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Entries for April 2021

Liveblog: UM and the corona crisis

Liveblog: UM and the corona crisis

MON 3 MAY - September: back to campus with mouth mask In September, students can come back to the campus again, without the one meter and a half distance. But the masks are still there and there are no more than 75 students in the lecture hall allowed. That is the "basic scenario" that outgoing Minister Van Engelshove...

President Martin Paul leaves UM

President Martin Paul leaves UM

MAASTRICHT. President of the Executive Board professor Martin Paul is leaving Maastricht University after thirteen years. As of 1 November, he will become rector at the Ruhr Universität in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia. He will not complete his third term: “I wasn’t planning on leaving, but this is a unique opportunity.”
“Cells like rock music”

“Cells like rock music”

How can you make stronger and at the same time more flexible implants to repair broken bones? This is what Italian scientist Lorenzo Moroni, professor connected to the Merln institute, is going to investigate using the Vici grant of one and a half million euro, which he recently received from NWO.
10.000 euro for a YouTube channel, series of lectures or digital platform

10.000 euro for a YouTube channel, series of lectures or digital platform

MAASTRICHT. Seven UM (teams of) scientists have received 10 thousand euro because of their merits in the field of science communication. The money has come from the so-called ‘Pilot Fund Science Communication by Scientists: Appreciated!’, founded by the Ministry of Education and implemented by KNAW.
Faculties expand possibilities for meeting up

Faculties expand possibilities for meeting up

MAASTRICHT. The decision that students are allowed back on campus as of this week, comes when Maastricht University is in the middle of period 5. Transferring from online to hybrid causes too much unrest for staff and students, say the faculty managers. That is why education will remain online. Although people are now trying to make the faculty (ev...
I had Corona

I had Corona

One week ago, I woke up, dragged myself to my laptop for a morning filled with online classes and thesis meetings, and then fell back on my bed to sleep for the rest of the day. Every time I tried to get up, not wanting to be lazy in a time when homework and deadlines were towering up, my head ached so much that I quickly decided to crawl back unde...

“I am so ashamed. I failed”

“I am so ashamed. I failed”

“8:00 o’clock. The alarm goes off. Eat some breakfast and stick a book about all the Tour de Frances of the past 100 years in my bag. From 9:00 until 12:00, I have an 'exam'. A flatmate wishes me good luck as I leave. I walk at a gentle pace to the city park, hoping that I don’t meet anyone I know. Once I get to my favouri...
Attracting professional football players with low taxes

Attracting professional football players with low taxes

He wrote his bachelor’s thesis on professional football players moving to another country for its low tax rates. But in the next academic year, Kevin van Abswoude – now a master’s student of Tax Law – will likely move to Sweden: a country with relatively high taxes.
How can you get a child to eat Brussels sprouts?

How can you get a child to eat Brussels sprouts?

Everyone knows of a child who despises Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or kiwis. But why, actually? Is it the taste, the texture, the expectation that they have of them? Also, is there a way to get picky eaters to enjoy eating their vegetables and fruit? Sjaan Nederkoorn, professor of Cognitive Psychology, has received a Vici grant of 1.5 million to ...

International students less and less happy in the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. International students in the Netherlands had already been faced with struggles and the coronavirus situation has not changed things for the better, according to a new survey. They more often feel lonely and stressed, have more money problems and struggle with online education.
Time to Open Up

Time to Open Up

By the time we all are ready to leave the lockdown, COVID visited my household last week. After a year of limited movement, working from home, only occasional visitors and too much social distancing we had a guest that brought us the disease. He did not know he was ill and infected my partner. Luckily, the kids and I tested negative. The provided i...

Bringing a map to life

Bringing a map to life

The UM has opened its doors for artists who want to carry out artistic research and in doing so acquire a PhD title. At the moment, there are two art PhD projects, one of which is about ‘cartopology’. The visual artist maps out an area on the drawing board, but also becomes involved in the inhabitants in order to discover how they use t...
Test policy is a logistical nightmare, says Rector

Test policy is a logistical nightmare, says Rector

MAASTRICHT. From next week, students can go to university one day a week. The rules according to a new bill: students test themselves beforehand and if they are negative they can enter. If they cannot - or do not want to - show a negative self-test result, the university must provide alternative education. The Executive Board is “not hap...
Hospital decisions during COVID: how do they affect employees?

