Learn how to raise funds for interdisciplinary research

How do you secure funding for interdisciplinary research? The Young Academy Groningen is organizing an ERC lunch on this topic on Wednesday, February 7. 

Speakers including Gema Ocana Noriega, Herman de Jong, Petra Rudolf, Casper van der Kooi, and Lisan Assen will discuss national and European funding available for such research and share tips for successful applications.

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and share your experiences with other young researchers. The free lunch event will take place from 12 to 2 p.p. at the House of Connections. Registration is necessary.

Dutch

Students rooms are artists’ stage during Stukafest

A new edition of Stukafest is planned on Thursday, May 2. Fifteen Groningen student rooms in the city centre will serve as the stage for artists and musicians. Their offerings range from stand-up comedy to theatre, poetry, and a drag show. Afterwards, underground pop club Vera will host the afterparty. The festival relies entirely on volunteers and lasts from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., divided into different sets. Tickets are on sale via the Stukafest website..

Collective labour agreement negotiations at an impasse

The collective labour agreement negotiations between the unions and the universities have reached an impasse. The unions are asking for a 4.3 percent salary increase and an additional 150 euros on top of each salary scale. They also want agreements on reducing workload, enhancing social safety, providing permanent contracts for structural work, and protecting doctoral candidates, tenure trackers, and postdocs in case of illness and absence. According to the unions, the universities themselves have barely provided input and 'declared 80 percent of the proposals non-negotiable'. The unions requested substantiation and have since received it. On April 24, there will be online briefing sessions by the unions regarding this matter.

Story by UKrant and Sikkom nominated for Noorderpersprijs

The joint production of UKrant and Sikkom, ‘We already give you food, do you want money too?’, about the poor treatment of student workers in the Groningen hospitality industry, has been nominated for the Noorderpersprijs 2023. The article shows how international students in particular, who often have nowhere else to work, are exploited by their bosses. They are scolded, underpaid, forced to work extra-long hours, and sometimes physically threatened. The Noorderpers jury is chaired by professor Bart Brouwers of the UG's journalism master. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 22 in the Groninger Forum.     

Pub quiz to get students to vote for university elections

To draw attention to the university council and faculty council student elections (13-17 May), the UG is organising a bilingual pub quiz with prizes. Questions will not only be about the elections, but also about other topics, such as pop music. You can vote during the break. The quiz will take place on May 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. at three different locations: the Bruinszaal in the Academy building, the Plaza in the Duisenberg building and Equator, also on Zernike Campus. Those who study or work at Campus Fryslân, will be taken by bus from Leeuwarden to Groningen.

UG looks at participating in Wintergoud in city centre

The UG wants to explore participating in Wintergoud, Groningen’s new winter programme through which the municipality and various city organisations want to bring more life to the city centre. The ice rink will return to the Grote Markt and there will be a Ferris wheel. The Winterwelvaart festival (which has so far taken place at the Hoge der A and Lage der A) will also be extended towards the city centre. Dinie Bouwman of the personnel section wondered why the UG is not participating during a university council meeting. ‘The House of Connections at the Grote Markt is a great attraction,’ she says. ‘The UG could let researchers present their work. We could even lure people with hot chocolate.’ ‘That’s a good tip,’ responded rector magnificus Jaquelien Scherpen. ‘I didn’t know about this, but we will definitely think about it.’

International student can vote in Netherlands in EU elections

For the European Parliament elections in June, EU students can decide whether they want to vote in the Netherlands or in their country of origin. To vote in the Netherlands if you aren’t a citizen, you need to fill in a form (in Dutch) declaring you’re not going to participate in the elections in any other country, and deliver it to the municipality by April 23 with a copy of your ID.  If you change your mind and decide to vote in your country of origin after all, you have to cancel your registration by April 23 as well.

Unions want 4.3 percent pay rise

In the collective labour agreement negotiations with the universities, which are set to begin on March 27, the unions are aiming for a 4.3 percent pay rise and an increase of 150 euros to every salary scale. This would mean that lower scales would grow relatively faster than higher scales. Additionally, the salary scales should automatically adjust annually to price increases. The unions want agreements on reducing workload, improving social safety, and creating a diverse work environment. Further items on the wish list include: making structural work equivalent to a permanent contract, granting full-time contracts to lecturers who ask for them, and providing better protection for PhD candidates, tenure-trackers, and postdocs in case of illness or absence.

Former rector Cisca Wijmenga is new chair of NWO committee

Cisca Wijmenga, the first female rector of the University of Groningen (2019-2023), has been appointed as the new chair of the Permanent Committee on Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure (PC-GWI). This decision was made by the board of directors of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Wijmenga is a professor of human genetics at the University of Groningen and the University Medical Centre Groningen. In 2015, she was awarded a Spinoza Prize, also known as the Dutch Nobel Prize.

