2018 D&I Grant winners

UM SPORTS for Every Body

This project aims to promote body diversity and inclusivity within the UM SPORTS environment so everybody – regardless of weight, age, gender expression, ethnicity, ability, and other characteristics – feels welcome to engage in physical activity in order to help students and staff to thrive by contributing to their health and well-being.

In Phase 1, we will gather quantitative and qualitative data concerning the current perception of the UM SPORTS environment with respect to body diversity and inclusivity via various methods, such as surveys and focus groups among members and instructors concerning their perceptions of diversity and inclusivity within the UM SPORTS environment, and their own characteristics (e.g., weight ethnicity), and via analysis of UM SPORTS promotional materials and facilities.

In Phase 2, we will implement theory- and evidence-based strategies to enhance body diversity and inclusivity at UM SPORTS. These strategies will be (i) tailored based on the Phase 1 data, (ii) derived from the multiple disciplines of the Project Team, and (iii) target the multiple “levels” of the issue (e.g., facilities, promotional materials, language used by instructors, etc.). Contact us!

Maastricht University meets Wiekentschool

Not all children are stimulated by their environment to discover their talents and possibilities. Very often, the parents of these children did not enjoy any higher education, which would make their children first-generation students.  Wiekentschool Maastricht (foundation) helps these children to think about their future and do well at school. Maastricht University has the opportunity to participate in the Wiekentschool, and introduce children at an early age (and approachable manner) to the university. In the long run this will lead to an increase of students with a different social level and background and/or first generation students. 

Our project will introduce children (with this background) at an early age with the possibility of studying at a university, and help them to discover their talents. By involving current ‘UM first-generation students’, we want to inspire them to step out of their familiar environment.

In the short-term, this will raise the awareness on this topic amongst staff and students. We can show the public that we as a university care about this vulnerable group, and feel it’s important to include them in our student population. In the long run this will lead to an increase of first-generation students, or students from a lower socio-economic class. Contact us!

Internationalisation … For Whom?

The issue of internationalisation of UM is being portrayed as negative by the media, and has been brought up to the level of legal debate. How does this affect students, staff, and the university? What do they think about it?

The purpose of the project is, therefore, to understand student voices on this topic by organizing a conference with and for students. The focus is primarily placed on Dutch students. However, the larger picture will include international students as well. Moreover, we aim to gather a database of information that branches out from the topic of internationalisation. For example, the perceived influence of higher education and the Dutch identity, and policies regarding language in UM. Furthermore, considering the geographical location of UM, it is natural that it has flourished under the international pool of students and staff - what is the balance that UM should have in regards to internationalisation? These are some of the questions and issues we are aiming to answer. Contact us!

Entrepreneurial Thinking for Female Researchers

The activities of this project aim at building bridges between female researchers and the labour market. According to the latest 2017 International Labour Organisation survey, women are still less likely to find jobs than men. On top of that, for early career researchers, it is difficult to make plans for post-PhD work life due to the lack of certainty in the academic job market. Through a series of skillfully designed workshops on entrepreneurial thinking for female researchers, this project will show its recipients how to use their talents and experience to identify opportunities in the marketplace and understand how and when to capitalize on them. The series of 6 workshops on “Entrepreneurial Thinking for Female Researchers” will take place between November 2018 and June 2019 and will host 120 participants in total. As result, it will help female researchers become more competitive on the labour market through learning how to design their own digital footprint, to pitch their research results and how to transfer their experience from PhD/post-doc into generic skills. Contact us!

Empowerment Training for People of Colour and People with a Migration Background

In this initiative we contribute to creating a safe and inclusive university environment in which both staff and students of color can feel at home. Within academic discussions on racism in Europe, a salient point made, is that racism is not sufficiently acknowledged as a problem that is central to the structure of our societies. It tends to be acknowledged rather as a problem of a segment of society, i.e. extremists, populists, and conservatives. Subtle and everyday forms of racism, however, are not recognized as part of the underlying fabric that constitutes Western societies in general. The central questions guiding the empowerment training will be: how can the participants achieve their personal goals despite their everyday experiences with subtle racism? How can they lead a constructive life and what can they do to reduce racism?

The intensive and small scale training will be open to staff and students of color and/or staff and students with a migration background UM wide. The duration of the training will be approximately two and half days and it will be based on dialogs, group discussions and role plays including videos and other material. There will be an emphasis on the different experiences in the group due to a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, but there will also be discussions on how the experiences of the group members are the same, such as experiences with racism in Europe. Contact us!


The keyword of the project is Empathy. People@UM is not only about people having sympathy with each other, but that they open up for ideas and meanings of other people. The sharing of thoughts, experiences and knowledge is the thread of this project. It is about unexpected encounters. People listening to each other and talk with each other.  This stimulates people who study, do research and work at UM and improve their results. Because of the mutual understanding, the people of UM will feel that they are part of the UM. Being different makes them special and proud.

One of the focus points of the D&I Policy of the UM is to create an inclusive community. In this project called “People@UM” we focus on diversity. People@UM is a project in which students, researchers, staff, alumni and other people connected to UM can meet and actively learn each other better. The project provides different events and activities, pinpointing on the diversity of the UM-people (and their surroundings). Diversity-elements that can connect individuals and groups are gender, ethnicity, nationality, age, religion, LGBT, occupational disability or chronic illness and social status. Contact us!

Babel’s Salon

The project Babel’s Salon aims to overcome these limits by organizing a series of cultural evenings at FASoS during which students, faculty and administrative staff present or perform their favorite cultural items such as poems, stories, songs, music (including records) or visual art in their native language, providing a translation in another format. The aims behind these events are to celebrate the diversity of native languages, to experience each other’s voices in these languages (which may be quite different from what we are used to), to bring students, administrative staff and faculty together, to learn about each other’s culture, and to meet and socialize with each other in a different context than work or teaching.

Hopefully, this contributes to “an inclusive environment in which students and staff feel at home,” one of the goals behind the Diversity and Inclusion program. This project also responds to the recent attacks on the UM language strategy by showing that internationalization is not just about exchange through a lingua franca, but also about celebrating the richness of language diversity. Contact us!