Your D&I vision for UM

UM Diversity & Inclusivity (D&I) grants

UM Diversity and Inclusivity (D&I) Grants complement UM’s broader institutional efforts in D&I policy; they encourage innovative, bottom-up initiatives promoting diversity, inclusion and equity. Every year, the Executive Boards invites students, staff and alumni to translate ideas into activities, tools and small research projects or events that could produce a sustainable impact and help make UM an inclusive organisation.

Projects for a diverse and more inclusive UM - 2021

we proudly present winners 2021


Annually UM's Diversity & Inclusivity Office funds a variety of initiatives by staff and students to foster diversity and inclusivity within Maastricht University. 

The applicants impressed the Advisory Council via Zoom and seven projects received funding. Find out more about the teams and their projects by clicking on the titles.

Team picture Expats x Migrants

Segregating the Migrant Community: Exhibit & Dialogue on

“Expats x Migrants”

The project ‘Segregating the Migrant Community’ invites people to think about and question the distinction made between migrants and expats. The term ‘expat’ is entangled with assumptions of privilege and class, whereas the label ‘migrant’ somehow connotes something lesser, even though both groups consist of people who moved away from their country of origin.

For this project, 20 foreign workers will be selected to be included in a virtual and physical photo exhibit. The exhibit will showcase how individuals who self-identify as migrants and/or expats may not look so different. Additionally, an expert panel will discuss the theme of migrant identity in Maastricht and beyond. During the panel, several topics will be addressed, such as: 1) whether the expat/migrant distinction is justified; 2) whether rooting out this distinction will have any meaningful impact on the acceptance of the migrant community as a whole; and 3) the role of academics and universities in this regard.

The aim of this project is to foster a dialogue on this important issue and to contribute to the inclusion and protection of the migrant community in Maastricht. The long-term impact of this project is the tearing down of obstacles that contribute to the perpetuation of this, potentially arbitrary, socioeconomic segregation. Finally, the photos can be continually used as a learning tool at Maastricht University.

The project is implemented by a diverse team representing five UM faculties in cooperation with Tetsuro Photography and the Expat Centre Maastricht Region.

Team picture Admission procedures

Inclusivity and diversity of bachelor programmes

Admission procedures

Participation in higher education enables upward mobility for underprivileged students. However, while enrolment rates into tertiary education increased over the past decades, an increasing number of education institutes have introduced selection procedures. Research shows that selection can be detrimental for specific groups, e.g. students from disadvantaged backgrounds. As a consequence, selection poses a threat to the diversity and inclusivity of study programmes.

The goal of this project is to assess how the admission procedures of bachelor programmes relate to the composition of the student population in terms of inclusivity and diversity. Herewith this project also aims to foster the possibility for the recruitment of (a diverse group of) talented students at the UM.

Within the project, qualitative and quantitative research techniques will be combined to provide in-depth insights into the selection procedures and its relation to the diversity and inclusivity of UM’s bachelor programmes. To interpret the results in a broader perspective, we will analyse register data from Statistics Netherlands to assess whether selection matters for the composition of the student population in bachelor programmes across the Netherlands.

If you want to know more about the project or if you are interested to be part of the project team, then do not hesitate to contact us! The project team consists of Marie Fischer, Mélanie Monfrance and Melline Somers.

Logo Treat it Queer project

Health justice and high-quality health care for the queer community

Treat it Queer

Treat it Queer is a UM project dedicated to health justice, with a particular focus on the queer community. At Treat it Queer, we believe that queer people deserve safe, comprehensive, and high-quality health care adapted to their unique needs, free from prejudice and discrimination.

We are a group of UM queers and allies that work together to create a more inclusive community of students and teachers where diversity is seen, recognized, and valued. Through trainings and workshops, we seek to cultivate a growing awareness and understanding of the existing health inequities affecting gender and sexually diverse people worldwide, as well as bring greater visibility to the real, lived experiences of queer people in clinical practice, policy, and research.

We aim to do so using an intersectional approach, examining the ways in which different axes of privilege and oppression simultaneously contribute to health inequities. The dismantlement of power dynamics related - and not limited - to gender, race and class is central in our work. Our events address a different theme each time, these include effective allyship, gender inclusive language usage in healthcare, gender nonconformity in reproductive health, mental health needs of the queer community, and intersectional research methods.

