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Entries for March 2021

Better off going to the gym in the afternoon rather than the morning

Better off going to the gym in the afternoon rather than the morning

Doing sports in the afternoon is healthier than doing a work-out or weight training in the morning. At least for men who are overweight and/or have type 2 diabetes, Maastricht professor Patrick Schrauwen discovered when he analysed data from an old study. The afternoon session is beneficial for all kinds of aspects that are related to dia...
“We already have a fine now anyway”

“We already have a fine now anyway”

MAASTRICHT. “We are sitting apart!”, a guy shouts this Wednesday afternoon to a city enforcer in the park. The guy sees a hole, jumps up and runs away. His friends get a ticket: 95 euros per person.
“You have to be able to walk before you can run”

“You have to be able to walk before you can run”

MAASTRICHT. What will our lives look like in 2050? That was the question asked during the new online alumni event: the UM Star Show. The discussion in a studio in Arnhem, from where the talk show was broadcasted live via an online platform, focused mainly on technological developments. Some four hundred people watched how experts discussed the ethi...
“The car driver drove alongside us and offered 100 euro for sex”

“The car driver drove alongside us and offered 100 euro for sex”

LONGREAD. Sexual harassment and violence against women: since the murder of the British Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and later found dead in London on 3 March, large-scale protests have been taking place. Eyes undressing you, psssstt sounds, shouting and abuse like “nice pussy!” to “slut”. Students from Maastricht Univer...
Open letter: UM speed up your sustainability strategy

Open letter: UM speed up your sustainability strategy

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University must develop concrete plans to achieve its sustainability goals. So say the more than a thousand signatories of an open letter, which was handed over to the Executive Board on Tuesday afternoon. Vice-chairman Nick Bos received the letter on the steps of the administrative building on the Minderbroedersberg. When as...
Allow students to study in all European countries

Allow students to study in all European countries

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS “An educational system in which students can move freely through Europe. A semester in the Netherlands, one in France, one in Portugal, and so on.” This is what the brand-new Minister of Foreign Affairs in the newly launched student cabinet Heleen van der Velden, third-year student European Studies, will dedic...

Chinese scientists pursue military expertise at Delft

THE NETHERLANDS. Are PhD students and guest researchers from Chinese military universities coming to TU Delft to gain expertise that will strengthen China’s military might? It’s a fear that appears to be well-founded, as the university’s magazine Delta reveals in a series of investigative reports published today.
No invincibility here

No invincibility here

Academics are in the business of ideas. We are not making widgets on the factory floor or baking cakes. We are fashioning and shaping ideas that unveil truths about the world. Then, we share those ideas to different audiences. First of all to students, who are normally receptive. They came to Maastricht University precisely to learn and because the...

What does ASMR do to the brain?

What does ASMR do to the brain?

A whispering voice, gentle knocking on wood, the rustling of the pages of a book. In some people, these kinds of sounds create a relaxing, tingling feeling in the scalp, known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). Why? We don’t know. In fact, we know very little about ASMR in general. Prize winner Ana Reinartz Groba (now a student i...

Ten questions about coronavirus tests and higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Self-test, rapid test, proof of testing, vaccination passport... we hear so many terms these days. So what’s what and what role will they play in opening the doors to higher education again?
Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

MAASTRICHT. Education in period five remains online for all faculties, even if measures are relaxed in the meantime, said Rector Rianne Letschert to the University Council last Wednesday.

Can we demand test and vaccination passports for campus access?

THE NETHERLANDS. The return of face-to-face teaching seems to be getting closer all the time, but when the day comes will universities and universities of applied sciences be refusing to let in students who have not been tested or vaccinated? Many are still in doubt.
Midterms with Gossip Breaks

Midterms with Gossip Breaks

It is 01:49 am. My hand is cramping up, forcing me to drop my pen and awkwardly do finger exercises. I’m locked in my (by now stuffy) room, making notes on how to become a judge in Spain (necessary information I will no doubt need in the future). Lana del Rey’s songs are playing in a desperate attempt to distract myself from the faint p...

