Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:43

Social in heart and mind

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Her parents founded the Michelin star restaurant De Echoput in Apeldoorn, now run by her brother. As a child she helped out by washing dishes, and from the age of 14 she ran the souvenir shop with her sister. She learned from her parents the value of hard work and independence. “And from my father I learned to be authentic. To stand up for your beliefs and stay true to yourself.” Rather than follow her brother into the family business, she decided to spread her wings. Now professor of Social Law specialising in labour and social security law, Saskia Klosse was appointed to the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) in August.  

Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:33

The voice of the European Commission

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She was born in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, grew up in Cologne, did European Studies at Maastricht University (UM) and obtained her LLM in Edinburgh. Mina Andreeva has now spent six years in Brussels, where she works as a spokesperson for the European Commission (EC). It would be hard for someone to feel more European. “Even as a young girl, I dreamt of life in the European political arena.”

Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:15

UM students head to Japan for double degree

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Call it a kind of integration ritual. An extended introduction to Japanese traditions and customs, including soaking up culture in temples and shrines and attending a school festival in a kimono. This awaited the UM students of the European–Japan double master’s degree in Neuroscience (Edu-Neuro EU-JP) on their arrival in Japan.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:07

PhD candidate piques professor’s curiosity

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As a researcher at the Dutch Inspectorate of Education, Margriet van der Sluis was fascinated by a recurring question: how to enhance quality control in secondary vocational education? She found her way to Professor Lex Borghans, education economist at Maastricht University (UM). Six years and one PhD later, some answers have come to light and a new Academic Collaborative Centre (ACC) for Education has been launched.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:56

Limits to European asylum

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In 2014, more than 140,000 asylum seekers made their way across the Mediterranean Sea towards the Italian islands of Lampedusa and Sicily. Thousands drowned en route. In summer 2015, the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) will come into effect. Will this centralisation of the approach to asylum issues across EU member states help to solve problems like those in Lampedusa? Khalid Koser, professor of Conflict, Peace and Security, and Maarten Vink, professor of Political Science, are moderately enthusiastic. “It provides a minimum standard”, says Vink. But according to Koser, “In practice a centralised system is a fantasy.”

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:44

Three jobs, one goal: the quest for biobased polymers

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Working towards more sustainable materials is not about developing materials made from renewable sources. Instead, it’s about lowering the carbon footprint of the materials we use today, without compromising their physical properties and functionality. Professor of Polymer Science Sanjay Rastogi wants to achieve this goal by working with industry to combine molecular insight and product development. He has dedicated his career to seeking new knowledge about polymers – at present from his three different bases, at Loughborough University (UK), Teijin Aramid (Arnhem) and Maastricht University (UM).

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:36

Office work in camouflage uniform

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“There’s nothing as exciting as a night-time rifle exercise, even if it is in the Dutch countryside”, says Jaap Hoogenboezem, lecturer in Public Administration at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Since 2008 he has also been an army reserve officer. “I’m a soldier with a zero-hour contract.” Here he talks about camaraderie, excitement and romance – yes, all the clichés are true – but also about the wealth of administrative experience he is gaining in the army and can, in turn, pass on.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:14

Sharing memories for a stronger Europe

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On 12 September 1944 the first Allied troops set foot on Dutch soil, in the village of Mesch, near Maastricht. Their arrival marks the start of the liberation of the Netherlands and paves the way for the freedom that we enjoy today. Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, this freedom could easily be taken for granted. But this is not the only good reason to commemorate the past: it may even help to create a stronger sense of European identity. 

Thursday, 05 February 2015 09:19

Living on the border: challenge or chance?

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"You know those moments when you have a good idea, but nobody seems to be interested? This time, it was different. It was the right moment." Hildegard Schneider, dean of the Faculty of Law, is happy – and with good reason. She is one of the initiators of the brand new Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross-Border Cooperation and Mobility (ITEM). Researchers at this centre of expertise are not only studying the typical problems that arise in border regions, but also solving them. "We’re ambitious, and we have to be. Our findings could be extremely useful for the future of our province."

Thursday, 05 February 2015 09:09

One-eyed man in the land of the blind

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From his humble beginnings as a medical student and later a radiologist, Loek Winter is now the largest private healthcare operator in the Netherlands. “My goal is to be to healthcare what Joop van den Ende is to the Dutch media.” He sowed the seeds of his career at the fledgling Rijksuniversiteit Limburg, the predecessor of Maastricht University (UM).

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 13:50

Learning not to eat

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Imagine: you adore chocolate. White, dark, filled with caramel, whatever. You only have to see it or smell it and you’re sold. And you rarely stick to just the one bonbon – no, you eat the whole box in one go. Chances are, you’re also overweight. This irresistible urge, the overpowering desire to overeat, is much more prevalent in obese people than in thin people. The good news is that, with the help of a psychologist, you can ‘unlearn’ this uncontrollable eating behaviour. The bad news is that it’s not yet clear whether you’ll also lose weight.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the recent cases of bird flu in Europe make it all the more clear that health is a global matter. Two master’s programmes at Maastricht University’s (UM) Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences offer the requisite international approach: the MSc in Health Professions Education and the MSc in Global Health. In recent years, these programmes have attracted increasing numbers of students and professionals from all over the world. Programme directors Renée Stalmeijer and Anja Krumeich are preparing for yet more applications.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 11:07

One step closer to an anti-stress pill

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If PhD candidate Dennis Hernaus had been in a PET scanner in recent weeks, it would have probably become apparent that the dopamine levels in his brain had reached unprecedented heights. The neurotransmitter dopamine is best known for its role in the experience of happiness. “Completing my dissertation, working towards my defence on 22 January and the Kootstra Talent Fellowship I received in December were all important reward experiences,” he laughs. For about ten years, the fact that dopamine also plays a role in the experience of stress has been part of the scientific understanding on which his dissertation builds. In the future, he hopes to contribute to the development of medication for stress-related psychological problems.

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