Hospital decisions during COVID: how do they affect employees?

What has changed in five hospitals in Limburg over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic? A lot, according to a study conducted by Maastricht University researchers Daan Westra and Bram Fleuren. Hospitals closed departments, introduced twelve-hour shifts, set up screening tents, and began to provide psychosocial support for struggling employee...
8 deadlines, 10 days

8 deadlines, 10 days

It is an open secret that UM students wait for the day that they get to go on their semester abroads filled with anticipation and excitement. Aside from the obvious reasons for this, like getting to step outside of your comfort zone, exploring new cultures, and making new friends, one major promise is that you will finally discover the true meaning...

FPN to start pilot with mentor for young researchers

MAASTRICHT. From career advice to support in finding the right balance between work and private life. From September, young post-doc researchers and assistant professors at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences can reach out to a mentor.  

Finally! Higher education open for one day a week again

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. From next Monday on, students are allowed to come to the campus of their university or university of applied sciences again one day a week. This was just confirmed by outgoing Prime Minister Rutte during a press conference.
Two UM researchers in the running for New Scientist Wetenschapstalent

Two UM researchers in the running for New Scientist Wetenschapstalent

Biomedical scientist Aurélie Carlier and neuroscientist Kay Dekkers have been nominated for the election of New Scientist Wetenschapstalent 2021. The non-specialist scientific journal has selected a total of fifteen researchers from dozens who were put forward by the universities. Carlier designed a virtual patient that doctors can use to get a ...

UM staff and students compete for highest number of steps

UM staff and students compete for highest number of steps

With the motto ‘Get active in spring!’ 750 employees and 350 students from Maastricht University have started walking. Between 12 April and 5 May, they are going to try and make 178.500 steps, or about 8,500 steps per day. The faculty or service centre that manages to do this first, wins the UM steps challenge. An Observant journalist d...
Is economics a religion?

Is economics a religion?

If you studied economics, then you were probably told that it provides an objective and value-free approach to the use and distribution of scarce resources. What, however, if economics is less objective than is commonly presupposed? What if some of its content is religious, rather than value-free, in nature? It may seem unlikely, but it&rsquo...

"Many people see male anger as a sign of strength, whereas women’s anger is often not appreciated"

"Many people see male anger as a sign of strength, whereas women’s anger is often not appreciated"

She was – and still is – intrigued by the #MeToo movement, which seemingly came out of nowhere but appears to be here to stay. Wouldn’t that be a suitable thesis topic for her bachelor’s degree in Arts and Culture?
The curse of scientific junk journals

The curse of scientific junk journals

The advance of open access is accompanied by a proliferation of journals that appear to regard making money as being more important than academic knowledge, and that is causing increasing resentment. A UM professor is an advocate for a mark of quality to sift the wheat from the chaff.
Rector Rianne Letschert investigates Dutch support for Syrian terrorists

Rector Rianne Letschert investigates Dutch support for Syrian terrorists

MAASTRICHT/The NETHERLANDS. Did the Dutch government supply goods to terrorist groups in Syria between 2015 and 2018? And how did the decision to support the Syrian opposition come about? A committee, set up by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is going to look into these questions from April this year until October 2022. Rector Rianne Letschert is ...
'Eight hours by train at your destination? Then no airplane'

'Eight hours by train at your destination? Then no airplane'

MAASTRICHT. More train, less plane. See here the shortest possible summary of the proposal for the new flight policy of Maastricht University. Last Tuesday, the UM sustainability team presented the first ideas during an online information session. Not everyone present is convinced: "How should the research units pay for this?"

Dutch Research Council awards Vici grants to two Maastricht scientists

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. Why do children refuse to eat vegetables? Can bacteria protect natural stone? The Dutch Research Council will be awarding a Vici grant worth 1.5 million euros to 33 top scientists to answer these and other questions. Two of them are affiliated with Maastricht University: Prof. Chantal Nederkoorn (FPN) and Prof....
Students collect money for lonely elderly

Students collect money for lonely elderly

MAASTRICHT. They skipped last year because of COVID-19, but in 2021 Ragweek’s charities week is back. Between 16 and 23 April, students work together with student associations and sports associations to collect money for the “Met je hart” (With your Heart) foundation, which supports lonely elderly people in Maastricht.