Healthy primary school must become green

Healthy primary school must become green

What happens when you combine the ‘healthy primary school of the future’, which the UM has researched in the Oostelijke Mijnstreek, with the ‘green’ schools, such as those that are flourishing in Belgium? The Universities of Maastricht and Hasselt are going to research this from next summer onwards. It could considerably red...
Kaleido’s ‘living room’ to settle in Tapijn in a year’s time

Kaleido’s ‘living room’ to settle in Tapijn in a year’s time

MAASTRICHT. Kaleido, which started off as an international student club in the Timmerfabriek and was subsequently housed all over the place, is expected to open its doors in Building Z at Tapijn in September 2022. No more temporary accommodation, but “finally a fixed place to meet,” says project leader Neal Cowan.
Solastalgia, from a distance

Solastalgia, from a distance

In our most recent video call my parents’ suburb was full of smoke. Firefighters were burning off dry debris to prevent it from becoming fuel for late summer lightening fires. When I grew up in Tasmania, we would stay by our home when the flames approached, dousing the house with water. I remember firefighters dragging huge hoses into our ...

“I want to learn more, dive deep”

“I want to learn more, dive deep”

Sophie Koch (28) currently lives in Zürich, Switzerland. After completing her master’s thesis at Maastricht University last July, she began her PhD research at ETH Zürich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Two golds for SBE in international student competitions

Two golds for SBE in international student competitions

MAASTRICHT. How can Canada improve provisioning in health care? Also, what can Danish supermarket chain Coop do to reach youths and in doing so increase sales by five per cent? Two questions that the students from the School of Business and Economics know how to answer. Students from this faculty won two international case competitions within the s...
Text me when you’re home

Text me when you’re home

On March 3rd, Sarah Everard was kidnapped and murdered on her way home, 48-year-old police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her murder. Her death sparked many protests around the world and led to new discussions about male violence against women. The reason why so many people are angry after the killing of Sarah Everard is, because he...

No relaxation of measures, not at the UM either

MAASTRICHT. There is no official announcement yet, but the anticipated relaxation of the measures in higher education will not take place. The number of infections is too high. The doors of Maastricht University will therefore not be opened (further) next week. A great pity, rector Rianne Letschert feels, and “terrible” for the students...
Everyone is “completely fed up” with Zoom and working from home

Everyone is “completely fed up” with Zoom and working from home

MAASTRICHT. ​There have been signs that UM employees have too much work to get through, feel lonely or can’t always focus. But this has not (yet) led to a higher rate of sickness absence. Absence through illness at Maastricht University during the past COVID-19 year has remained the same as in 2019 (2.7 per cent). The past two months it was e...

Not every Master’s graduate to get a €535 rebate

THE NETHERLANDS. Students earning their Master’s degree this academic year are entitled to a €535 refund on their tuition fees. According to the Ministry of Education website, that is. But the more detailed information available from the Education Executive Agency (DUO) seems to tell a different story.

With 78% of votes counted, Liberals the big winners

THE NETHERLANDS. In its latest prognosis, with 78% of the votes counted, news agency ANP suggests VVD will win 35 seats in the 150 seat parliament, with D66 in second place on 24 – three down on the exit poll but still an increase of five on the party’s result in 2017.
Give students old exams!

Give students old exams!

Reading, highlighting and summarising. It is the least effective method of studying there is. If you want to make progress, you must spread out the learning process – divide your study time up into short blocks – and test yourself.
No applause but hearts via the chat

No applause but hearts via the chat

It has been a year since the Netherlands went into lockdown. Whereas in the past the odd person logged into an online event, now suddenly the whole country is watching one webinar (a combination of the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’) or livestream after another. And not just that, more and more people are on the other side of the...