Team pictures Free menstrual products

Ending Period Poverty

Free menstrual products at UM

Inspired by the new legislation in Scotland and similar developments in New Zealand to end period poverty, our initiative aims at providing free menstrual products for students and staff at Maastricht University. Providing free menstrual products are twofold: it will contribute to a more inclusive environment at UM as it will help to break down the period stigma and support people who have difficulties affording menstrual products. Period products are basic and essential healthcare items, therefore, we believe it is necessary that UM provides these free of charge for those in need.

With the D&I grant, we will carry out a one-year pilot study. This includes providing menstrual products in selected restrooms at several UM faculties. One problem is that menstruation is often deemed shameful, aversive, and unclean which contributes to a vicious cycle of silence: the menstrual taboo. Our initiative aims to effectively break this silence by - next to providing menstrual products - creating an educational campaign on the menstruation stigma. This will include workshops and discussions on the menstrual taboo, the need for increased awareness on menstruation, and the issue of period poverty. A monitoring and evaluation component is also part of the project, aiming to identify the long-term implementation possibilities at UM.

We represent the student organization Feminists of Maastricht. In collaboration with staff members Julia and Pieter and UM building manager Roy, we are confident to take on this important task for next year and we are convinced that providing free menstrual products would make UM a more inclusive university.

Picture Kim Thieme SLIM project

Studying without (long-term) poverty is possible!

SLIM: Study Counter and Information point Maastricht

SLIM, Study Counter and Informationpoint Maastricht, is an information counter located in Pottenberg. Students with a low income from Maastricht University and residents of Pottenberg with a low income and who wish to study can go to SLIM. Clients can ask SLIM for independent information, guidance and advice about their financial situation with the aim of making studying financially and practically possible without (long-term) poverty. SLIM advises for this on regulations drawn up by the state and municipality as well as provisions from local citizens' initiatives, funds and foundations, to reduce non-use of facilities.

SLIM is important because research has shown that 31% of the students have financial concerns and in Pottenberg alone, 46% of the inhabitants do not have a basic qualification. Financial worries and shortcomings lead to stress, feelings of depression, social exclusion, reduced academic performance and early school leaving. Especially when help arrives (too) late. The road to the right help is often a maze, difficult to reach and takes a long time. In short: A much too high threshold for the people who need the help.

SLIM believes that everyone has the right to the opportunity to study without (long-term) poverty. That is why SLIM is committed to supporting students with their financial concerns or shortcomings on the one hand and stimulating citizens to study with the right support on the other. So that everyone can obtain their diploma under human circumstances. Because studying without (long-term) poverty is possible!

team picture MINDSETS

UM Podcast

Data Scientist MINDSETS

The Data Scientist MINDSETS podcast aims to promote seven core values in the UM data science community: Multidisciplinary perspectives, INclusion, Diversity, Social justice, Equity, Trust, and Societal well-being.

The vision of Data Scientist MINDSETS is to promote the visibility, recruitment, and/or retention of traditionally minoritized, marginalized, and underrepresented groups in data science, whether on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief system, ability, country of origin, and additional individual characteristics. 

We aim to:

  • feature the career trajectories and profiles of data scientists across the UM community
  • promote principles of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion in all aspects of data science
  • increase awareness of the breadth and depth of this cross-disciplinary field
  • inspire learners to explore how data science can enhance their work/study; and
  • increase knowledge and awareness of key data science data science principles and competencies
  • increase awareness of the need for responsible DS, explainable artificial intelligence, ethical and legal aspects of data science and Findable Accessible Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data use

Our podcast episodes will cover UM guest features, trends in data science research, roundtable discussions, coverage and/or live recordings from UM events related to data science. We'll also create a virtual community for data science enthusiasts and friends of data science to keep the dialogue going between episodes.

If you have any questions please contact: Chang Sun or Tiffany Leung

Team picture Not being Einstein D&I

Giftedness and increasing inclusion

About not being an Einstein

Giftedness is not about being an ‘Einstein’ and having an IQ score above 130. Among students and teachers prejudice exist about giftedness and although the highest concentration of gifted people is found among the population of students in university (10-15%), knowledge about guidance of these students is limited.

Contrary to the stereotypical view of highly intelligent people being successful and happy without any help, this intelligence often comes with doubt, anxiety, depression and loneliness. For many gifted students, coming to university is a struggle as they question their intelligence and even their identity. In fact, giftedness is not only cognitive ability, but it is a set of characteristics including sensitivity, creativity, doubt and perfectionism.

