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FPN forced to make cuts of 3.1 million over 5 years

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences needs to cut costs to the amount of 3.1 million over the next five years. Jobs are not at risk; the faculty will take a critical look at all other expenses. Some of that money (about 1 million) will become available automatically: over the next few years, some older (and hence more expensive) employees are going to retire.

At the end of 2018, the budget looked relatively healthy. The faculty didn't have an abundance of funds, but steered clear of being in the red. A series of additional expenses has changed the situation. “We are participating in the new bachelor's programme of Global Studies, in the digital testing project and we have to make a serious investment in IT,” says director Carolien Martijn. “The amounts involved are about a hundred thousand euro each time, but that is annually.” “On top of this – even though the student numbers have risen by 6 per cent – we are not growing as fast as the other faculties,” says dean Anita Jansen. “So that means less money. We only found out recently.”

One of the first measures is reducing the teaching budget by 2 per cent. The Education Management will look into how this can be achieved. “We are not talking about contact hours,” says Jansen. “We will maintain the high quality of our education programme. We are looking at matters that will reduce the work pressure of both students and lecturers. Take for example the number of tests, there are often several per course; a paper, a test and a presentation.” “Why is one test not enough?”, Martijn adds. “Ultimately this means that we need to take on fewer temporary lecturers and lecturers from other faculties.”

The faculty is definitely going to look into what it can do itself, and in a great detail. “Practice videos for a block, for example,” says Jansen. “How relevant is it that these are professionally finished?” “Some things date from the past,” says Martijn. “We engaged external professionals because buying camera equipment was too expensive. Such equipment is now available for little money, but the habit remained. Another thing is the catering for open days and large events. That was always very lavish and a lot was thrown away afterwards. We will be taking a critical look at that kind of thing.”

Jansen emphasizes that this does not mean the faculty is in bad shape. “On the contrary, both education and research are doing very well.” She feels that the problem goes much deeper. “All psychology faculties have a shortage of money. I will continue to say it: we need the facilities that come with a science faculty, but we are not funded accordingly. The system in the Netherlands is just not right.”

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