Not everyone is happy with the rest and recovery plans

MAASTRICHT. The resolution by the Executive Board to fit in more rest and recovery time in an attempt to lower work pressure, has not been received well by everyone, rector Rianne Letschert said last week during a University Council committee meeting. She received reactions of approval but also some very unpleasant, “nasty” ones.

Breaking news: first-year tuition fees to be lowered to €542

THE NETHERLANDS. First-year students will pay only €542 in tuition fees for the next academic year: a quarter of the standard rate. This decision by the Ministry of Education represents almost 100 million euros.
French Erasmus Hike

French Erasmus Hike

When my French roommate invited me to join her on a hike last Sunday I couldn't but say yes. The mountains around Madrid are truly beautiful, and living in a big city where everything you need seems to be within 5 minutes of walking through concrete makes you appreciate moments of escape into nature, of hiking until you're out of breath, an...

Social contact, fresh air and a history lesson

Social contact, fresh air and a history lesson

MAASTRICHT. The Seed Barn or The Uitvreter (Loosely translated: The Freeloader)? What name is better name for the building of a student association? The second, was decided during the general members meeting of Circumflex in 1992. The association then moved into a building at Herbenusstraat 9 and had to come up with a name, say two senior...

‘ABP, don’t invest our pension savings in oil’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. ABP, pension fund for the educational sector, has to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry once and for all: that’s the demand coming from researchers, students and staff all across the country. We can’t do that overnight, ABP says.
“I now find high grades less important”

“I now find high grades less important”

Name: Ouiam Moussati (22, Veldhoven) * In daily life: third-year student of Medicine and president of the Muslim Student Association Nour * Lives in: Maastricht * Civil status: single
On the legal punishment for infanticide

On the legal punishment for infanticide

Prize winner Sarah Samuel (23, now a master’s student of  Law and Labour at UM) took a deep dive into history for her bachelor’s thesis. She combed through hundreds of newspaper articles, legal statistics, parliamentary papers, and issues of the Dutch weekly legal journal Het Weekblad van het Regt to find out why the Dutc...
Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt. Those are the political parties (in that sequence) that will get the most votes from employees and students from various universities throughout the country this week. This is the outcome of a survey held by the university media in Utrecht (only among students), Rotterdam, Twente,...

520 study places available during XXL weeks

MAASTRICHT. There are too few study places at Maastricht University. The student delegation of the university council wrote this in a letter to the executive board this week. Even before the letter was discussed in the council, the number of study places had already been expanded.
“It is not efficient to only use half of the available brainpower”

“It is not efficient to only use half of the available brainpower”

Four female academics from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? Are they taken serious in their field?  This time: Kateřina Staňková (39), associate professor of Dynamic...
"I really liked doing research and I soon knew: Nobody is going to stop me"

"I really liked doing research and I soon knew: Nobody is going to stop me"

Four women from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? This time it is Giselle Bosse (39). She is associate professor and vice dean of education for the faculty ...
Online Presentation in Spanish

Online Presentation in Spanish

I've always loved doing presentations. No matter how many you do, you can always try new design ideas you saw other people use, speak with fewer notes, or even none at all. And then, standing in front of the class, next to a presentation you're genuinely proud of (mostly because you spend hours googling how to insert gifs into PowerPoint), ...

Difficult start for COVID-19 breathalyser tests

Difficult start for COVID-19 breathalyser tests

MAASTRICHT. In October and November 2020, a trial with three COVID-19 breathalyser tests was to start in Amsterdam, including the Aeonose, which was researched at the UM. The latter, however, appears to have been withdrawn at the last minute. A breathalyser test from Leiden withstood the test and was used by the Area Health Authority (GGD), but its...
Standing during tutorials does not yield higher grades

Standing during tutorials does not yield higher grades

Standing instead of sitting during tutorial group meetings is healthier, but it has no effect on learning achievements. This is the conclusion of a study with 96 Maastricht first-year Biomedical Sciences students. 
“Struggles are part of life and it is okay to speak out”

