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.


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.

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.

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.

Groningen municipality will apologise for slavery past

The municipality of Groningen will apologise for its role in slavery on May 16, inspired by the report by UG researchers Anjana Singh and Bram Tánczos and Lieuwe Jongsma of the Groninger Museum. They noted in February this year that it wasn’t just individual Groningers who directly benefited from slavery; the city government was also directly involved. May 16 is the International Day of Living Together in Peace. Apologies will be made to the descendants of enslaved people. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and can be watched via a livestream.

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.     

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.’