Over 46,000 students want their tuition back

THE NETHERLANDS. In light of the ongoing lockdown measures, over 46,000 students have signed a petition demanding either a full tuition refund for the current academic year or a free ride next year. The initiators of the petition will present their proposal to the House of Representatives.
“Students again have to deal with the crap”

“Students again have to deal with the crap”

MAASTRICHT. Are the 252 prefab homes in Randwyck independent living units for which the inhabitant can apply for rent benefits? Or should they be ‘regular’ student rooms according to the permit issued? This has caused a conflict between Studentenhuisvesting Maastricht and the city of Maastricht. The University Council is ...
Ramadan in a box: video cooking with refugees

Ramadan in a box: video cooking with refugees

Ramadan has started. Normally speaking, Muslims would come together every evening for four weeks to break fast with an elaborate meal – the iftar. As this is not possible at the moment, the Refugee Project Maastricht and Islamic student association Nour have thought of something that will still make it special: Ramadan in a box.
125 million euro for ‘Maastricht’ projects

125 million euro for ‘Maastricht’ projects

NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The Nationaal Groeifonds (National Growth Fund) has reserved 125 million euro for two projects, the origin of which is in Maastricht: the Regmed XB institute, which is researching regenerative medicine, and Health RI, which wants to streamline health data from hospitals and health care facilities.
UM Mask Stalk through Madrid

UM Mask Stalk through Madrid

This is the story of how UM's masks turned me into a (very short-time) stalker. The first time I saw her, she was sitting a few rows away from me on the train that I always take when I go home from university. Instead of reading my Spanish book on Civil Rights, I got addicted to a podcast and spent the 15-minute train ride listening to Anush...

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

MAASTRICHT. Even though there is more and more criticism from – among others – the academic world regarding collaboration with China, Maastricht University strengthens its bonds and welcomes about seventy Chinese doctoral students with grants, 50 per cent more than last year. “You must not stigmatise them; you must work with them ...
The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

MAASTRICHT. Will the university be able to open its doors like normal in September? Or will the 1.5-meter distance still be a leading factor? The University Council’s education and research committee heard this week that the UM is preparing itself for both scenarios.
Too ill to pursue her master’s degree

Too ill to pursue her master’s degree

Prize winner Imke van der Velden (21, suspended her master’s degree in Health Food Innovation Management at UM) studied the behaviour of fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds. Can they be persuaded to eat a healthier, more plant-based diet through Instagram?

Campuses to open up again, even if there are self-test shortages

THE NETHERLANDS. Even if self-test deliveries to higher education institutions end up falling short this month, students will still be allowed to go to campus again one day a week. This was announced by the Ministry of Education last week.
An unexpected 11 million extra for UM

An unexpected 11 million extra for UM

MAASTRICHT. In the coming years, universities will receive more money from the government than initially promised. The reason: this year many more students enrolled at a Dutch university than estimated. That estimate is always the basis for the financing. Maastricht University will receive 11 million extra next year. That is earlier than usual in s...
“We're considering a merger on 1 September 2021”

“We're considering a merger on 1 September 2021”

MAASTRICHT. Again, there are talks of integrating the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) into Maastricht University, and this time chances of success seem greater than ever. It was dean Peter Møllgaard who recently said in a faculty meeting of the School of Business and Economics that a merger was underway. MSM would move in with SBE at Tapijn. ...
COVID-19-proof studying in SBE classrooms

COVID-19-proof studying in SBE classrooms

MAASTRICHT. A couple of large tables, four chairs, cleaning cloths and a bin in each room. For a week now, there have also been study spaces available at the School of Business and Economics. With this, it is the first faculty where this is possible.
Emerge into cultures, locally

Emerge into cultures, locally

It's Easter, which in a Catholic country like Spain means: one whole week of holiday, of sunshine, and of freedom. Well, as much freedom as you can have during a pandemic, that is. In Madrid, one of the better places to be in Europe right now when it comes to Corona restrictions (a reason why French youth migrates here almost religiously, makin...

