About IOS

Security in open societies

Within the strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies (IOS) 600 scientists and scholars from four faculties (Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Economics, Governance and Organisation, and Geosciences) are addressing the question of how we can deal with the challenges of our time.

Are existing formal and informal institutions able to cope with challenges such as growing socio-economic inequality, the power of 'big tech', the climate crisis, terrorism, discrimination and distrust in government and science? And, if current institutions fail, how can they be adapted and improved to better contribute to open and resilient societies? Within IOS, scientists from Utrecht University work together with social partners on this issue because only through joint efforts and constructive dialogue can we develop knowledge and solutions for the challenges of our time. 

Utrecht University and interdisciplinary research

At IOS, we bundle expertise from various fields such as economics, history, public administration, culture, law, sociology, social psychology, language and communication, ethics, innovation studies, and geography join forces to contribute to the development of open and resilient societies around the globe. 

This is of great importance in order to respect human rights, as well as for a society’s ability to absorb shocks and to generate sustainable prosperity.

Area of expertise

Institutions for Open Societies is one of the four areas of expertise (strategic themes) of Utrecht University.