New gravestone for Frits Zernike

The Nobel Prize winner for physics from Groningen, Frits Zernike, has received a new stone for the grave he shares with his sister, Elisabeth. The old gravestone was removed in the nineties, and Elisabeth’s name was never even inscribed on it.

Elisabeth wrote over thirty novels and poetry collections and in 1921 became the first woman to receive a literary prize from the Society of Dutch Literature. She died unmarried and without children, after which she was interred in her brother Frits’ grave.

The foundation for funerary heritage Terebint took the initiative for the new stone. It was unveiled on May 13 at Zorgvlied Cemetery in Amsterdam.


Smoking tolerated outside the University Library

Smoking is tolerated at the corner of Broerplein and Poststraat. ‘Anyone currently smoking in front of the University Library is asked to go there,’ says spokesperson Elies Wempe-Kouwenhoven. That spot is convenient because there is a rubbish bin. The UG is in talks with the municipality to make it an ‘official’ smoking area with an ashtray. Since the university itself is not allowed to facilitate smoking, such a spot has to be just outside the university's grounds. This also means that the municipality has to install the ashtray. The university is also looking at similar off-grounds smoking spots for other campus locations.

Debate: uni’s role in geopolitical conflicts

What can and should universities do (or not do) in wars like in Ukraine and Gaza? Some say a uni should stay away from that, while others want to see an outspoken position. This question is the focus of a debate evening on Thursday 27 June: The role of universities in geopolitical conflicts. There will be five short pitches and a discussion led by Marc Pauly (researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Philosophy). The debate will be held in the Geertsemazaal in the Academy Building and is from 17:00 to 19:00 hrs.

Demolition of Nijenborgh 4 on schedule

The move of researchers of the Faculty of Science and Engineering  from Nijenborgh 4 to the new Feringa Building is on schedule. This means that demolition of building sections 5117 and 5118 will commence on July 1. These areas will make way for the second and final part of the Feringa Building. ‘This won’t be immediately visible’, says managing director Esther Marije Klop. ‘The process will start with interior remediation.’ Nijenborgh 4 contains a significant amount of asbestos-containing materials.

UG cancelled four events during Lustrum week

Last week, the university cancelled four Lustrum activities for which people had to buy tickets or sign up. According to a spokesperson, this was because less than 10 percent of the hoped-for registrations were received. The university does not want to disclose which events were cancelled. It also does not yet know exactly how this will affect the budget of the already scaled-down Lustrum Week. In any case, the Lustrum party on Friday did go ahead. Of the 1,900 tickets available, 1,035 had been sold. In the end, about 750 people attended the party at the Suikerunie grounds.

Smallest increase in international students in almost a decade

The number of international college and university students increased by 5 percent this academic year compared to last year, reports Nuffic, the organization for the internationalization of education. This is the lowest percentage increase in almost a decade. Notable is the sharp increase in enrollments from China (+23 percent). In total, there are now roughly 128,000 international students studying at higher education institutions, representing 16 percent of the total student population. At the RUG, there are 9,429 international students, or 27.7 percent of the total student body. This is a marginal increase compared to last year (9,422 students), while the number of new enrollments actually decreased.

Collective labour agreement negotiations ‘more positive’

Unions and universities have yet to reach a result in the fourth collective labour agreement negotiations. The unions report that the talks are proceeding in a 'slightly more positive atmosphere,' but they also fear that the end-of-June deadline will not be met. This deadline was already extended from the end of March to the end of June last year to avoid constant delays. After the third meeting, the unions claimed that the universities had minimal input and considered most of the union demands non-negotiable. Despite this, the unions are hopeful for 'real results' in the fifth negotiation. Their demands include a 4.3 percent pay rise and an additional EUR 150 on top of each pay scale.

Ben Feringa Award for Raffaela Carloni en Jonas Göbel

Researcher Raffaela Carloni (Science and Engineering) and student Jonas Göbel (Arts) are the winners of the Ben Feringa Impact Award 2024, an award for outstanding achievements in knowledge utilisation. Carloni won the award and a sum of 5,000 euro  for the MyLeg project, in which an above-knee prosthesis is being developed to mimic a healthy leg as much as possible. Göbel was given 2,500 euros for his research to create maps using location data, for example to better understand climate risks in remote and vulnerable areas.

Academy building on display at LEGiO Museum in Grootegast

The Academy building, recreated with 70,000 Lego bricks, has been brought back to Groningen for the university's 410th anniversary. The structure was created by 24-year-old former student Johannes Bey, who took it to his hometown in southern Germany. Now, the artwork has been purchased by the LEGiO Museum in the Groningen village of Grootegast and can be viewed there. 'I can hardly believe that a structure I built will now be found in a real museum', says Bey. Previously, UKrant made a video about the construction of the Lego structure.