“Struggles are part of life and it is okay to speak out”

Four women from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? This time it is Anna Schueth (39), postdoc at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences/Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre...
“Getting up, getting dressed and going to the library. Very simple, but I miss it”

“Getting up, getting dressed and going to the library. Very simple, but I miss it”

They are reasonably satisfied about the online education, but if they were allowed to come to the university tomorrow, they would be straight there. In her third session with students from various faculties, rector Rianne Letschert spoke to second-year psychology students last Monday. “You have almost no spontaneous interaction anymore. Even ...
Scooter exhaust is my madeleine

Scooter exhaust is my madeleine

French writer Marcel Proust's madeleine snack dipped in tea sent him on the reverie of memory that became the seven volumes of In Search Of Lost Time. For a French writer, an unassuming cookie with scalloped edges. For me, hydrocarbon particles.  I’m 20 years old, studying in Bogotá, Colombia, whose avenidas are choked with aging ...

“I have learned so much from her, especially how to develop an outlook on life”

“I have learned so much from her, especially how to develop an outlook on life”

Four women from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? Are they being treated equally in their field?  This time: Andreea Grigoriu (25), PhD candidate at the Faculty ...

Higher education faces at least three more weeks of lockdown

THE NETHERLANDS. Higher education will continue under the current restrictions until 30 March, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Hugo de Jonge said last night in their press conference. But after that the door might be opened a crack.

UM wants ABP to advance sustainability

MAASTRICHT. Sever the ties with sectors that “are related to fossil fuels” as quickly as possible. That is Maastricht University’s message to pension fund ABP in a letter that is now on the UM website. The university also wants to hear from the fund how it will ensure that investments become more sustainable in the future.
“Commitment to democracy is something you should never take for granted”

“Commitment to democracy is something you should never take for granted”

How can the rule of law and democracy standards be safeguarded in the member states of the European Union? That’s the question Matteo Bonelli, assistant professor at the Faculty of Law, discusses in his dissertation, for which he has received the Dissertation Prize 2020. He provides the reader with “a thorough examination of the politic...

Research reveals a billion euro deficit in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch higher education system needs hundreds of millions of euros in extra funding annually, says a report that the government shared last week. The distribution of funds can also be improved.

Minister says rapid testing will allow spring campus openings

THE NETHERLANDS. Minister Van Engelshoven expects that some students will be able to safely return to campus thanks to rapid testing for coronavirus. According to the daily Trouw, the government has huge numbers of such tests ready to go.

New official statistics: no rise in mental health issues among young people in 2020

THE NETHERLANDS. Students are suffering psychologically from the coronavirus crisis – that’s the conclusion of one study after another. But according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the number of young people with psychological problems did not rise significantly (again) in 2020.
“Life will pick up again in Brussels, including the UM Campus”

“Life will pick up again in Brussels, including the UM Campus”

MAASTRICHT/BRUSSEL. What are things like in Brussels? The Campus on Montgomery roundabout, run by Maastricht University, has been under lock and key since October 2020 – all activities, like guest lectures and graduation ceremonies, are online. 
“I had ten registrations for the training within five minutes”

“I had ten registrations for the training within five minutes”

MAASTRICHT. Since Wednesday 3 March, student sports associations are allowed to organise outdoor sports activities in groups again. The triathletes are back on the athletics track at Jekerdal, the korfball players are going to play on the korfball field in Amby next week, and the Fyrfad volleyball players have also found an outdoor location.
“It was terrifying, having all those eyes on us”

“It was terrifying, having all those eyes on us”

How do you find a suitable topic for research? What is an efficient way to read an academic article? And how can you keep secondary-school pupils motivated during this process? With these and other questions, a teacher at secondary school Porta Mosana College in Maastricht approached University College Maastricht (UCM). Third-year students Alanna S...

