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Universities get green light for Growth Fund projects

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).

Support to Ukrainian, Russian and Belarussian students and staff members at Dutch universities

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.

Supplementary statement regarding the request under the Government Information (Public Access) Act submitted by The Rights Forum - 21 February 

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.

All constraints to face-to-face teaching removed, work-from-home recommendation relaxed

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.

340,000 students enrolled in universities this academic year

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.

Student organisations and educational institutions call for opening of senior secondary vocational education and higher education

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. 

Universities of the Netherlands present Lifelong Learning platform

From business administrator to engineer and from communication professional to agronomist. Whether you want to improve the world or your chances on the labour market, you can continue to develop your skills at the university throughout life. Today, the universities of the Netherlands are launching the new online platform www.universitairdoorleren.nl. Pieter Duisenberg, president of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands: ‘Our working lives and the labour market have changed dramatically. People are increasingly aware of the importance of continuing to develop their skills. Together with the education providers at senior secondary vocational and higher professional education level, we are setting up a broad range for this purpose. We are launching this new online platform to make our existing online courses more visible to those who wish to continue learning at the university.’

Wetenschappelijke commissie adviseert ABP: investeer alleen in bedrijven met ambitieuze duurzaamheidsplannen 

et ABP moet stoppen met beleggen in bedrijven die veel CO2 uitstoten en bovendien geen ambitieuze duurzaamheidsplannen hebben. Dit adviseert de Wetenschappelijke Commissie Duurzaam Beleggingsbeleid ABP (‘de commissie’) vandaag. Deze onafhankelijke commissie van wetenschappelijke experts brengt vanaf deze maand twee keer per jaar advies uit aan het ABP over maatschappelijk verantwoord beleggingsbeleid.

Progress of measures to reduce pressure on the research system

NWO en de Nederlandse universiteiten hebben minister van Engelshoven (OCW) geïnformeerd over de voortgang van het integraal plan systeemdruk. In januari 2020 presenteerden NWO en Universiteiten van Nederland een pakket aan maatregelen om de toenemende aanvraagdruk en werkdruk onder wetenschappelijk personeel te verlagen. Met de voortgangsrapportage laten we zien welke belangrijke stappen er het afgelopen jaar zijn gezet om de ambities te realiseren.