The Maastricht Science Programme is a bachelor’s programme with a dedicated academic staff. Besides teaching, many of our staff are involved in scholarly pursuits. Staff research is incorporated into our project period, providing our students with an opportunity to gain essential research skills and the ability to examine a diversity of topics at the forefront of knowledge. Staff research activities also extend into the Bachelor Thesis period, providing students with a chance to do research in ongoing and newly developing fields. Sometimes, this even results in an opportunity to become a published scholar as part of a student’s involvement in staff research.
A team of 13 UM students has won a silver medal in the prestigious iGEM competition in synthetic biology. The team focused on combating the oak processionary caterpillar.
Professors Joordens and Claessens discuss Darwin as a geologist, plus their activities with MSP students.
Maastricht University has been officially admitted into the LHCb experiment at CERN, starting January 2020. At the same time, the Faculty of Science and Engineering installed a new chair, prof. Marcel Merk, on collider physics into the newly founded research group.
Several Maastricht Science Programme students and alumni have won prizes during and after their study. Some of them won awards for their well-written bachelor's thesis, while others receive prizes for innovative research.
"For my master's thesis project I spent about 16 months on developing microscopic crawling robots made from a soft, hydrogel material. I surely would not have achieved this without the education and, most importantly, inspiration that MSP provided.
The recipe to make laser light-responsive is a microfluidic technique: stop-flow lithography. By focussing a laser beam on one side of the microgels, the gel expels it’s water and shrinks. Removal of the laser causes it reabsorb the water and reswell. After each of these cycles the microgel will take a ‘step’ away from the laser. We determined the mechanism for how it achieves this and by redesigning the crawlers we can make them steerable. We use them to push 20 micron cubes along a surface and into specific positions. I hope they’ll find applications in non-invasive surgery, active matter systems and micro-construction."
Out of many applications send in from students all over in the Netherlands, MSP alumna Patricia and two other students were nominated for ‘the Darwin’ award: Best national thesis for biology. She had to present her thesis in front of a jury. Afterwards all nominees were questioned about their thesis and Patricia defended her thesis with so much in-dept knowledge and passion, she stood out best and won the award.
MSP alumnus Jacob Windsor received the Dies Natalis student award for his bachelor's thesis on behalf of FHS (now known as the Faculty of Science and Engineering).
Alumna Viktoria Obermann won the best bachelor's thesis. Her thesis was about ‘Effects of the Supernatant of Stored Red Blood Cells on Immune Cell Function’.
Three MSP students, Onno Akkermans, Mitch Spronck and Pegah Keshaniyan (together they form Team SmartBite), entered the Top Sector Chemistry student competition with their project on developing a sensor to measure bruxism. The sensor they developed is smaller, thinner and more sensitive than the sensors that are currently on the market, and can be custom made.
During CHAINS 2015 (the largest scientific chemistry congress in the Netherlands), all teams got to present their project. Onno, Mitch and Pegah (aka: team SmartBite won the competition! “SmartBite has found a creative way to apply chemistry to a relevant problem. The team had a clear plan prepared with a multidisciplinary approach, and this led to good and immediately applicable results. During their presentation they were clear in their explanation and the answers to the questions of the jury were very convincing”, the jury explained.