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The Academic Life


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Admission Requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an honours elective in the Honours College programme. There are limited spots available for second-year and third-year non honours students. Admission will be based on motivation.


In a world where research should be excellent, what are the current responsibilities and societal roles of research? What is the relationship between universities, markets, and civil society today? And what about the contemporary political economy of academic research environments and academic knowledge production?

With both interactive lectures, pitches, reflections and debates this course aims to increase awareness among students of the changing role of academic knowledge and academics in our current society.

When people are thinking about entering academia usually the research aspects of the job are only considered; Do I want to do research and what kind of research? However, there is much more to it than that. Academia also involves applying for funding, reviewing and participating in the public debate. Although university tries to prepare students for academia, these are the aspects about which students are hardly taught.

Course Objectives

  • To acquire an understanding of academic science as a profession within a broader institutional ‘eco-system’ (e.g. universities, publishers, funders, evaluators)

  • To understand recent trends and changes in the national and international organization of academic science

  • To gain an appreciation of debates and controversies around the current organization of scientific research, rewards, and careers

  • To critically consider the strengths and limitations of proposed alternatives to problems identified in the science system


Eight Tuesdays (Feb-March-April-May) from 16-18h.

Tue 5 Feb class 1
Tue 12 Feb class 2
Tue 19 Feb class 3
Tue 5 March class 4
Tue 12 March class 5
Tue 19 March class 6
Tue 26 March class 7
Tue 2 April class 8


Faculty of Social Sciences, CWTS, Willem Einthoven Building, Leiden


Session 1: Seminar ‘Credibility Cycle’
Topics: Knowledge production process and various steps in the credibility cycle
Instructors: Dhr. Dr. T.N. van Leeuwen; Mw. Dr. I. Meijer; Mw. Dr. I.C.M. van der Weijden

Session 2: Seminar ‘Funding of Research’
Topics: Types of funding; national and EU funding; research programming and priorities, agenda setting
Instructors: Dhr. Dr. T.N. van Leeuwen

Session 3: Seminar ‘Doing Research’
Topics: Research ethics & integrity; sharing and shared norms; validity, reliability and objectivity
Instructors: Dhr. Dr. T.N. van Leeuwen

Session 4: Seminar ‘Organisation of the work environment’
Topics: Research management; academic leadership
Instructors: Mw. Dr. I. Meijer; Mw. Dr. I.C.M. van der Weijden

Session 5: Seminar ‘Gender and Diversity’
Topics: Implicit bias; gender differences in job activities, performance and mobility
Instructors: Mw. Dr. I. Meijer; Mw. Dr. I.C.M. van der Weijden

Session 6: Seminar ‘Communication and Evaluation Cultures’
Topics: Publication practices; diversity in communication; open science & open access; evaluation cultures
Instructors: Dhr. Dr. T.N. van Leeuwen

Session 7: Seminar ‘Evaluation Frameworks’
Topics: Evaluation practices, models and protocols; academic quality and societal relevance
Instructors: Dhr. Dr. T.N. van Leeuwen; Mw. Dr. I. Meijer

Session 8: Debate with external members organized by students
Instructors: Dhr. Dr. T.N. van Leeuwen; Mw. Dr. I. Meijer;; Mw. Dr. I.C.M. van der Weijden

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Seminars: 7 interactive seminars of 2 hours (14 hours)

  • Interactive debate of 2 hours

  • Literature reading & practical work: 8 hours p/week (64 hours)

  • Assignments & organization of final debate of 2 hours: (62 hours)

Assessment Method

  • 33% Participation assessed continually through participation in seminar and structured activities such as a pitch

  • 33% Six reflection papers to a session’s reading(s) of 500 words

  • 33% Final Debate

Students must pass all components in order to complete this class succesfully.

Please note: Attendance is mandatory.

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading List

Various book chapters, scientific articles, and policy documents


Enrolling in this course is possible from Tuesday November 6th until Thursday November 15th 23.59 hrs through the Honours Academy, via this link. It is not necessary to register in uSis.


Dr. I.C.M. van der Weijden