UG takes the first step for Campus Drachten

In September of this year, the UG will launch an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) program in Drachten. Together with partners such as NHL Stenden and Philips Drachten, this marks a significant step for Campus Drachten.

Campus Drachten focuses on healthcare technology and high-tech innovation, emphasising the essential collaboration between partners, according to the founders. The EngD in Autonomous Systems is a crucial component of this initiative, serving as the first academic programme. It is a two-year post-master’s programme that combines traditional scientific methods with direct industry involvement.

Dutch

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.

Fire in student building Papengang

A fire broke out Wednesday morning on the first floor of a fifteen room-student building on Papengang. Eight people had to be evacuated from the building with a hydraulic lift; the other residents were able to leave the building on their own. One person was taken to the hospital. One of the residents told Dagblad van het Noorden that she found the building very dangerous. 'The owner has been addressed many times, but they don't give a fuck.'

Lower house votes for numerus clausus on English-language studies

Last Thursday, the Dutch Lower House voted for a separate numerus clausus on the English-language versions of study programmes. Universities can use the measure, which anticipates the delayed Internationalisation in Balance Act, to curtail the number of international students coming to the Netherlands. Because the numerus clausus has been added to the budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Upper House has to vote on the whole thing. Therefore, the amendment is likely to be passed. The numerus clausus option must be implemented in the system of educational institutions and Studielink by October 1.

AcademieKus goes to Marie-José van Tol for ‘Everyone professor’

UG professor of cognitive neuropsychiatry Marie-José van Tol is one of this year's winners of the AcademieKus from education union AOb. She's getting the award because of her commitment to equal rights and less hierarchy within academia. The jury praises Van Tol's commitment, not only within the UG, but also as president of De Jonge Akademie, to get and keep the theme 'Everyone Professor' on the agenda. Last year, social safety expert Susanne Täuber, dismissed by the UG, was awarded the prize, for her commitment to gender equality at universities.

Five UG faculties will take part in pilot Smarter Academic Year

Five UG faculties are taking part in the national pilot Smarter Academic Year. Compared to other European universities, the Dutch academic year is relatively long. With the pilot, the universities hope to bring more peace and quiet into the academic year, for students and staff alike. One way to achieve this is by reducing the number of teaching and exam weeks. At the UG, the faculties of economics and business administration, science and engineering, spatial sciences, philosophy, and arts are participating.

UG warns against convincing phishing email

Several UG e-mail addresses received phishing mail last week asking them to check their UG account. The email contains a link leading to a fake login page, but this page looks very similar to the university's real login portal, according to the UG. Users are then asked to enter username and password.  The university has since blocked the link to the page. Whether anyone clicked on the link, UG spokesperson Elies Wempe-Kouwenhoven could not confirm. 'But there was enough urgency to warn everyone,' she says. On this page, students and staff can read what to look out for in phishing messages.

Student complex evacuated due to fire and power cut

Some 250 mostly international students were evacuated from their residences in student complex Blockhouse in the city centre on Saturday night due to fire. According to the news website Meternieuws, a house fire led to a blown fuse. As a result, electricity cut off throughout the building. The students were asked to leave the premises for the night so that the fire brigade, police, and energy company Enexis could investigate. The students were offered a bed for the night in cultural centre Oosterpoort, among other places.

Overview of professors’ ancillary work now available

The UG has published an overview of all outside activities of its professors. These jobs must be declared unless they are unrelated to the work professors do for the University. Previously, outside activities could only be found on the professors' personal pages. This has now changed due to political pressure. Transparency is an essential condition for scientific integrity,' says the umbrella organisation Universities of the Netherlands (UNL). The overview for the UG can be found here, and the overview for other universities can be found on the UNL website.

Over 10,000 secondary school students to visit UG

The UG is expecting over 10,000 secondary school students to visit on Friday, February 2. During the Bachelor Open Day, they will familiarise themselves with their possible future study, the university and its campus, and the city of Groningen.  All bachelor programmes are participating in the open day and students can attend lectures, watch presentations, and talk to university students, lecturers and study advisers. For those who really don't know yet which study suits them, there will be workshops to help them choose.  Apart from information about the study programmes, the secondary school students will also get information on topics such as living on their own, study financing, and the social part of student life, and they can take a guided city walk.

UMCG plays a key role in research on psychedelics therapy

The European Union has granted over 6.5 million euros to the clinical research program PsyPal for investigating psilocybin (the active substance in magic mushrooms) as a psychological treatment for individuals with an incurable, progressive disease. The UMCG coordinates the research program, which involves 19 organisations across Europe. More than a hundred patients are participating in the study. 'We are curious to see if we can alleviate the suffering of these patients', says Robert Schoevers, professor and head of psychiatry at the UMCG. 'At the same time, we want to investigate the long-term results of this treatment, something that is often overlooked but of tremendous importance.'

Former rector Wijmenga on parliamentary advisory board

Cisca Wijmenga is one of two new council members at the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI). The AWTI provides independent advice to the government and parliament on fundamental issues with a long-term view. In doing so, they look not only at the Netherlands, but also at the situation in other countries.  Wijmenga considers it an honour to work as a council member. ‘As a society, we are facing enormous challenges in areas such as ageing, climate and digitalisation. The AWTI as an advisory body plays an important role in this towards the government.'

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.

Film competition for students seeks Groningen horror films

Students with a love for thrills and film can soon indulge their passion. This year's Groningen film competition Cine Challenge 2024 has chosen 'horror' as its theme. The competition is aimed at students and novice filmmakers, but professionals are also welcome to participate. The film or animation should have a connection to the city or region of Groningen and last between 1 and 15 minutes. The best submission will be rewarded with 500 euros. Registration is open until May 1.

Two UG-submissions Klokhuis Science Prize

For the national Klokhuis Science Prize, the UG has submitted two studies.  Education generalist Steffie van der Steen is researching therapy with a robot dog, for example for children with autism or Down's syndrome, and comparing it with therapy using a real dog.   Mathematician Julian Koellermeijer is working on mathematical simulations of a rocket flight through the atmosphere of Mars. Using his simulations, scientists hope to design safe spacecraft. The prize aims to introduce scientific research to a young and wide audience. Teaching materials will be produced about the studies. The winner will be announced on Sunday, March 17.

Former rector Cisca Wijmenga appointed to supervisory board Leiden University

Cisca Wijmenga, the first female rector in the more than 400-year existence of the UG, has been appointed to the supervisory board of Leiden University. Wijmenga passed the baton to new rector Jacquelien Scherpen at the end of August after a four-year tenure. Wijmenga began her academic career in Leiden, receiving her PhD in genetics from the Institute of Biology in 1993. 'It is a great honour to join the supervisory board at the university where I obtained my PhD thirty years ago,' she said on Twitter/X.

Construction of 401 student rooms on Zernike has started

The construction of the first student complex on the Zernike Campus has started. The complex, named Proxima, will house 401 rooms. In the peak period for students, at the end of summer, these rooms will be temporarily double-occupied. The building, commissioned by student housing provider SSH, will be in the north of the campus, on the Koegangen. The housing was actually planned for last summer. That deadline was missed due to problems with the supplier. The fully demountable housing complex will be completed in summer 2024 and will remain in place for ten years.