UM researchers commended for science communication
Seven teams of academics at Maastricht University have been awarded a contribution from the pilot fund Science Communication by Scientists: Appreciated! Each team is set to receive €10,000. The fund was established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and is administered by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The recipients come from all Maastricht faculties.
Overview of the projects per faculty:
- FPN: Job van den Hurk’s team will use the BrainMatters platform to bring new insights in brain science to a wide audience in an accessible, reliable and accurate manner. Van den Hurk is not only scientific manager of the imaging centre Scannexus, but also co-presenter of the children’s television programme Brainstorm (ZAPP, NPO 3).
- LAW: Fons Coomans’s team will present the findings of research on human rights in an accessible lecture series aimed at young people, students and residents of the Maastricht region.
- FSE: Frank Thuijsman’s team wants to improve science communication about mathematics under the banner of the Mathematics Centre Maastricht (MCM). Aims include enhancing the visibility of mathematics research and contributing to greater diversity among maths researchers.
- GROW (FHML): Veerle Melotte’s team will inform and inspire a wide audience about the fields of oncology and biology. In recent years, the team has already taken steps—often in their own time and using their own resources—to familiarise people with the enteric nervous system, or ‘the brain in the gut’. Melotte won the Klokhuis Science Prize in 2019, resulting in a special episode of the popular children’s television programme on NPO 3.
- MERLN (FHML): Dennie Hebels’s team aims to bring the promise and possibilities of regenerative medicine to a wide audience. The team will pay special attention to communicating with primary and secondary school students.
- FASoS: In these digital times, Anna Harris’s team wants to introduce people to alternative means of sensory perception in science, medicine and art. Harris has experience in this area: she teaches medical students at the FHML to train their sensory skills so that they can better examine patients.
- SBE: Using academic insights, Paul Smeets’s team aims to motivate investors to create a more positive impact through their donations and sustainable investments. The target audience includes pension participants, private investors, directors of financial institutions and charities, and high-net-worth individuals.
About the fund
Appreciated! is meant for ongoing science communication projects carried out by teams of academics. A total of 96 applications were submitted from 62 faculties, with all Dutch universities participating. Of these, 91 have been awarded funding. The Appreciated! fund is in line with the new approach to recognising and rewarding academics that was recently introduced in the Dutch knowledge sector.