Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:53

A new educational revolution in Maastricht?

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The Dutch labour market does not look particularly rosy for graduates in the coming years. According to a recent report by the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA), not even one in ten graduates seems to have particularly good prospects. The economic crisis is partly to blame, but universities would do well to consider whether their graduates meet the demands of the market. How are we doing in terms of employability? The researchers and professors Jeroen van Merriënboer and Rolf van der Velden are not in complete agreement.
“I didn’t have a poster of Bon Jovi in my student room. I had one of Plácido Domingo”, Martin Paul says with a smile. The president of Maastricht University saw his first opera in Saarbrücken at the age of six – and he was sold. “For me, opera is a way of switching off. Other people hike or play squash. I listen to opera.” But opera also sparks his curiosity as a doctor: he recently published an article on why conductors are more likely than others to die of a cardiac arrest.
This year Hans Clevers will hold the TEFAF chair in Maastricht, just one of the many honours he has received for his pioneering research on intestinal cancer. As president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Clevers cautions against the continuous cutbacks in research funding for Dutch universities. A new generation of scientists is being nipped in the bud, he warns.
The High Council of Nobility will celebrate its 200th anniversary on 23 June. René de Groot, Maastricht professor of Comparative Law and International Private Law, will deliver the keynote address in the presence of King Willem-Alexander. De Groot’s position on nobiliary law is anything but vague: one should refrain from overhauling such a historic institution. "But should you choose to modernise it, you have to treat men and women equally."
Contrary to the common claim, a surgical robot does not work faster and more accurately than a pair of human hands. This is the essence of new research by Jeroen Heemskerk (41), a surgeon at the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond. On 16 May, Heemskerk will defend his PhD research on robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery at Maastricht University (UM). “The use of robots can lower the quality of healthcare and certainly makes it more expensive. And that while we’re seeing cutbacks from all sides.”
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:51

Leading by example

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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.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014 11:06

Migrants and women underground

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PhD thesis on shortage of miners in Liège coal industry

In the late 1960s, 70% of miners in Liège came from abroad. “That was twice the proportion in the Belgian Limburg mines and almost five times more than in Dutch Limburg”, says Leen Roels. She recently obtained her PhD at Maastricht University for her research on the structural shortage of miners in the Liège coal industry. Her thesis addresses not just the use of migrant workers, but also the participation of women in the Liège mines. Until now, little was known about this either. “From an emancipation perspective, the prohibition on women working underground was actually a step backwards.”

Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:23

The first European presidential debate

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Writing European history in Maastricht

At the end of May, it is up to us to decide what course the future of Europe will take. We, the citizens of Europe, will elect a new European Parliament. This allows us to have a say in who will succeed José Manuel Barroso as president of the European Commission – the most powerful post in the European Union. During a debate broadcast around the world, the presidential candidates will cross swords for the first time. Date: 28 April. Location: Maastricht. Where else?

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:51

A Place Called Home (video)

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PhD dissertation Katja Sillen

This dissertation describes the cognitive process of identification with place brands and its effects on behaviour. More and more places are engaging in branding efforts in order to attract prospectiveresidents but struggle when it comes to the application of product and services marketingtools to the context of place branding and the role of residents in the branding process.


UM alumnus Floris van Wanroij debuts at TEFAF
Alongside the internationally renowned galleries featuring masterpieces by Van Gogh and other artists, this year’s TEFAF will feature pieces curated by Floris van Wanroij Fine Art. Newcomer Floris van Wanroij, a UM alum, will present pieces from his collection of Old Masters and late medieval sculptures. “TEFAF is the best platform you could have.”
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 15:03

It’s a man’s world – but not for long

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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?

‘Sexual dysfunction? If I don’t accidentally get pregnant and don’t have an STD, everything’s just fine’, many young people seem to think. Women not reaching orgasm, men ejaculating prematurely – either young people do not see these as problems, or the threshold for seeking help is too high. Yet, 27% of male and 43% of female 15- to 24-year-olds suffer from at least one sexual dysfunction. PhD candidate Andrea Grauvogl studied the extent of young people’s knowledge of these issues and developed a brief, anonymous counselling course. She also examined the relationship between sexual functioning and disgust. Here she discusses her dissertation, ‘Let’s talk about sex!’

Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:47

A porcelain vase for a regiment

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During his PhD in chemistry in Utrecht, Thomas Cleij could only process his research data in the lab at night; by day, the equipment was being used. That meant killing time until the data had been processed. Out of boredom, he would surf the internet. In 1997 that was a lesser beast than it is today. Amazon and Ebay were still in their infancy – and for Cleij, that was no bad thing. He became one of the first sellers of antique Chinese and Japanese porcelain on the internet.

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