The shortage of student accommodation has grown continuously in recent years. According to the National Student Accommodation Monitor (Landelijke Monitor Studentenhuisvesting), presented today, there is now a shortage of almost 27,000 student housing units. The shortage is expected to increase to a total of 44,800 units in the twenty largest university cities by the 2029/2030 academic year. The National Action Plan for Student Accommodation (Landelijk Actieplan Studentenhuisvesting) was signed today to address this problem. The plan presents agreements among the government, accommodation providers, universities and student organisations on actions to be taken over the next years. The action plan’s goal is to make an additional 60,000 affordable student housing units available over the 2022-2030 period.
On the 27th of June Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) organised, in collaboration with ARMA-NL, a Learning Community session for Research Support Offices (RSO). More than one hundred grant advisors, RSO heads, research managers and other interested participants from all over the country joined the event. The main aim was to exchange knowledge and best-practices to further strengthen and professionalise Research Support Offices.
Research and innovation are key enablers for the implementation of the Green Deal. There is an enormous urge to work together among different types of stakeholders. Long term mission-oriented funding schemes and sufficient human capital are needed to deliver on the ambitions. These were some of the key points raised during the hybrid event on the Green Deal and research, jointly organized by Neth-ER and Universities of the Netherlands on June 21st, 2022.
On 14 April, the advisory committee of the National Growth Fund announced which Growth Fund applications would be granted in the second round, following which the government has decided to facilitate further development of the relevant projects. Many universities are involved in the various projects for which Growth Fund applications have been granted, confirming their essential contribution to knowledge development, creating impact and valorisation. Pieter Duisenberg, President of Universities of the Netherlands: ‘Through top-class education and research, universities are contributing to solutions to major social challenges facing the Netherlands, including digitalisation, lifelong learning and research into biotechnology. Thanks to the huge investments made through the National Growth Fund, we can now speed up our contribution and deploy our knowledge and expertise in projects that ensure that our social impact can grow.’ In addition to the participation in projects by individual universities, Universities of the Netherlands is itself a consortium partner in three projects for which Growth Fund applications have been granted: Biotech Booster, National Lifelong Learning Catalyst (Nationale LLO-Katalysator), and Education Digitalisation Drive (Digitaliseringsimpuls Onderwijs).
The Russian military assault on Ukraine has profoundly shocked knowledge institutions in the Netherlands, as represented by Universities of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Dutch Research Council, the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres and The Young Academy. This is a direct assault on liberty and democracy, which are the fundamental values undergirding academic freedom and cooperation. Dutch knowledge institutions remain fully committed to providing help to Ukrainian students and staff.
All 14 universities affiliated with Universities of the Netherlands have received a request under the Government Information (Public Access) Act from The Rights Forum to disclose ‘the institutional ties of Dutch universities with universities, institutions and businesses in Israel and with organisations that propagate support for the State of Israel’. This request has prompted a number of questions and caused considerable unrest. All universities governed by the Government Information (Public Access) Act will petition the party that submitted the request for a delay, so that they have time to process it.
Dutch universities are ecstatic that students will be able to return to university buildings as of 18 February. The maximum group size will also lapse at that time, and the need to wear face masks will lapse on 25 February. The recommendation to work from home has already been relaxed. The recommendation is now to work from home if possible and to spend no more than half of your working hours at the university. Universities will discuss this with their employees. Additionally, to the universities’ relief, the proposal to introduce COVID certificates in higher education has been withdrawn.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, 340,346 students are enrolled at Dutch universities. This is over 13,000 (4%) more than the record year 2020-2021, when there was an increase of 24,000 students (8%), partly due to the coronavirus crisis. This is evident from the final enrolment figures of the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL). The growing numbers of students will ensure that the pressure on universities remains unabated.
Higher education and senior secondary vocational education must take place in person again as soon as possible. This is what the student unions JOB, ISO and LSVb, the Netherlands Association of Senior Secondary Vocational Schools, the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands Association for Psychiatry, the National Youth Council and the Universities of the Netherlands are calling for. In a letter to the Outbreak Management Team, the organisations argue that educational institutions must be able to welcome all students back on campus as soon as possible. This is crucial to the quality of education and students’ well-being.