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2021: The year of resilience

Was 2021 a year we will quickly forget? Absolutely not. The COVID-19 pandemic, which had defined 2020, also set the tone for 2021. In the first months of 2021, lectures mainly took place online and most employees worked at home. Our students’ well-being was strained, and our employees’ workloads were high. 2021 was a year in which all our students and staff had to deal with uncertainty and setbacks, each in their own way. Making and adjusting plans and schedules required flexibility. But together, we proved resilient enough to allow education and research to continue.

Although we were focused on getting back to campus, coronavirus measures were introduced in quick succession and rarely helped us meet each other in person on campus. At the end of the year, we had to backtrack again: the maximum class size went back to 75 students and working from home became the rule again.

Starting 1 January 2021, Radboud University and Radboud university medical center were each incorporated into their own foundations. The university remained part of Stichting Radboud Universiteit (formerly Stichting Katholieke Universiteit; SKU) and is managed by the existing Executive Board. Radboud university medical center falls under the newly established Radboud University Medical Center Foundation and is managed by the medical centre’s existing Executive Board. Both foundations have their own supervisory boards.

The idea behind the demerger was that both organisations could respond more effectively to changes and social developments. The directors of both institutions emphasised that the demerger would not affect their mutual collaboration.

Radboud University wants to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for everyone. We want to achieve that through high-quality research; good, personal and engaged education; contributions to social issues; a safe and inclusive work and study environment that invites people to meet and collaborate; and a solid financial foundation. That is why we are making additional investments in expanding our staff, ICT and information security. This conscious choice resulted in an operating deficit in line with the budget in 2021.

2020 taught us how to stay connected at a distance, and 2021 inspired us to think about life after the pandemic. Which things can stay the same, and what opportunities does the pandemic present for change and even possible permanent improvements? Which elements should we retain from the new ways of working, hybrid education, attention to student well-being, or the revaluation of the support services that kept the campus going in ever-changing circumstances? In short, 2021 taught us lessons for the future.

Daniël Wigboldus, Han van Krieken, Agnes Muskens
Radboud University Executive Board