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Faculty of Science kicks off the Academic Year with a vibrant talk show

The Faculty of Science launched the new Academic Year on 21 September with a special We Are Science talk show. Dean Paul Wouters starred in his role as talk show host and received a wide variety of guests.

Live from the temporary studio in the Gorlaeus lecture hall, Dean Paul Wouters welcomes the audience that is watching from home or the office. A modest number of spectators in the studio, a selection of important guests at the table.

‘I am very pleased that we will be seeing each other more in real life.’

Students and teachers happy to be back

The first question is for assessor Joost Barendse, for the second year in a row the student member of the Faculty Board. How did he and the other students experience the past year? Although in general, the study results were good, mentally it was hard, according to the assessor. ‘I think it's great how everyone, including the teachers, has pulled it off this year. But I am very happy that we are going to see each other more in person again. We will have to find a new way of doing this together.’

Miranda van Eck, board member at RISE and programme director at the LACDR, agrees it was a difficult time for everyone. ‘But it has also provided an impulse for developments. For example, the enormous educational innovation in the field of ICT. We have taken important steps in that area.’

The new Dean introduces himself

The new year also brings us a new Dean. Jasper Knoester feels more than welcome and is looking forward to getting started. ‘Although I am leaving Groningen with a little pain in my heart,’ he confesses. ‘This is a faculty with an enormously rich history, and I see wonderful opportunities for the future. Knoester attaches great importance to cooperation, both within and outside of the faculty. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’

More focus on inclusiveness and diversity

The table guests of RISE concur with this. Miranda van Eck, Martina Vijver and Irene Groot of Researchers in Science for Equality (RISE) are committed to equality and diversity in the beta sciences. ‘Six years ago we were pioneers, now we are a role model for young female scientists,’ says Groot. Ultimately RISE wants to work towards an inclusive working environment for everyone.

Martina Vijver hands out the RISE annual report to incoming Dean Jasper Knoester

And that doesn't happen all by itself, according to Van Eck. ‘That's why we have to keep asking ourselves how we can put these themes on the agenda at FWN even better. It must become a standard policy theme.’ And this movement must come from all layers of the faculty, adds Vijver. ‘We have to start the conversation and listen to each other.’ Both the current and the future dean receive the new annual report from RISE.

Fundamental contribution to a more sustainable society

Finally, the brand-new Spinoza winner Marc Koper joins in. Briefly, and according to Wouters too modestly, he talks about his research in electrochemistry. ‘There is an increasing demand for sustainable electricity. Surplus power from wind or solar parks cannot yet be stored properly and is therefore lost: an eternal waste! Using electrolysis, we can store that energy in chemical batteries. I am trying to understand how this all works at an atomic level. It's just a small cog in a bigger picture, but that's how I hope to contribute to making our society more sustainable.’

Flowers for Spinoza winner Marc Koper

Ludicrous start of the next phase of the new building

The second part of the talk show is all about the new Gorlaeus building. Wouters talks to the architects and interior architect, among others. What is involved in designing a new building and what can we expect in the near future? A sudden buzzer interrupts the conversation, and Assessor Joost Barendse goes downstairs to investigate...

Read more about the start of the new building phase 2a here

Missed the livestream? Watch it again here.

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