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Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

VU University Amsterdam (Dutch: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) or VU is a university in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, founded in 1880. VU is one of two large, publicly funded research universities in the city, the other being the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

The literal translation of the Dutch name Vrije Universiteit is “Free [as in liberated] University”. Both within and outside the University, the institution is commonly referred to as “the VU” (pronounced somewhat like ‘vew’ as in ‘new’). In English, therefore, the university uses the name “VU University”.

Though founded as a private, faith-based institution, VU has received government funding on a parity basis with public universities since 1970. Over the past decades, VU has transformed from a small, Protestant institution into a broad, research-intensive university attended by a wide variety of students of diverse backgrounds.

The university is located on a compact urban campus in the southern Buitenveldert neighbourhood of Amsterdam and adjacent to the modern Zuidas business district.

In 2012, VU had about 24,500 registered students, most of whom were full-time students. Measured in FTE, the university had 2,250 faculty members and researchers, who were supported by 1,500 administrative, clerical and technical employees. The university’s annual endowment for 2013 is around € 450 million. About three quarters of this endowment is government funding, the remainder is made up of tuition fees, research grants, and private funding.

The emblem of the university is the griffin. The position of its wings symbolizes the freedom in the university’s name: freedom from both state and church.

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Psychedelic experiences are deeply tied to mystical and counterculture ideas that are often at odds with science. Daniel Merino, DeepDream

Psychedelics researchers balance trippyness with scientific rigor after history of legal and cultural controversy – podcast

Today’s psychedelics researchers still have to deal with the fallout of the decadeslong freeze on research. Listen to ‘The Conversation Weekly’ podcast.
Professor Julian May examining food supplies in the home of Brenda Siko, who runs an unregistered early childhood development centre in Worcester’s Mandela Square informal settlement. Ashraf Hendricks

Food security ‘experts’ don’t have all the answers: community knowledge is key

A ‘learning journey’ research process exposed a broad group of participants to local realities of the food system and childcare in a small town.
Fungi make up a small but important part of gut microbiomes. Mogana Das Murtey and Patchamuthu Ramasamy via Wikimedia Commons

Fungal microbiome: Whether mice get fatter or thinner depends on the fungi that live in their gut

Fungi are a small but important part of the gut microbiome. A new study in mice shows that how much weight mice gain on a processed food diet depends on this fungal microbiome.

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