Machines with meaning

In Mind
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 08:06

Fundamental and applied research, international study programmes and new insights into imaging technology with super advanced MRI scanners – this is Brains Unlimited in a nutshell. Along with a new incubator building and new housing for the research groups of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, it is home to a first-rate scanning facility. The 9.4 Tesla MRI scanner is only the fourth of its kind worldwide, and opens up unlimited possibilities for researchers and entrepreneurs from all over the world. On 29 October HM The King Willem-Alexander will officially open Brains Unlimited. Maastricht University magazine interviews some of the brains behind the project.


The LPZ is an annual snapshot of healthcare problems, focusing on the treatment of pressure ulcers, malnutrition, incontinence and other issues. For 15 years, it has been an indispensable monitor of quality improvements for institutions. Dr Ruud Halfens, the Maastricht creator and project leader of the LPZ monitor, is now fielding increasing interest from abroad.

Understanding the human brain

In Mind
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

"Our brain is a universe, and that universe I want to understand", says Rainer Goebel, professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Maastricht Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. Recently, the chances of his dream coming true have significantly increased. The reason? A green light and hence a €500 million grant for the Human Brain Project, which was announced last January as one of only two Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship projects funded by the European Commission. The aim of the project is to unravel the secrets of the brain, and it is up to Goebel to represent Maastricht University in the endeavour.


The robots are marching on

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00
“The future has already begun.” Gerhard Weiss, professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, prepares us for the coming onrush in robotics. Like his colleague Tsjalling Swierstra, professor of Philosophy, he thinks robots will make our lives more comfortable, but also more complicated. We should see robots as helpers, saysWeiss,not as enemies.Swierstra is decidedly more reserved: we will need to control the new technology, lest it controls us.

“Every year we expose thousands of newborn babies to inhuman treatment.” This is the legal opinion of Jan Willems, a researcher on the structural prevention of child abuse. The main reason: the sacred cow of automatic parental authority. Willems calls for a different approach to dealing with the perils of unprepared parenthood. “Rather than child protection via postnatal intervention, we should be focusing on prenatal care and parenting education.”

In his inaugural lecture on 11 April, Philippe Delespaul will call for a more innovative and sustainable system of mental healthcare. With this lecture, entitled ‘Mental healthcare in the Netherlands: Back to square one?’ (Terug naar af met de GGZ?), Delespaul accepts the endowed chair ‘Innovations in Dutch mental healthcare’ at Maastricht University. Today’s economic crisis has left few areas unaffected, including the mental healthcare system (geestelijke gezondheidszorg, or GGZ). The focus in Delespaul’s research is how to use the limited financial resources in a better and more creative way.

“Preaching the Maastricht gospel”

In Money
Thursday, 28 February 2013 09:10
There was no need for a headhunter this time. Jan Kees Dunning read the ad in the newspaper and thought: “This job was made for me.” He applied for the position and, after eight rounds of interviews with the many stakeholders in the Maastricht Health Campus, was appointed as its new CEO on 1 February. As the Amsterdam native puts it, “They wanted someone from outside the region.” 

Leading in eating

In Society
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 15:38
Maastricht University’s Eatwell project, designed to promote healthier lifestyles and eating habits, was launched one year ago. In addition to its large scale, this project is unique for its interfaculty character, spanning the faculties of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Law, Economics and Psychology. The project is the brainchild of the NUTRIM research institute, with director Annemie Schols at the helm.

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