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Entries for February 2020

Possible ban on smoking in UM Randwijck from 23 March

Possible ban on smoking in UM Randwijck from 23 March

MAASTRICHT. From August 2020, all education premises in the Netherlands must be smoke-free. Randwijck may even start sooner. The Rookbeleid UM (UM Smoking Policy) working group suggested that they should start on 23 March. The Executive Board “looks upon this favourably”.
"Sloppy science is often not intentional, but due to lack of knowledge"

"Sloppy science is often not intentional, but due to lack of knowledge"

Research integrity isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds yet, says UU professor of Jurisprudence Ton Hol, who was the main author of a report for a network of European universities on this subject. Universities should work on that. There’s room for improvement of scientists’ knowledge of methods of research an...
In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

There’s a good chance Maastricht University will be known as the hamburger university someday. Our very own Mark Post skyrocketed to worldwide fame after presenting his hamburgers made from lab-grown cultured meat (real meat grown directly from animal cells) to the press. His company Mosa Meat aims to fundamentally change the way meat is prod...
Student housing rents

Student housing rents

An often-heard complaint in Maastricht is that the cost of student housing has increased a lot over the past years. Indeed, if you take the snazzy rooms at the Student Hotel as an example, it seems like finding an affordable place to live in Maastricht is something that is a thing of the past. The topic of student housing is one of many debates ...

UM judgement in fraud case complete, but not made public

UM judgement in fraud case complete, but not made public

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has taken a decision in the case in which a PhD candidate accused her cardiology professor of research fraud. This was based on the advice from the Committee for Scientific Integrity. The two outcomes will not be made public. The Board says it is maintaining its “duty of confidentiality” that applies to t...
No ‘taxpayer’s’ money to cybercriminals

No ‘taxpayer’s’ money to cybercriminals

MAASTRICHT. The ransom that was paid to the cybercriminals on 29 December after they had put a digital lock on Maastricht University’s computer systems, did not come from the UM’s regular reserves. The sale of a company from UM-Holding just prior to the hack, had yielded enough to pay the almost two-hundred-thousand-euro ransom.
Two new deans: Harald Merckelbach for Psychology, Annemie Schols for FHML

Two new deans: Harald Merckelbach for Psychology, Annemie Schols for FHML

MAASTRICHT. Harald Merckelbach, Professor of Forensic Psychology, is to become dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences again as of 1 May. He will succeed Professor Anita Jansen, who was awarded a major Gravitation subsidy  (20 million) and is now returning to research. Annemie Schols, director and researcher at Nutrim, will su...
She got the job she wanted, but she didn’t like it: “It was a complete let-down”

She got the job she wanted, but she didn’t like it: “It was a complete let-down”

She was only seventeen years old when she came to Maastricht University to study Arts and Sciences in 1994. Very young, Ariane Hendriks (43) thinks, looking back now – especially because she went straight from living with her parents in Veenendaal, a town in the centre of the Netherlands, to living in Maastricht, almost two hundred kilometres...
What to do with fossil fuel investments: divest vs shareholders’ pressure

What to do with fossil fuel investments: divest vs shareholders’ pressure

MAASTRICHT. In what should the university’s pension fund ABP invest its – or better said, the pensioners’ – money? Fossil Free Maastricht wants them to stop investing (divest) in fossil fuel companies as soon as possible. ABP’s policy is to stay engaged with the companies to put pressure on them to make changes. The wa...
In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

There’s a good chance Maastricht University will be known as the hamburger university someday. Our very own Mark Post skyrocketed to worldwide fame after presenting his hamburgers made from lab-grown cultured meat (real meat grown directly from animal cells) to the press. His company Mosa Meat aims to fundamentally change the way meat is prod...
“The Dutch have a nice style, but I miss the cuteness and elegance”

“The Dutch have a nice style, but I miss the cuteness and elegance”

Yingyi Wu (26, Chinese), PhD candidate at FHML, describes her style as “simple with good taste”. 
A prophet who was not honoured in his own country

A prophet who was not honoured in his own country

Geert Hofstede is no longer with us. He died on Wednesday, 12 February, at the age of 91 in Ede, his place of residence. For years, the emeritus professor of Maastricht University was known as ‘the most quoted economist in the Netherlands’. Which is bizarre, because if there was anything that Hofstede wasn’t, it was an economist. ...