UM wants this year too: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University wants to uphold the flexible transition between the bachelor’s and master’s study for next year too. Rector Rianne Letschert said to the University Council last week that they were waiting for the minister to approve. That approval is expected by mid-March.
Saurians back on the water with four at a time

Saurians back on the water with four at a time

MAASTRICHT. “So much fun, our first training again. It is strange to be in the boat with so many people ”, it sounds on Wednesday afternoon at the jetty at Saurus. The four rowers and the steer in the boat are looking forward to it. As of today, young people under the age of 27 practice sports together again.
INKOM 2021 theme: These are the times

INKOM 2021 theme: These are the times

MAASTRICHT. The theme for INKOM 2021 is ‘These are the times’, announced the Working Group INKOM (WGI) last Friday in a YouTube video. It is still not clear what the Inkom will look like this year. “At the moment, we are working with four scenarios,” says WGI chairperson and medical student Iris Vloet.
On choosing courses

On choosing courses

Course registration at Universidad Carlos III Madrid, Spain, was rather stressful. Only three days before I would hop on my flight to Madrid and thirty minutes before my final exam in Maastricht, I was asked to choose the five courses that I would take in the upcoming months, creating my time schedule and course combination entirely myself. I prepa...

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

MAASTRICHT. Student members of the law faculty council are anxious about the transitional regulations for the group who are following the ‘old’ Dutch Law programme, but who still have to resit exams – the programme has changed considerably since September. There are reports of study pressure, uncertainty and fear of not making it....
Online lecture starts with rap music by Missy Elliott

Online lecture starts with rap music by Missy Elliott

Whereas online lectures used to be an extra service for students who had slept through their alarm, or didn’t understand something that was said, in times of COVID-19 they constitute a vital part of the curriculum. Often combined with Q&A or plenary Zoom sessions. Nevertheless, how do you hold students’ attention online? Education i...

SBE: Too many holidays, period five extended by a week

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics (SBE) wants to extend period five as of next year by one week. This is necessary, because due to all the holidays during that period, too much education is lost and the seven intensive contact hours per week are not feasible. The academic staff (academic staff) fear an increase of workpressure.
Which model can predict how COVID-19 will progress?

Which model can predict how COVID-19 will progress?

How can you predict which COVID-19 patients will become seriously ill? And what are the chances of survival in patients who have been admitted to the ICU? From the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have been trying to find answers to these kinds of questions. Prediction models can help with this. But which model works well? Statistician Laure Wyna...

UPDATE: Will I be getting coronavirus support, too?

THE NETHERLANDS. The outgoing cabinet has earmarked an extra 8.5 billion euros to cushion the impact of the coronavirus crisis in the educational sector. Students will be compensated, too, but some will get more than others. You can check to find out.

Dutch Research Council (NWO) refuses to pay ransom to hackers

THE NETHERLANDS. The cyber attack on the Dutch Research Council’s network appears to have been perpetrated by DoppelPaymer, an internationally-operating ransomware group. The Dutch Research Council has refused to pay a ransom, even after some of their documents had been shared online.

Nuffic: lonely international students yearn for on-campus lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. International students are also struggling in these times of coronavirus crisis. Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, announced this in a new report. Many of these students feel lonely, anxious or even depressed. But an occasional physical class makes up for this to an extent.
Catch 22

Catch 22

In October I bought a new house. It still has to be built, so it will take at least one more year until we will actually move. Right now, it keeps us busy though, as we need to decide on many things; financial, construction and design related. Quite a job, and Covid-19 does not make it easier. It is interesting to observe how the corona measures...

“I can’t express myself in English as well as I can in Spanish”

“I can’t express myself in English as well as I can in Spanish”

Name: Cristina Palacios Mateo (27, Tudela, Spain) * Day job: PhD student at the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering) * Lives in: Maastricht * Civil status: is in a relationship
Opinion: Unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccination

Opinion: Unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccination

Covid-19 vaccines should be distributed equally – as should all medicine, says Maral Aghababai​, student at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life sciences and member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Maastricht in this opinion article.