Casper Albers new dean of behavioural and social sciences

Casper Albers will be the new dean of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. Albers (1975) is currently professor of applied statistics and data visualisation at that faculty and research director of the Heymans Institute for psychological research. Previously, he was a columnist for UKrant. He succeeds Kees Aarts (1959), who is leaving as dean but will stay on as professor of political institutions and behaviour. Albers' appointment takes effect from August 1.

Labour Inspectorate: high work pressure at universities

70 percent of employees at Dutch universities experience work pressure more than incidentally. They work on average six hours more per week than their contracts specify. At the same time, universities have no control over the hours worked. This is stated in a report by the Labour Inspectorate, which conducted research at fourteen universities. Unwanted behaviour is also a major problem. 54 percent of employees have experienced this in the past two years, and 69 percent have observed it among colleagues. This mainly concerns bullying and discrimination. The mentioned causes are the hierarchical structure of the university and performance pressure.

Concerthuis designated as chemical heritage

The Concerthuis at the Poelestraat has been designated as National Chemical Heritage by the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society (KNCV). The café has been home to the Natural and Chemical Society (NSG) since 1831, founded by the Groningen chemist Sibrandus Stratingh (1785-1841) – known for creating the very first electric 'car'. Stratingh held countless lectures and demonstrations in the building. On June 13, a plaque will be unveiled on the facade. There will also be a mini-symposium on Stratingh and what the Concerthuis has meant to the field chemistry. Previously, venues such as the Oval Room in the Teylers Museum in Arnhem were selected. The Great Office of Dutch State Mines, formerly Gist-Brocades, is also on the list.

UG celebrates anniversary with coaster campaign in hospitality industry

On Wednesday, 90,000 coasters containing stimulating questions from UG researchers will be distributed in the Groningen catering industry. It is part of the university's anniversary celebrations this month. The UG is turning 410 years old this year. The coasters feature questions such as ‘Are we more stressed now than we used to be?’, ‘Will AI be taking over my job?’ and ‘What makes a book a good book?’ A QR code on the back of the coaster can be used to find the answer.

Renovation Van Heemskerckstraat has begun

Renovation of the student housing complex on Van Heemskerckstraat has begun. The building is being completely renovated and will soon have 263 rooms, 36 more than currently. These rooms will also be slightly larger, averaging 19 square meters. Each room will have its own toilet and bathroom. Previously, thirteen students shared one bathroom and one kitchen. In the future, there will be one kitchen and a fully furnished living room for every seven residents. On the ground floor, there will be laundry facilities, study spaces, and potentially a restaurant and a hall that can also be used by the neighborhood. The renovation is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.

Tjalling Halbertsma new dean of Campus Fryslân

Tjalling Halbertsma will be the new dean of Campus Fryslân. Halbertsma (1969) is professor of international relations with a focus on East Asia, on behalf of the Groningen University Fund. In this position, he was already associated with the Leeuwarden campus. Halbertsma succeeds interim dean Caspar van den Berg, who will become president of umbrella organisation Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) after one year as dean. Halbertsma's appointment takes effect from 1 June.

Young Academy concerned about internationalisation bill

The Young Academy, a platform by and for young scientists, is concerned about the Internationalisation in Balance (WIB) Act. International cooperation and an open science system are important for Dutch science, economy, and society, the club writes after a statement by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The Young Academy is particularly concerned about international colleagues. The platform has witnessed an increase in uncertainty among internationals about their future and therefore calls on universities to keep an eye on this group.

Petition to keep pigs at Zernike

UG employee Stefanie van der Velde has started a petition to keep the weed-clearing pigs at the Zernike Campus. After three years, the animals will no longer be used to combat the invasive plants giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed, while she believes they need at least four or five years for this task. Therefore, she wants the pigs to be allowed to stay for another two years. The UG, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, and the municipality of Groningen, all three owners of parts of Zernike, say that the pigs help control the problem but do not provide a permanent solution. They are still considering an alternative method.

Royal decoration for professors Gerard van den Berg and Erik Frijlink

Two UG professors received a royal decoration on the Friday preceding King's Day on the recommendation of the university: Erik Frijlink and Gerard van den Berg. Frijlink has been appointed Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, Van den Berg as Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Gerard van den Berg (Almelo, 1962) is a professor of health econometrics at the Faculty of Economics and Business. Erik Frijlink (Meppel, 1960) is a professor of pharmaceutical technology and biopharmacy at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.