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Entries for December 2020

UM will be using reserves in 2021

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University expects to spend nearly 11 million euros more next year than it will receive. This is stated in the 2021 budget. UM is not going to get into debt, but is relying on specially designated money boxes.

UM is switching to online; buildings closed

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University, like the rest of educational institutions in the Netherlands, will 'close' due to rising Covid-19 infections. Education is now completely online, at least until the end of the third block (end of January).
 “I had only one goal: telling the story of what had happened there on Brunssummerheide”

“I had only one goal: telling the story of what had happened there on Brunssummerheide”

Thursday 8 October 2020, the Court of Maastricht. Two public prosecutors – one of whom is Dave Mattheijs – are presenting their closing arguments, arguing why the accused Jos B. should be sent to prison for years. “A highlight”, reflects Mattheijs. “So much had been said about Nicky Verstappen’s case in the press...
“I’m not a fun partner right now, and it eats at me”

“I’m not a fun partner right now, and it eats at me”

Mark Vluggen, director of the bachelor’s programmes at the School of Business and Economics, has been in crisis mode for over a year. It all started in November 2019 with civil protests in Chile. Anxious SBE students on exchange asked if they could come back home. Not much later, similar requests arrived from Hong Kong, where protests had esc...
“A publisher might have put the celebrity involved on the cover, but to me, all stories are equally important”

“A publisher might have put the celebrity involved on the cover, but to me, all stories are equally important”

2020 was a turbulent year for many people, including Chahinda Ghossein, cardiologist in training at Maastricht University Medical Centre+. But, she says, “it was also successful. I ticked a few items off my bucket list.” Number one by a wide margin was publishing Queen of Hearts, a book on the power of vulnerability. In it, women open u...
European grant for UM neuroscientist

European grant for UM neuroscientist

MAASTRICHT/NETHERLANDS. UM neuroscientist Federico de Martino has managed to obtain one of the 29 consolidator grants, which were allocated to the Netherlands by the European Research Council (ERC). With about 2 million euro each, our country comes in after Germany, the United Kingdom and France, just like last year.
“If I call on people to work on Christmas, I have to be there myself as well”

“If I call on people to work on Christmas, I have to be there myself as well”

No, 2020 was certainly not an easy year, admits Nick Bos, vice chair of the Executive Board. But – barely a minute into the interview – he also says that he doesn’t want this to be the story of a board member complaining about long working days and high work pressure. On the contrary. “I realise all too well that I&rsqu...

More women in management at universities

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The number of women in managerial positions at universities in the Netherlands has increased in the past three years, according to a new count by the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH).

Letschert: Twitter storm about use of retirees “blown out of proportion”

MAASTRICHT. Is Maastricht University going to use retired lecturers as volunteers to mark exams and supervise theses? This is what a University Council committee asked rector Rianne Letschert last Wednesday.

Students hardly appeal to UM’s Covid-19 leniency regulation

MAASTRICHT. They graduated later than planned or have suffered a delay because the education programme had to be adapted because of Covid-19. A total of 27 students have recently appealed to Maastricht University’s Covid-19 leniency regulation. Fifteen requests were accepted.
A year of loneliness and solidarity

A year of loneliness and solidarity

​Vera Schriebl (26), master’s student in the Medical Doctor-Clinical Researcher programme, was one of the medical students who signed up to help out at the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, she learnt a lot about being a doctor, but also about herself. Her 2020 in a nutshell: guilt, loneliness, work experience and grati...
Maastricht medication for persistent COVID-19 symptoms

Maastricht medication for persistent COVID-19 symptoms

CARIM researchers are experimenting with two medicines that may mitigate persistent symptoms of COVID-19 patients. The UM has already obtained a patent for one of the medicines.
“You have to have the guts to stand on the edge of life and shiver"

“You have to have the guts to stand on the edge of life and shiver"

Was it 8:30 PM? 9 PM? He had no idea. It was mid-September, it was getting dark, and because he didn’t have a torch or a phone on him, he crawled into his sleeping bag. He had only just settled down under the open sky when the forest around him came to life. He heard wild boar, deer, an owl. All his senses were on high alert. That’s whe...
 The Panther, aka. me

The Panther, aka. me

His gaze against the sweeping of the bars has grown so weary, it can hold no more. To him, there seem to be a thousand bars and back behind those thousand bars no world. ~ The Panther, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stanley Appelbaum   I’ve always had an unexplainable love for Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem The Pant...

HR director leaves prematurely

HR director leaves prematurely

MAASTRICHT. Antoon Vugts is leaving as director of Human Resources at Maastricht University. The ‘road to improvement’ upon which he embarked three and a half years ago has seen little progress, the Executive Board reported in an internal announcement to the university community. After “very enervating“ years and a recent &l...
The St. Nicolas-load

The St. Nicolas-load

Last week, for the first time since June, I went away for a few days for work. Upon return, my youngest daughter announced that she was going to place her shoe in front of the chimney. Saint Nicolas is in the country and brings young kids a small gift in their shoe. But for my 11-year-old, it is also still lucrative to believe in Saint Nicolas. ...

