Utrecht University focuses its research on four strategic themes:
Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

These four strategic research themes direct Utrecht University towards important contributions to societal issues such as health, governance, climate, environment and upbringing.

Dynamics of Youth

Dynamics of Youth researches the development of young people in a rapidly changing society. Who is at risk and how can we ensure the optimal conditions for individual and social development?

Find out more about the theme Dynamics of Youth.

Institutions for Open Societies

How do institutions – the formal and informal rules of human action – contribute to long-term prosperity, equality and democracy? 

Find out more about the theme Institutions for Open Societies.

Life Sciences

Infectious diseases (including those transmitted from animals to humans) and chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases pose major social problems that demand new medicines and technologies.

Find out more about the theme Life Sciences.


How can we come to a non-linear break away from current unsustainable practice? Utrecht University focusses on identifying and understanding transformative pathways in four thematic areas: Deep Decarbonisation, Food, City of the Future and Water and Climate.

Find out more about the theme Sustainability.