Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:27

Two economics master’s in 18 months

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Maastricht University has been offering a double degree programme since summer 2012. Students with a bachelor’s degree in economics can obtain two master’s degrees within 18 months: one in Maastricht and the other from one of five carefully selected partner universities. Joana Tremoceiro from Portugal and Matthijs Rameckers from the Netherlands were among the first graduates – and they are already nostalgic about the programme.

Armand Lumens studied international management in Maastricht University’s early years. Back then, Problem-Based Learning was brand new, an unknown entity, and he and his fellow students were pioneers. “My teachers were young and passionate; I learned to solve problems and to work with others.” As it turns out, his time at UM kicked off a fantastic career: the Limburg native is now a top executive at Shell.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:14

“We were adults in miniature”

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The three gowns – two red ones from Maastricht University and a black one from the University of Amsterdam – are lugged along in grocery bags for the photo session. It’s not often that three brothers, born into a middle-class family, all become professors. “True. But you might do better to ask why only three of the seven of us became professors”, jokes the oldest of the three. Gynaecologist Jan Nijhuis (UM), psychologist Frans Nijhuis (UM) and cultural scientist Ton Nijhuis (now UvA, but formerly of UM) talk about injustice, courage and long hair.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:57

“Pavlov, does that ring a bell?”

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According to ‘eating professor’ Anita Jansen, a scientist must also be a writer. Those who write clearly think clearly, she teaches her PhD candidates. And apparently, they listen: Karolien van den Akker is barely halfway through her PhD research, but has already won the Publication Prize of the journal De Psycholoog. “I can’t stand ‘authority arguments’”, says Jansen. “You know, of the sort: I’m a professor so that’s how it is.”

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:50

Schönberg’s loss

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Groningen, early 1980s. The sociology student Peter Peters – now a lecturer at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – attends a performance of modern classical music for the first time. The Schönberg Ensemble performs chamber music by Anton Webern, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. It is a revelation; Peters is deeply moved by the intensity of the performance. A few years later he meets De Leeuw, a veritable ambassador of contemporary classical music, in the flesh. Many meetings later, Peters would write the musical biography Klankwerelden. De twintigste eeuw van Reinbert de Leeuw (‘Sound worlds: The 20th century of Reinbert de Leeuw’), which was published for the conductor’s 75th birthday.

In 2005 André Postema relocated to Maastricht. His wife, a gynaecologist, had already worked in the Maastricht academic hospital for five years. Postema had been shuffling back and forth between Maastricht and Utrecht, where he was vice president of Capgemini. When their children arrived, it was time to settle in Limburg – and so began his eight-year term as vice president of the university’s Executive Board. In January, during the Dies Natalis ceremony, Postema took his leave with an address entitled ‘Maastricht University: a love story’. “That genuinely reflects my experience here”, he says. “I think Maastricht is the finest university in the Netherlands, and I also think I had the best job in it.”

PhD dissertation Jonne van der Zwet


Today, medical students spend a substantive amount of their time in clinical learning environments, where they are known as med students, apprentices, interns, or clerks. In such a way, they can develop into doctors of medicine. However,the extent to which these settings  offer them learning experiences varies widely. This PhD dissertation explains by two different clerkships how both the learning process and supervision of students are embedded in social interaction.



Wednesday, 15 January 2014 08:45

Reading a paper on the moon

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Peter Peters rides his tractor from his father’s farm to his grandfather’s farm. His grandfather is also called Peter, as are many of the eldest sons in the Peters family. With fitting pride, this Peter shows off his ancestral land in Hunsel, Central Limburg. Well into his teens, it seemed that he, like his forefathers, would spend his life on this land. Until he was bitten by the research bug, that is. Now a professor of Nanobiology, he is one of the world’s leading experts in nanomolecular research on the immune system. “Quite the contrast, isn’t it?”, he says from his oldtimer. Peters recently became Maastricht University’s first ‘university professor’.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) can be detected in the Netherlands by taking a neonatal heel prick several days after birth. Paediatrician Annette Vernooij-Van Langen (37) conducted doctoral research on the benefits, consequences and cost-effectiveness of two new CF screening methods. The results of her research changed how neonatal heel pricks are performed in the Netherlands. Since 1 May 2011, all newborns are screened for CF. 
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:10

Working on activation (video)

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In today’s welfare state, labour participation is viewed as the ideal tool for gauging a person’s social participation and a way to promote individual and social prosperity. This, however, has proven extremely difficult to implement in practice, particularly for people with disabilities. This dissertation reveals how the specific design of activation in vocational rehabilitation programmes unintentionally achieves opposite results. It also reveals how professionals are hampered in supporting the most vulnerable individuals due to the framework within which they operate. At the same time, this analysis demonstrates how (professional) creativity and more discretionary space can reverse processes of exclusion. These analyses are based on stories about disabilities, vocational rehabilitation and (labour) participation told by clients and professionals.


Our bladder is not only controlled by signals from our brain – it also has its own regulatory mechanism. On 22 November, Sajjad Rahnama’i (34), a medical doctor from Iran, will defend his PhD research on overactive bladder syndrome (OAB). The Maastricht University (UM) researcher was the first in the world to identify prostaglandin E receptors in the bladder wall that can help in the treatment of OAB.
“Every individual with a developmental disorder has the right to a diagnosis.” These are the words of Connie Stumpel, professor of Clinical Genetics at Maastricht University and head of the Clinical Genetics outpatient clinic at the MUMC+. She also chairs the board of the Stichting Vooruit, a foundation for children with disabilities.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 09:30

“Toilet innovation is important”

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Toilets may not be the sexiest of topics. But for UNU-MERIT Maastricht researcher Shuan SadreGhazi, they are a highly significant – if neglected – phenomenon. “Today, more than 2.4 billion people in the world don’t have access to a proper sanitation system.”

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