What do you think of when you imagine a hacker? A solitary, nerdy guy in his mid-30s breaking into a computer system? Or the Guy Fawkes mask, the symbol of the ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous? Reality turns out to be much more nuanced, as we learn from assistant professor of Digital Culture Annika Richterich.
Valentina and Mariana Mazzucato are both leading scholars in their fields of research: migration and the economics of innovation, respectively. Valentina, professor at Maastricht University, recently received the 500th prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), while Mariana, professor at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, gained worldwide acclaim with her latest book The Entrepreneurial State. Judging by these sisters, if there’s a key to success, it’s enthusiasm.
Given the opportunity to trade in Tilburg for Maastricht University (UM), she said ‘yes’ in a heartbeat. “Think on it? What does that mean? Taking a walk in the woods to do some soul-searching? That’s not my style. I make decisions quickly and rarely regret them afterwards. We all like to pretend we make rational, conscious decisions, but we should have faith in our subconscious.”
If a Dutch person is suspected of theft in Poland then he or she is automatically put on an aeroplane to Poland and held in custody there until the court case. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) which makes that possible is based on the trust that procedural rights in EU Member States are comparable just like the conditions in prisons. “But that surrender practice is based on a misconception”, says PhD researcher Wouter van Ballegooij, who for many years studied these matters and also worked in the European Parliament. “Collaboration is not the same as subjecting yourself to the will of the other party. Certainly not if that is to the detriment of individual rights.” His thesis describes how it can or, to be honest, must be done differently. “Now is the time to act.” Take the case of Robert Hörchner. This Dutchman from the province of Brabant was handed over to the Polish authorities in 2007, because he was suspected of involvement in the renting of a Polish building where cannabis was being grown. He was remanded in custody for ten months where he shared a cell with nine others, including hard criminals, in appalling conditions. After paying 4500 euros in bail he was allowed to return to the Netherlands where amongst other things he was diagnosed with a post-traumatic stress disorder.
Clemens van Blitterswijk’s tissue regeneration research group comes to Maastricht
“I’ve spent most of my career with one foot in academia and one in the business world. And I want to do both of them well.” Clemens van Blitterswijk is indeed ambitious – not to mention successful – in both domains. He has received numerous awards, is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and was recently named the most entrepreneurial scientist in the country. His research group, which specialises in bone and cartilage repair, is among the best in the world. This year, the group will be relocating to Maastricht University as the MERLN Institutefor Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine.
The fact that men and women differ in many ways should be taken into account in scientific research more often, according to the European Commission. Therefore, researchers applying for a grant from the new European framework programme Horizon 2020 must indicate how their study design addresses sex and gender differences. The Maastricht researcher Ineke Klinge led the EU project Gendered Innovations, which developed a checklist to help researchers meet this obligation. How do three UM professors view this development?