Wir können alles…

Wir können alles…

…außer Bildungspolitik. (“We can do everything. Except for education (literally: ‘educational policy’).” It’s written in big letters on the sweater that my professor is wearing in this last week before exam week. It’s a joke that’s part of a running gag based on the slogan of Baden-Württemberg, th...

Hardly any discrimination against Asian UM students

Hardly any discrimination against Asian UM students

MAASTRICHT. A Dutch carnival song about the coronavirus and Chinese, which was broadcast by Radio 10 DJ Lex Gaarthuis, led to a lot of criticism from various Chinese-Dutch organisations. They felt it was causing hatred and discriminating. It was even reported to the police. Various national media wrote elaborately on the matter with long stori...
UM researchers get involved in discussions during film festival

UM researchers get involved in discussions during film festival

What could the future look like by the year of 2040 if we simply embraced the best available solutions to improve our planet? If we would shift them rapidly into the mainstream? Questions from the documentary 2040 by the Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau. The film was set up as letter to his 4-year-old daughter. What kind of world is she heading to...
Students are not swayed by rankings

Students are not swayed by rankings

MAASTRICHT. With the Keuzegids in hand, Observant visited the bachelor open day last Saturday. To what degree do prospective students use the rankings by these self-proclaimed Dutch “independent study programme comparison list” as guidance? Do they choose University College Maastricht because it has been at the top o...

Letter bombs go off in Amsterdam and Kerkrade, no injuries

THE NETHERLANDS. Letter bombs have gone off at an ABN Amro post sorting office in Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk business estate and at a post sorting office in Kerkrade, police confirmed on Wednesday morning.
Italians in Maastricht; not for the food

Italians in Maastricht; not for the food

Aside from the ‘usual suspects’ – the Dutch, Germans and Belgians – the number of Italians at Maastricht University is growing more quickly than any other nationality. Two-hundred and twenty-five were added for a bachelor’s and 150 for a master’s in 2019. The second places in these categories: France with 125 new...

“Maastricht was a perfect stepping stone to a future in London”

“Maastricht was a perfect stepping stone to a future in London”

Six months ago, Kate Surala (26) started writing a book. Where does she find the time? It’s a fair question as she spends already plenty hours a week as a partner and chief compliance officer at a London-based equity research firm. But she loves writing and she’s a good one, as evidenced by the weekly series of restaurant reviews she wr...
“Style is like art: I draw myself through clothes”

“Style is like art: I draw myself through clothes”

Karim Morgenstern (20, German), Biomedical Sciences, 1st year. Describes his style as: “alternative and vintage”.
Seven languages to say: “comfort, relax and simplicity”

Seven languages to say: “comfort, relax and simplicity”

Shanice Benson (18, German-Irish), first-year student Maastricht Science Programme (FSE) pays 351 Euros per month for an 8 m2 room at the Guesthouse

50,000 sign coronavirus petition, as Chinese community speaks out

THE NETHERLANDS. Nearly 50,000 people have now signed an online petition denouncing discrimination against people of Chinese origin in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak since it was launched at the weekend.
How a spaceship landed in the Bertoldstraße

How a spaceship landed in the Bertoldstraße

“It means destroying that which we are presently incapable of understanding. Forgive me, but I am not an advocate of knowledge at any price.” It is the week before exam week, but something else is occupying my every thought: a spaceship landed in the Bertoldstraße - one of the main streets in Freiburg and, coincidentally, the street ...

Football not spoken here

Football not spoken here

At the Dies, focused on academic leadership, our rector talked about talented researchers who, as the English might say, ‘could not organize a piss-up in a brewery’ (and we’ve all experienced some of those). She made a comparison with great footballers who do not enjoy comparable success as coaches (such as Dennis Bergkamp, m...

More university lectures should be available to everyone online: VVD

THE NETHERLANDS. Far more university and college lectures should be available remotely for the general population to watch, according to MPs from the right-wing Liberal VVD.

Temporary contracts: large differences between universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Whereas one university readily hires lecturers and ‘assistant professors’ on a permanent basis, another prefers to offer its teaching staff temporary positions. The differences between institutions are large, says the Rathenau Institute.
‘New start’ for student services bureau Jules

‘New start’ for student services bureau Jules

MAASTRICHT. The real estate management of student services bureau Jules, which was declared bankrupt in December, is to be taken over by GeWOON in Geulle, curator Joep Tummers from Paulussen Advocaten announced. It is not really a new start, because GeWOON will not be offering the other Jules services, such as the language courses and the movi...