Although the problems encountered by gifted students are often similar to those encountered by their peers, an extra layer of complexity is added because of these characteristics. Their personal well-being and academic performance can be negatively impacted, and therefore a different approach in helping and guiding them is necessary. Understanding of these layers by themselves and by the people in their environment like teachers/mentors, helps them learn how to thrive in (academic) life.

The ultimate long-term goals of this project are:

  1. to increase feelings of inclusion among gifted students by creating more awareness for giftedness among students and UM employees
  2. to enhance individual empowerment, resilience and (academic) performance to support gifted students to develop their talents to their full potential

Our team consists of drs. Anke Smeenk, student adviser FHML, Maartje Cox, student ba Biomedical Sciences, and Melanie Hermans, student ba Biomedical Sciences/Health Sciences.

2021 Winners

  • Grants

  • Segregating the Migrant Community: Exhibit & Dialogue on

    “Expats x Migrants”

  • Inclusivity and diversity of bachelor programmes

    Admission procedures

  • Health justice and high-quality health care for the queer community

    Treat it Queer

  • Ending Period Poverty

    Free menstrual products at UM

  • Studying without (long-term) poverty is possible!

    SLIM: Study Counter and Information point Maastricht

  • UM Podcast

    Data Scientist MINDSETS

  • Giftedness and increasing inclusion

    About not being an Einstein

Visions for a diverse and inclusive UM - 2020


Annually UM's Diversity & Inclusivity Office funds a variety of initiatives by staff and students to foster diversity and inclusivity within Maastricht University. 

This year's new selection procedure included a shorter proposal and a dynamic pitching round. The applicants impressed the Advisory Council via Zoom and five projects received funding.

Find out more about the teams and their projects by clicking on the titles.

Latifa Abidi and Gera Nagelhout

How to stimulate more inclusive research

All for One & One for All

Participation in scientific research can be difficult or impossible for some groups in our society. As long as certain groups are excluded from research, we will not have a complete understanding of that which we are studying and the societal relevance of research is reduced. This project aims to increase awareness about this topic and gives us the possibility to investigate and disseminate best practices of inclusive research methods. 

In the first part of this project, we will conduct a survey among UM research staff to collect information about which barriers and facilitators are experienced. In the second phase, we will collect best practices of inclusive research methods. In the third phase, we will share the results widely and organize an UM-wide symposium about inclusivity in research. We hope to stimulate critical reflections on current practices, stimulate discussions about challenges and exchange practical, evidence-based steps to overcome them.

This project is a joint collaboration between colleagues from the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences (Latifa Abidi, Gera Nagelhout, Hans Bosma, Julia van Koeveringe, Nikita Poole) Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience (Jessica Alleva), the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences (Anna-Lena Hoh, Mareike Smolka), ‘Maastricht voor Iedereen’ (Brigitte van Lierop) and IVO Research Institute.


Gina van Rossum et al

Bringing diversity to the classroom

Diversifying Course Materials

The body of students and staff at Maastricht University is extremely diverse. However, diversity is rarely at the forefront of course materials. Diversifying our course materials will show our students and teaching staff that Maastricht University not only values diversity, but also strives to make it a central aspect of the teaching and learning process.

This project aims to develop a tool that will give Course Coordinators guidelines and examples on how to make their courses more inclusive and diverse. So that every student and staff member – regardless of their characteristics – feels welcome at Maastricht University and represented in their educational materials.

Our project will consist of 4 phases. In the 1st phase, we will be gathering and analyzing quantitative data concerning the current diversity within course materials. The 2nd phase will consist of qualitative data regarding the current situation and possible changes for the future. In phase 3 these data and ideas will be presented within a tool with guidelines and examples for course coordinators. Phase 4 will be the introduction of this tool within our University, paying special attention to the awareness of the tool among course coordinators.

We are proud to have the opportunity to start this project and hope to bring the issue of diversity to the forefront of the minds of staff and students and provide staff with clear guidance on how to address this.

This project is a joint collaboration between staff and students from the Faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience (Gina van Rossum), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Michele Dalla Rosa), Maastricht Science Programme (Chris Pawley), and University College Maastricht (Aincre Maame-Fosua Evans).