Journalists’ union concerned about censorship at university magazines

The Dutch journalists’ union NVJ and the Dutch Association for Science Journalism and Communication are concerned about rising censorship at independent university media. Increasingly, they say, these media experience pressure from university boards not to publish critical articles. This happened last year at several institutes, including TU Eindhoven. There, the editor-in-chief was fired by the university, after which the magazine blacked out their website in protest. The associations call on universities to respect the independence of editorial boards, especially when they are critical of their own institute.

Formal training for study advisors

Starting next year, study advisors will receive training before they take up their role. This is part of the new action plan for student wellbeing which will be discussed in the university council next week. Currently, there is no formal education for study advisors. They do attend various training sessions, but there is no clear foundation. At the same time, the university acknowledges their essential role as the link between students and the academic programme. Therefore, the faculties of Arts, Science and Engineering, and Economics and Business started a course in September to improve this situation. It is scheduled to be evaluated, adjusted, and implemented at other faculties over the coming summer. From then on, the programme will be offered annually or biennially.

41 incidents reported to introductory periods committee

Last year, student and study associations reported 41 incidents to Advisory Committee for Introductory Periods (ACI). That's the same number as in 2022. In seventeen cases, it involved an accident. Arguments and fights occurred seven times. Two reports concerned sexual misconduct. The ACI observes that the associations themselves handle the incidents well. However, it notes that reports from study and sports associations are lagging behind – two came from a study association and five from a sports club. The ACI therefore aims to better educate this group of associations about the importance of reporting incidents.

GSb angry about excluding students from mandatory permanent lease

Groningen student union GSb is indignant that caretaker minister Hugo de Jonge (Housing) excludes students from a law ending temporary lease agreements. 'Students already have a precarious position in the housing market, and now this', says chairman Ken Hesselink. As of July 1, landlords are no longer allowed to offer temporary contracts. The planned exception for lease agreements for international students turned out to be legally unfeasible, prompting De Jonge to choose to exclude all students. 'There is no valid reason for that', says Hesselink. 'This seems like a repetition of the energy allowance debacle.'

Seven new members for Young Academy

The Young Academy Groningen (YAG) has elected seven new members. They are Defne Abur (speech technology), Daphne Brandenburg (moral psychology), Ole Gmelin (developmental psychology), Dina Maniar (polymer chemistry), Björn Mitzinneck (collaboration in sustainability transition), Nynke Vellinga (autonomous mobility) and Thom de Vries (human resource management).  The YAG is a group of at least thirty scientists who completed a PhD less than ten years ago. The new members are committed to cooperation between research areas, promoting science to society and diversity and inclusion within the university. They will be officially installed in October for a five-year period.

Film prize for philosophy student

Groningen philosophy student Okki Poortvliet has won the Noordster for best film made in the North at the International Film Festival in Assen. It comes with 1,000 euros in prize money. Her film Over het Wildrooster (Behind the wildlife grid) is about three people who visit the woods between the villages of Odoorn and Exloo every day. Poortvliet shows the world behind the wildlife grid and asks: is this world different? More peaceful? The jury called the film an ‘ode to nature’ and a ‘refuge in the ominous times we live in’.  Poortvliet has already won several awards with her films, including the Drentse Talentprijs Cultuur and the Best Groningen Film non-fiction in 2021.

Adriaan Minnaard wins 1.6 million euro Science Award

Professor Adriaan Minnaard (Faculty of Science and Engineering) is one of four winners of the Ammodo Science Award, a prize for groundbreaking research. Minnaard received the award along with research groups from the UvA and Harvard University for research into tuberculosis, the world's deadliest infectious disease. The group showed how tuberculosis bacteria can survive in the body by making special fat molecules. Minnaard can replicate those molecules in the lab, to do follow-up research on them. The prize money for the Science Award is 1.6 million euros.

Vici grants for UG and UMCG scientists

The NWO has awarded Vici grants of up to 1.5 million euros each to UG scientists Nathalie Katsonis (FSE), Edwin Otten (FSE) and Alexandra Zhernakova (UMCG). Vici is one of the largest scientific grants in the Netherlands. Professor of Coastal Ecology Tjisse van der Heide (FSE) also received a Vici for a research project he will carry out within the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). The grant will allow the researchers to develop an innovative line of research for five years and set up their own research group.

Medical student turns to Council of State once again

Medical student Jaap Pesman has once again turned to the Council of State in his long-standing battle against the UG. Pesman received a ‘Not Yet On Track’ – a failing grade – during his second series of internships at the Deventer hospital. As a result, he had to complete two additional internships, a decision he deemed unjust. He claims to be a victim of bias from his examiner. He filed numerous objections and appeals, but to no avail. The Council of State ruled last year that the examination committee needed to better substantiate its decision, but the outcome remained the same. Hence, Pesman is now approaching the Council of State once again. A verdict is expected in a few weeks.