Quality of life

Research and education at UM have been thematic, multidisciplinary, and inspired by social themes. UM distinguishes itself by focusing on three main research themes (i.e. ‘Quality of life’, ‘Europe and a Globalising World’, and ‘Learning and innovation’) which are studied on the basis of different disciplines at all relevant levels.

Quality of life is an interdisciplinary research programme that focuses on the well-being of individuals in the context of a safe, healthy, sustainable and financially secure society. An important infrastructure of this research programme is situated on the Maastricht Health Campus. This Campus is home to the largest academic health science cluster in Europe, which serves the entire health continuum from top referral and top clinical care to prevention and rehabilitation. The research excels in four key areas: cardiovascular diseases,mental health and neurosciences, metabolic aspects of chronic diseases, and primary care and health sciences.

"Losing is not my thing"

In Body
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 14:09

You could be forgiven for thinking time has no impact on Professor Rob Reneman. In August, when the Amsterdam native turns 80, he’ll probably still be working at Maastricht University three days a week. Founder of the cardiovascular research institute CARIM and former president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), he is busy working on his final publications. "But I’m going to call it a day once I’m done with these. Time is starting to catch up with me; physically, things are not what they once were. Getting up early is becoming harder and harder, and now that I’m less busy painful memories seem to surface more often. But every day my brain keeps working is a gift."

Learning not to eat

In Mind
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 13:50

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.

Deducing from a single hair what drug a person has taken and when, to within an hour’s accuracy. This is just one of the possibilities offered by mass spectrometry (put simply, the photography of molecules). Ron Heeren is a specialist in this technology. As of 1 September, Heeren is a ‘university professor’ in Maastricht, a special post granted on the basis of his scientific achievements. His research group in Maastricht will focus on medical applications of the mass spectrometer. “It’s a fantastic tool for personalised medicine”, he says. Together with fellow university professor, the nanobiologist Peter Peters, he is joint head of the new Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4I). With the launch of the M4I, Maastricht is now the largest imaging centre in Europe.

Imagine the following situation. You have agreed to cook dinner for your mother-in-law, who has been acting rather strangely lately. “Wasn't she ignoring me the last time we visited her?”, you grumble to yourself while preparing the chilli sauce. Her behaviour has been bothering you for weeks now. The water boils. Chopping the peppers, you realise she’s been mean to the kids too. “She doesn't answer their phone calls. And she didn’t even show up at Billy’s birthday party.” You chop and chop, and while your heart beats faster, more and more peppers slip into the bowl. You're angry – and she’s going to taste it. The proof is in the sauce.

Animal research puts sustainability on the map

In Society
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:38
We’re happy for animals at the zoo to have large enclosures, but if we’ve bought a ticket we do want to be able to see them. We like to eat meat, but we’d rather not be confronted with pictures of battery cages. We may be vegetarians ourselves, but still have a big dog that eats meat. “We live in glass houses”, says Pim Martens, professor of Sustainable Development at ICIS, Maastricht University’s sustainability institute. He recently began studying the role of animals in our society. “Through animals, you can put the sustainability debate on the map in an engaging way.”

Healthy pupils who get the most out of themselves

In Body
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:18
Raising healthy children who feel good in their own skin and can put their talents to good use: this is the aim of the Healthy Primary School of the Future. This is a new educational concept in the Parkstad region, supported by the Province of Limburg. The curriculum revolves around a healthy diet, sport and exercise, cultural activities and the psychological wellbeing of pupils. According to Maastricht University (UM), the educational foundation Movare and the Regional Public Health Service (GGD) for South Limburg, the initiative is an excellent investment for the future. “Going to school should be a party”, says UM professor Onno van Schayck. “That’s my ideal picture.”

Retiring later? Think about it now

In Money
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:35
The scrapping of the favourable pension scheme for Dutch civil servants had hidden side effects, such as reduced motivation and productivity. This was Raymond Montizaan’s conclusion several years ago following a study by the Maastricht Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA). Now he is leading a new study with much more alarming results: “We’re not well prepared for the consequences of the increased retirement age, and many people are finding themselves in financial difficulties.”

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.

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