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

THE NETHERLANDS. Politics is threatening to deal a blow to the internationalisation of higher education and research. Don’t let this happen, warns Freddy Weima, outgoing director of the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education Nuffic.
A Toddler’s Wisdom on Happiness

A Toddler’s Wisdom on Happiness

My toddler recently learned the word cracker. Whenever he feels hungry (or even when he doesn’t), he proudly demands for one. The genuine enthusiasm that he displays upon receiving a relatively bland cracker (which I’ve tried just to be sure) is something that baffles me. Firmly gripping the cracker, he celebrates as if he’s just ...

“People are fed up with online meetings”

“People are fed up with online meetings”

Student organisations bring students together, but how can you do that during a pandemic? How can you create a spirit of community when meeting in real life is not an option? Various student organisations in Maastricht reported similar problems dealing with online events; people are done with online meetings, don’t always show up when they sa...
"There is too little money for too many students"

"There is too little money for too many students"

MAASTRICHT. The statue of Fons Olterdissen on the Grote Looiersstraat and a group of professors and lecturers are wearing a red beret this Tuesday morning. Five in total, because they were not allowed to call to demonstrate because of corona. Action group WO in Actie calls for attention to the plight of higher education. The problem in short: &ldqu...
“Everyone said: you won’t manage; you will have turned back before you get to Eindhoven”

“Everyone said: you won’t manage; you will have turned back before you get to Eindhoven”

Lockdown or not, American student Jacob Herbert flew to the Netherlands for a semester at Maastricht University halfway through January. Just like six fellow countrymen, who also ventured to cross the ocean, he is now participating in the tutorial group meetings online, from his room in the Guesthouse. “I thought, I will just go and see. I ha...

Buy a paper? Click on a link from your own university

US/AUSTRALIA. Hundreds of universities in the United States and Australia are the victims of hackers, who do not shut down systems, but place links to ‘essay mills’, rogue websites where students can buy papers.
UM Walks: 1,700 times stretching the legs

UM Walks: 1,700 times stretching the legs

Seventeen hundred meetups have already taken place since UM Walks was launched at the end of February. The idea is simple: you register and every Monday you are matched with either a student or an employee from Maastricht University who is also a participant. Together, you agree on a time that week to either walk or chat together.
How well can a device monitor patients?

How well can a device monitor patients?

Patients recovering from surgery or who have been admitted to a general hospital ward via the Accident & Emergency department may deteriorate suddenly. To monitor these patients, nurses make rounds to check their heart rate, breathing rate and blood oxygen levels. Prize winner Tom Den Ridder (25, currently working as an Intensive Care Unit doct...
SBE: more policy-oriented research, more diversity

SBE: more policy-oriented research, more diversity

MAASTRICHT. October 2019, Maastricht University Campus Brussels. The Board of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) is on an awayday to discuss what they want the next five years to look like, before the topic will be discussed faculty-wide. There will need to be more diversity among students and staff. The educational model will remain the sa...
“Working from home is not a right, nor is it compulsory”

“Working from home is not a right, nor is it compulsory”

MAASTRICHT. Are we going to return to our familiar work spaces at the university? Or will we continue to mainly work from home after COVID-19? It will most likely be a combination of both, the Taskforce The Future of Working at UM expects. Before we get that far, a lot has to be sorted.
Opinion article: A call for proposals, now also in education!

Opinion article: A call for proposals, now also in education!

It makes me rather cynical…finding an email from FHML with a call for proposals along six themes in order to fulfill the Quality Agreement that promised students and teaching staff more resources for high quality education, after taking away the Studiefinanciering from the students, says Carijn Beumer.
Physicists hint of new force of nature

Physicists hint of new force of nature

An experiment carried out in Geneva, in which the UM took part for the past two years, shows that the world of the smallest particles may behave differently than physicists thought.
The Ultimate Test

The Ultimate Test

From the first day I walked into my apartment in Spain and met my new housemates, we've gotten along. To be fair, I have joked about the fact that they're all French and that my Spanish is suffering as a result, something compensated for by croissants that are regularly placed in the kitchen for all to take. But the bottom line is that they...