Athena Institute

The Athena Institute is a research and education department at the Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Athena’s mission is to scientifically study and design interfaces between science and society, with the aim to:

  • Increase academic and societal understanding of key factors in innovation processes.
  • Enrich science with increased societal legitimacy and improved research utilization.
  • Improve societal awareness of how innovations may benefit the sustainability, equity and fairness of societies.


It is beyond doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic made much of the world end up in crisis. In an attempt to get beyond the crisis in a fair, equitable and responsible way, a large set of types of knowledge and value articulations are required. On researchers from the Athena Institute and colleagues explore collective ways to unravel this global crisis using a transdisciplinary approach. 

As part of this initiative, there will be weekly webinars, addressing various themes. If you are interested to learn more or to take part in the dialogue, please join! For an overview and more information, visit:


Athena focuses on science and technology developments that are specifically – but not exclusively – related to health and life sciences. Specific domains of our research in the health and life sciences are: neuro sciences, ecogenomics, mental health, maternal health, sustainability sciences, health sciences, global health and biotechnology.

Our strength is that we not only focus on the analysis of problems and innovations, but also develop methodologies for knowledge integration (reflection and learning). This knowledge and expertise is rather unique in the academic world. Our very good/excellent assessment of our master program (MPA) was amongst others based on the strong problem-solving and knowledge integration focus. 

For easy navigation and more information, see the selection menu on the right (on desktop) or below (on mobile):

  • You can find more on the background, vision and research objective of the Athena institute under ‘Background’.
  • Under ‘Research’ you can find more information on the research program of the Athena Institute. This includes the key research question and the four domains of Athena’s research programme.
  • Under ‘Publications’ you’ll find a list of the top 5 most influential publications, along with a link to the entire database of publications. Also, downloads of some of Athena’s most recent publications that are not otherwise accessible online are made available here.
  • Under ‘Projects’, a list of current and past projects are listed, with links to more information.
  • Teaching’ will bring you to the educational programmes provided by the Athena institute. This includes the master programme of management policy analysis and entrepreneurship in the health and life sciences, as well as specialisations.
  • News and Events’ depicts recent news articles about events and publications.
  • OWL Colloquium depicts the upcoming qolloquium, its date and location, Also an archive of past colloquiums is made available.
  • Athena Science Shop shows information considering the collaboration between the Athena Science Shop, InSPIRES project and the Living Knowledge Network.
  • Staff A-Z’ and ‘Contact’ shows a list of current staff and means of contact. Personal research pages are made available through links.