Coronavirus and the Asian Invasion

Coronavirus and the Asian Invasion

“As Coronavirus Spreads, So Does Anti-Chinese Sentiment,” read a recent headline from The New York Times. The article continued to report on the wave of Sinophobia spreading along with the deadly outbreak, which the World Health Organization has now declared a “global health emergency”. The measures taken to contain the cont...

“Great moral objections” against paying a ransom

“Great moral objections” against paying a ransom

MAASTRICHT. It is now official: yes, a ransom was paid to the cybercriminals who hacked the UM systems on 23 December. And yes, the amount was almost two hundred thousand euros. Why was the UM not adequately protected? The Executive Board’s answer to this question has many different shades. And no, it is not likely that any personal data...
You move your head and the world turns with you

You move your head and the world turns with you

It’s about 10 o’clock in the morning. Someone staggers along the footpath. With great effort, he prevents himself from falling to the ground. Drunk at this time of day? Or is something else going on?
“I do all kinds of things, then you get noticed”

“I do all kinds of things, then you get noticed”

“What do you think that it is?” Eleonore (Leo) Köhler, professor of Clinical Anatomy, asks while pointing to a circa 40-centimetre-high statue on her desk. “I have thought long and hard about it and I think it is a one-winged angel bending forward. The statue, a certificate and a “huge bunch of flowers” form the Wynand...
“The bigger the better”

“The bigger the better”

Anna Yeo (20, British), exchange student at UCM, describes her style as “lots of different patterns and colours”.
Solution to the conflict between UM and PhD candidate

Solution to the conflict between UM and PhD candidate

MAASTRICHT. The conflict between a PhD candidate and Maastricht University has been solved, to the extent that the researcher, after mediation by professor Harald Merckelbach, can return to work. Her contract will be extended until May 2021, a year longer than was planned. This will enable her to compensate for the ‘lost’ months (a...
“We can all change the system together, because we are the system”

“We can all change the system together, because we are the system”

“Academic leadership: does it exist at all?” If it had been up to UM rector Rianne Letschert, this would’ve been the slogan of UM’s 44th Dies Natalis. The idea was shot down by her team members, and Letschert concurred that the statement “doesn’t do justice to the many, many colleagues who actually possess [acade]...
Rector: Dismissing non-functioning leaders must become easier

Rector: Dismissing non-functioning leaders must become easier

MAASTRICHT. More must be done to train and support leaders in the academic community and it must become easier to remove non-functioning leaders from leadership positions. Rector Rianne Letschert argued this in her welcome speech to the 44th Dies Natalis last Friday. She also proposed to remove the distinction between academic staff and support sta...
“It’s easy to underestimate the complexities of living abroad”

“It’s easy to underestimate the complexities of living abroad”

The first time she visited Jordan, UCM alumna Floortje Rawee (28) already loved the country. But she never expected that, by 2020, she would’ve been calling it home for three years and counting. Her internship at the Dutch embassy in Amman led to a job. In September, she started working at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palest...
Europeans, learn to live with Trumpism; it is here to stay

Europeans, learn to live with Trumpism; it is here to stay

MAASTRICHT. In her inaugural lecture on January 30th, professor of Foreign Policy Analysis & Transatlantic Relations Roberta Haar analyzed U.S. President Trump’s policy in an historical context. This is an abbreviated version of her lecture, entitled: Is the Trump phenomenon a symptom or the cause for sh...
Everyday Schlaraffenland

Everyday Schlaraffenland

They always said it didn’t exist: the Schlaraffenland - the land of milk and honey. The land of plenty, where the portions are bigger than you could ever stomach, where you can choose from five types of dessert every single day, and where every Friday, you can get a humongous bowl of Milchreis (rice pudding) with sugar, cinnamon and cherries ...

Maastricht contributes to snake venom research

Maastricht contributes to snake venom research

MAASTRICHT. It was world news last week: researchers from the Hubrecht Institute have cultivated a mini venom gland that can actually produce snake venom. The University of Maastricht also contributed: Peter Peters, professor of nanobiology, and Carmen López Iglesias, associate professor of cell biology, made microscopic images of the cells of orga...