Photographer:Fotograaf: Flickr/Liz Lemon
MAASTRICHT. No science no evidence, no truth, no democracy. That is the idea behind the March for Science, an initiative that has been embraced around the world. On Saturday 22 April, a march will be organised in about 430 cities, including Maastricht. “We want to celebrate science that day. Researchers will come down from their ivory towers to show how important their work is,” says Nathalie Ummels, until recently working for the Center For European Studies at Maastricht University and one of the four initiators of the Maastricht march. “Science produces results that are not based on opinions, but on valuable research. In a world of ‘alternative facts’, we need science to ensure that democracy functions properly. Citizens need it to be informed.”
The idea for a March for Science popped up in Washington DC, following the Women’s March on 21 January, after the inauguration of president Donald Trump. When Americans protested on a large scale for the preservation and importance of human rights, climate, health care, religious freedom, et cetera.
There is also a March for Science in Amsterdam; the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the national student union (LSVb) will join in. Ummels: “But for those who cannot go to Amsterdam – or Brussels or Cologne –, Maastricht is a very good alternative. The UM, and the province as a whole, have experienced a tremendous development in these past few years, in particular with the Kennis-As (Knowledge Axis) and the Brightland campuses.”
DSM, with branches across the world (fellow initiator Jens Thies is senior science fellow, biomedical materials), is a strong supporter of the March for Science. DSM has called on all its employees to take part in various local marches.
Rianne Letschert, rector of Maastricht University, will also be present in Maastricht.