Karlijn Massar et al

Impostor syndrome among PhD students

Feeling Like I’m Faking It

Impostor Syndrome is defined as ‘the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or legitimately achieved because of one's own competence, despite objective evidence to the contrary’. Impostor Syndrome is more pronounced among women and members from underrepresented groups (related to e.g. ethnicity, sexual identity, gender identity, or socioeconomic position), and it negatively affects (academic) performance and self-esteem. Further, experiencing Impostor Syndrome increases the likelihood of burnout and mental distress, and may cause individuals to drop out of their pursuit to a PhD degree.

In line with the D&I policy of UM, the ultimate goal of this project is to increase feelings of belonging and inclusion among individuals most at risk for suffering from imposterism, as well as stimulate a positive academic identity and increase their well-being. To this end, we plan to 1) increase our knowledge of the antecedents of impostor syndrome among PhD students across faculties, and 2) pilot-test a micro-intervention (a.k.a. workshop) aimed at reducing imposterism and simultaneously enhancing individual empowerment, hope, optimism, efficacy, and resilience.

Our team consists of dr. Karlijn Massar and dr. Sarah Stutterheim – assistant professors, department of Work & Social Psychology – and two enthusiastic students, Nacho Harutyunyan (Ba Psychology) and Anna Wittich (Ma Human Decision Science).


RPM and MSA Nour

Dissolving division lines within the community

Join an Iftar 2021

The Refugee Project Maastricht (RPM) and the Muslim Student Association Nour (MSA Nour) invite you to join an Iftar during Ramadan 2021. Experiencing an Islamic tradition together creates a sense of community among those who are familiar with the traditions and those who are not. Therefore, you do not need to be Muslim or have much background on Islamic traditions; everybody is invited. 

By interacting with each other through shared food and laughter, we can learn from each other and make an important step towards inclusion and mutual understanding. In the long term, it can contribute to alter the perception of the “Maastricht community”: division lines between the student population and other groups constituting Maastricht’s society could start to dissolve. Having an Iftar together could be a first step in this process. This event will help to spread awareness of Islamic traditions and enable different groups of society to interact.

Thus, a forum for inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue will be created. RPM and MSA Nour believe that experiencing this form of dialogue through a shared Iftar will have a lasting impact on all participants.

EAAA team D&I Grant 2020

An inclusive university is a safe university

Implementing an evidence-based sexual assault resistance programme

Sexual assault (that is, penetrative and non-penetrative sexual contact, often obtained by threat, coercion, incapacitation, or lack of affirmative consent) has become an important topic at universities around the world. Research by Rutgers shows the urgency of engaging with this subject at UM: 1 in 5 young, university-aged women in the Netherlands have experienced sexual assault (de Graaf & Wijsen, 2017). One of the ways sexual assault can be decreased is through effective prevention measures. In February 2020, an evidence-based training called the Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act (EAAA) programme was piloted at University College Maastricht. EAAA is a highly interactive course taught by peer students which goes beyond the traditional self-defense course by allowing participants to assess risk based on evidence, discuss common barriers to resistance, practice responding to coercive strategies, and explore personal relationship and sexual values. The pilot was received well by participants, most of whom would strongly recommend the course to a fellow student.  

This D&I grant gives us the possibility to continue to implement EAAA for the wider UM community for the coming two years with the hope of it becoming a sustainable aspect of UM’s prevention activities. 

This project is a joint collaboration between students and colleagues from the Faculty of Science and Engineering (Cecilia Marziali, Bella Rix, Gesa Lange, Alice Wellum), and students and colleagues from the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (Esmee Halmans, Elizabeth Adams, Petra Hurks).


2020 Winners

  • Grants

  • How to stimulate more inclusive research

    All for One & One for All

  • Bringing diversity to the classroom

    Diversifying Course Materials

  • Impostor syndrome among PhD students

    Feeling Like I’m Faking It

  • Dissolving division lines within the community

    Join an Iftar 2021

  • An inclusive university is a safe university

    Implementing an evidence-based sexual assault resistance programme

D&I Grants - Why you should apply

Three former winners of Diversity & Inclusivity (D&I) Grants tell about their experience and why they think the D&I Grants are a good initiative, and what they gained from the experience during their D&I Grant project.

Ellen Krijnen, Jessica Alleva and Andjela Draganic

Cover picture D&I grants

Contact information

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