At the beginning of June, Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities and NL Space Campus launched their joint programme Space for Science and Society. The ultimate goal? To stimulate education, research and innovations in the field of aerospace and to achieve scientific, technological and societal breakthroughs.
The development of the programme marks the next phase in the successful collaboration between Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities (LDE) and NL Space Campus. Space for Science and Society confirms the importance of their own cooperation as well as collaborations with their partners in the space sector, such as ESA-ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre), the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), the Galileo Reference Center, the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) and the sector organisation SpaceNed.
The programme also puts a spotlight on the strength and potential of Zuid-Holland’s space knowledge and innovation ecosystem. By strengthening this space ecosystem, the initiators want to develop the NL Space Campus as a European space hub, together with this strong space cluster.
Leiden-Delft-Erasmus and NL Space Campus, in collaboration with many stakeholders, have analysed the specific steps needed to achieve their ambitious goals. Based on this analysis, they have divided their joint programme into three pillars: in the ‘Community & Synergy’ pillar, LDE and NL Space Campus are equal partners; the ‘Education and Research’ pillar is the primary responsibility of the LDE universities, with NL Space Campus acting as a partner; the ‘Campus Development’ pillar is the primary responsibility of NL Space Campus, with LDE acting as a partner.
The main goal of the Community & Synergy pillar is to strengthen the space cluster in Zuid-Holland through community building. This community comprises all those who are involved in the field of space at LDE Universities and ESA ESTEC, with NL Space Campus as the facilitating entity. ESA ESTEC and LDE collaborate as knowledge partners and aim to strengthen the community with important partners in the ecosystem such as SRON and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and in the business community.
The recently appointed LDE Liaison Officer Space Campus, Peter Batenburg, works closely together with NL Space Campus to bring all these groups together. Other measures include the creation of space portals for LDE Universities and NL Space Campus and the provision of support for network building with (digital) events.
Part of this community building are the new websites that bth partners recently have launched.
Project and knowledge development
The second objective of the Community & Synergy pillar is to stimulate project development, space research and space knowledge development. LDE and NL Space Campus aim to support innovation processes and promote cooperation between educational and knowledge institutions, public organisations and companies in the Netherlands and across Europe. Furthermore they will be organising webinars and workshops like the Curiosity series. This quarterly event is organised by ESA, NL Space Campus and LDE universities and will bring together researchers from ESA, the universities and the space sector to work together on future of space research related challenges.
LDE space education
Space Education involves the revision and further development of university education. Leiden-Delft-Erasmus already offers world-class degree programmes in various space-related disciplines. Leiden’s Astronomy and Air and Space Law degree programmes, for example, are highly regarded internationally, as are Delft’s Aerospace Engineering degree programme and the various Space Master’s programmes.
LDE also offers space-related education in other disciplines. For example, the Delft faculties affiliated with the Delft Space Institute (DSI) conduct research and offer courses in the fields of robotics, distributed systems and remote sensing.
The three universities want to expand the range of programs by adding more interdisciplinary space education. Collaboration with de space sector via the NL Space Campus is a central element of the plans. As part of the Space for Science & Society programme the following educational programmes will be developed:
- LDE Space-minor programme
- Joint Interdisciplinary Projects, in which students from the partner universities work together on assignments from the space sector.
- Joint Space Master programmes
- The LDE NL Space Campus Summer School.
The first edition of the LDE NL Space Campus Summer School will take place from August 16th to 20th. LDE students can now subscribe to the summer school.
Text: Paul Kattestaart