“I feel more like a machine than a lecturer”

“I feel more like a machine than a lecturer”

MAASTRICHT. Work pressure has been a theme at Maastricht University for years. But since the start of COVID-19, it has increased exponentially across the University, both for academic and for support staff. Young lecturers at University College Maastricht seem to be having an extra hard time. There are times when they have up to four tuto...
A debate on the future of universities “If nothing else works, we have to strike”

A debate on the future of universities “If nothing else works, we have to strike”

THE NETHERLANDS. “What do our universities need?” asked activists and managers during an online debate organised by the KNAW science association. The ideas discussed ranged from calls for a strike to criticism of turning a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour.
Two thirds of PhD graduates work outside the university

Two thirds of PhD graduates work outside the university

One UM PhD graduate finds work at Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the other at an HR agency and yet another at CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. Two thirds of all PhD graduates in the Netherlands work outside the university walls. Some are reluctant to leave, others do so consciously. Three portraits.
“You are suddenly no longer part of the UM family”

“You are suddenly no longer part of the UM family”

MAASTRICHT. Begging to be allowed to keep one’s e-mail address and UM Card, no form of support on the road to retirement, sometimes not even a farewell, and then the feeling that you are no longer part of the UM family. Retired and almost retired scientists often feel abandoned by Maastricht University. This became clear in a study carri...
"Love, Lieke"

"Love, Lieke"

MAASTRICHT. “In these strange times, I hope that you still have nice holidays and that your 2021 is filled with many friends and family. Love, Lieke.”
COVID-19 is pushing cancer research aside

COVID-19 is pushing cancer research aside

MAASTRICHT. ‘Cancer won’t wait until COVID-19 is over’. It is the name of the campaign by a group of organisations that focus on the care of cancer patients. Their appeal: go to the doctor if you have symptoms. Considerably fewer cases than expected have been diagnosed nationally, but also in Maastricht, this year. Also,...
Did you pay for the wrong education?

Did you pay for the wrong education?

I wish I had better news for students with a business and commercial specialisation, but chances are that you’re spending a lot of money on an education for the wrong kind of political economy. On the plus side, you have the dubious honour of being a member of the last generation to be educated in this way. Maybe you can put that on your cv? ...

One and a half million for De Maastricht Studie

One and a half million for De Maastricht Studie

The provincial government of Limburg has set aside 1.5 million for De Maastricht Studie, the South Limburg population screening for diabetes and other chronic diseases. This cohort study is now going to enter a second phase. “We will gain more insight into cause and effect.” 
UM and Radboud joining forces

UM and Radboud joining forces

MAASTRICHT. New master’s programme on the Venlo campus, an MBA course for care professionals and a teacher’s training programme in Maastricht. Maastricht University and the Radboud University in Nijmegen are going to work more closely together. The time when Nijmegen feared competition from Maastricht, seems to have passed.
“For a long time, you just try to fit in, but you will never become one of them”

“For a long time, you just try to fit in, but you will never become one of them”

MAASTRICHT. A report that is full of ‘he’ and ‘him’ when it is about a scientific director; female students who don’t go into detail during a tutorial group meeting for fear of boring their fellow students while the men tell their stories without any diffidence; after getting a new job, to hear that you must have gotte...

The Young Academy supports change in the way academic staff are evaluated

THE NETHERLANDS. The leading scientists of The Young Academy are squarely behind the new ‘recognition and reward’ system at Dutch universities, according to a collection of interviews and recommendations which they published Monday.

Maximum of two years to justify tuition in English

THE NETHERLANDS. English-taught educational programmes will need to explain the added value of teaching in English. If they fail to do so, they will only be able to continue teaching in English for a maximum of two years before they need to switch to Dutch.
Extended closure at Christmas, not a gift

Extended closure at Christmas, not a gift

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will close its doors on 21 December, rather than 25 December. An extended ‘Christmas closure’. Why? “To give employees extra time to recuperate and rest,” the Executive Board wrote in a communication e-mail last week. Four extra days off? Yes, but at the expense of regular holiday leave...
November Christmas Party

November Christmas Party

Corona completely changes my perception of time. I mean, aside from the fact that it's already December even though it feels like yesterday that COVID-19 reached Italy and Europe started paying closer attention to what would become an all-consuming pandemic. On the smallest scale, it changed when I go to bed and wake up, when I eat, when I go t...

“I don’t work in health care; no one is going to lose any sleep over me publishing fewer articles this year”

“I don’t work in health care; no one is going to lose any sleep over me publishing fewer articles this year”

Before the summer, a yes-we-can mentality prevailed in the Department of Political Science (FASoS). “We were going to show everyone that we could continue our teaching online in an effective way. Everyone was working way too hard”, says department chair Esther Versluis. By now, fatigue has set in.