The new Joint Regulations is supposed to result in further expansion of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) Alliance. The plans award the alliance an annual budget of 2.4 million euros, as well as its own dean. This position is emphatically referred to by its English title – dean – rather than the Dutch equivalent of decaan. As a result, the LDE dean will not be subject to the same legal provisions as a decaan, including the associated requirement to form a representative body for the joint entity.

This means the proposed partnership – and its budget of 2.4 million – would operate almost entirely beyond the ‘reach’ of the universities’ existing participation bodies. However, EUR’s University Council believes that LDE should remain subject to supervision. It proposes installing a dedicated LDE Council made up of two representatives each from Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam’s respective university councils. This plan still needs to be worked out in detail.


The rejection of the current LDE plans has created something of a predicament for EUR’s Executive Board, since the universities intended to launch the renewed collaboration on 1 January. Apparently they were already considering various candidates for the position of dean. Moreover, the university councils of Leiden and Delft had already greenlighted the expansion, although they too expressed doubts regarding the lack of representation. Leiden had submitted the plan to the university council for endorsement months before Rotterdam had.

Delft University of Technology, Leiden University and Erasmus University formed the LDE Alliance in 2012 to complement their research and education activities with the other institutions’ expertise. Among other things, the alliance enables students to attend different minors at the partnering universities. Various research centres are working under the LDE aegis, in the fields of sustainability, urban issues, port development, heritage, innovation in education, economic and financial governance, innovation for developing countries and medicine. The new strategy outlines the addition of several new centres.

The Executive Board said it will be withholding any comment on the situation until it has seen the details of the Council’s plan.