, the European Universities Association, the European Universities Foundation and COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning).

Last but not least Erasmus University Rotterdam has been very active in the Erasmus + program and is involved in more than 20 Erasmus + projects (Knowledge Alliance, Jean Monnet, Mobility, Strategic Partnership, Sport) and wants to further disseminate and use the knowledge and expertise gathered in these projects in this European Universities Alliance. The extensive knowledge and expertise in the coordination, management, dissemination and sustainability of Erasmus + and other EU funded projects will be used by Erasmus University Rotterdam in WP1 Management and WP 6 Dissemination and Sustainability.