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How Radboud University makes a difference

Radboud University wants to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for everyone. We want to achieve that through high-quality research; good, personal and engaged education; contributions to social issues; in a safe and inclusive work and study environment that invites people to meet and collaborate; and on a solid financial foundation. This annual report shows how we achieved that in 2022.

In this chapter, we will first highlight our value creation model, which shows the resources and activities we use to work towards our strategic goals. We also want to emphasise here that our results can be achieved only in cooperation with a wide range of internal and external partners.

1. Value creation model

The value creation model illustrates how Radboud University plans to make a meaningful contribution to our students, our staff and the world as a whole. It shows which resources and activities can help us achieve our strategic goals, which together contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for everyone. The model is built on three pillars: input, activities, and output & results. Together they lead to impact.


Value creation begins and ends with our intellectual capital: the knowledge, methods and other insights we use for good education and research. In addition, we need a superbly equipped (digital) campus with good lecture halls, high-quality research facilities, and equipment and software that make (online) teaching and assessment possible. We also need staff and students who use their talents and qualities in education and research. In our networks with relationships and collaboration partners, we can develop, share and apply knowledge in the world around us. These networks and relationships are also important inputs for education, research and impact. Finally, funds are needed to finance the activities: a healthy financial situation makes our organisation future-proof and robust.


At the heart of the value creation model are our activities. Our strategy, A Significant Impact, underlines our commitment to be meaningful. We do this through education, research and impact. We support our activities through good governance, risk management and a robust organisation with a clear vision, mission and strategy.

Output and results

The education, research and impact activities related to the performance goals appear in various places in the form of key figures, referred to in this report as key performance indicators (KPIs). The outputs lead to results based on goals derived from our strategy. Because of this direct link to our mission, the performance goals form the basis for the annual report (see below). In this way, we contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for everyone.

2. Our contribution to a better world

What concrete results emerged from the value creation model in 2022? How did we contribute to a better world this year? And how can we show that our education and research are meaningful, both globally and in our immediate environment and on the campus itself? We will discuss this in the various chapters of this annual report.

Education: more than study credits

Radboud University trains its students to be critically-minded scholars capable of taking on responsible positions that make a positive contribution to society. In 2022, this ambition partly took shape through efforts to include sustainability in all our curricula. The changes to education necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic revealed how the use of digital resources can add value to education, and also the added value of education on campus. Over the past year, deliberate choices have been made about the shape of education on campus. In this chapter, we will look at the most important aspects of our education.

Our research: driven by curiosity

We conduct high-quality and internationally accredited academic research with a focus on collaboration and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge. To ensure that this continues, we also kept academic freedom and curiosity high on our agenda in 2022. In this chapter, we focus on developments in our research, reflect on the achievements of our university’s scholars and include some research efforts that explicitly contribute to social challenges.

Contributing to social issues: our impact

Thanks to our wide range of scholars, the university can respond to many relevant issues, especially when scholars from various disciplines work together to shed light on them. We try to contribute through our research, but also by being meaningful to society in other ways. In 2022, we again launched various initiatives to give substance to these efforts. The chapter about our impact presents a selection of initiatives, collaborations and innovative projects.

Inclusive and committed to all staff and students

As an inclusive university, our goal is to have all staff and students inspire and challenge each other, supported by continuous personal development. This presented everyone with additional challenges in this second coronavirus year, and it also led to new sustainable insights about working and studying after the pandemic. In 2022, we sought to promote the wellbeing of staff and students, work for equal opportunities for all and create a safe environment. This chapter shows how the university is delivering on these goals.

The added value of a (digital) campus that invites you to work and study

Every year, we take steps to make the campus an example of a green, sustainable and diverse environment. We do this by building increasingly more sustainable new buildings, by working towards greater biodiversity on the green campus, and by promoting sustainable behaviour. Our (digital) campus should be a sustainable and safe space that is conducive to studying, working, collaboration and interaction.

3. Our sustainability programme

At the request of Radboud university medical center and Radboud University, Sustainalize conducted a materiality analysis. This was done to gain insight into the topics that – based on expert research and according to our stakeholders – are important to tackle first in the joint sustainability policy for 2021–2025.

This analysis resulted in 11 material themes for Radboud University:

  • Social impact of research

  • Sustainable buildings

  • Waste and circularity

  • Healthy and vital staff

  • Inclusive culture

  • Sustainable procurement

  • Energy management

  • Sustainable mobility

  • Student wellbeing

  • Sustainable catering

  • Sustainability integrated in education

All 11 themes are included in the sustainability programme and are linked to objectives and activities. Which themes are given priority is decided periodically in consultation with the Executive Board and the Sustainability Programme Board. In addition, a joint implementation programme has been established with Radboud university medical center regarding the material themes.

One goal of the sustainability programme is to report better and more transparently about our impact on social and environmental goals. This is in line with the recent European Commission proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

In 2022, key targets and KPIs for most of the material themes were listed on a dashboard. This helps improve the way we measure our progress, and drive improvement. Some of these KPIs are included in the Management Information Portal and in this annual report. In 2023, the dashboard will also be available to a wider audience on the website.

4. Together with our stakeholders

As an educational institution with a social mission, we are at the heart of society. Our network of stakeholders stretches across the full breadth of society, from far across the border to within the municipality of Nijmegen. These stakeholders – funders of our research, governments, scientific institutes and the business community – expect us to make our values visible.

Based on impactful themes, we regularly explore who might be valuable partners for us. Academic freedom, commitment, readiness for dialogue and expertise are important considerations here. We strive to share issues, find allies for initiatives, build trust and create added-value solutions for the short and long term. All university departments contribute to this in dialogue with external parties such as suppliers, knowledge institutions, regulators and civil society organisations.