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1. Changes in the organisation

Demerger of Radboud University and Radboud university medical center

Starting 1 January 2021, both organisations were 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. This is a consequence of the ‘decision for a demerger’ made on 11 December 2020.

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.

Daniël Wigboldus, chair of the university’s Executive Board, expressed the added value of the demerger in his New Year’s address: “As two separate foundations, we now have more room to steer our own courses: as a university in the university context and as an academic centre in the context of healthcare. At the same time, we are more connected than ever to the medical faculty. It may seem counterintuitive, but the demerger has given us more room to work together on content.”

Reorganisation and quality improvement of support positions

The reorganisation of the university’s support positions was almost complete in 2021, a result of two operations. The first is the Quality Improvement of Support Positions Programme, launched in 2016. It resulted in an improvement agenda for all support positions, which will be implemented in the existing organisation. Because of COVID-19, the audit of Computerisation, Automation and the University Library mainly took place online. It was successful and on schedule. The audit of the General Affairs column began in September 2021 and will be completed in March 2022.

The second operation is the Continued Development of Radboud Services (DORS) project, in which a new organisational structure and a new management model are being developed for the university’s support services. This resulted in a new model for Radboud Services in 2020 with six new divisions and a business office. The Information & Library Services (ILS) division was in the works in 2021, and it was launched in January 2022. The former University Library, Information Management and ICT Service Centre units were transformed into four new divisions: User Support, Innovation & Projects, Collection & Publication Services, and IT Services.

With ILS, director Iwan Holleman wants to strengthen the bridge between the information column and research and education. “The ambition of ILS is to support all levels of the data, information and knowledge pyramid, together with the other components of the information column.” Holleman mentioned examples like support for the use of special heritage collections, data management, open science and online collaboration between students and staff. By joining forces, he also wants to contribute to the social impact of the university. “We are helping the next generation of students find their place in society. And we are indirectly contributing to ground-breaking research like the first photo of a black hole, which was seen all over the world. At ILS, we like to feel that we are contributing to spectacular developments like that.”

Gerard van Assem, Director of Radboud Services, points out the added value of the new organisation: better coordination of support tasks and central management of previously fragmented tasks like the porter services. The new structure provides more clarity and efficiency, according to Van Assem. “The better coordination of tasks goes hand in hand with the mutual trust that has grown between the departments, both centralised and decentralised.”

“The better coordination of tasks goes hand in hand with the mutual trust that has grown between the departments, both centralised and decentralised.”

Gerard van Assem, Director of Radboud Services

For example, the management of education spaces and study workplaces has now been brought under one roof, in the Campus & Facilities division. “Centralised and decentralised management are increasingly integrated”, Van Assem explains. “It’s not so important where the management resides, as long as it’s done intelligently.”

Cohesive policy for sport and culture

The path set out in 2020 to bring culture and sport together on campus in organisational terms led to the first steps in 2021. For example, the cultural creator has been given a place in the Sports department of the Campus & Facilities division, bringing together support for cultural student organisations and the management of the theatre with support for sports associations and the management of sports facilities. Work is also being done on Living Labs in the field of culture and sports, for meetings and activities as well as education and research.

With this cohesive policy, the university emphasises the contribution of culture and sport to the well-being of staff and students: a healthy, happy and vital academic community is crucial to the quality of education and research. Moreover, skills acquired while practising and organising cultural and sporting activities can be applied to education and research, according to Radboud University's vision document for Culture and Sport.

Through its cultural and sporting activities, the university presents itself as a social partner and seeks to connect with the city and the region. Meaningful relationships with cultural institutions offer ample opportunities for education, research and lifelong learning. The university also sees numerous opportunities for valorisation, such as making research results visible through cultural expressions (like books, exhibitions or festivals). Large sporting events like the Four Days Marches and the Seven Hills Run draw attention to Nijmegen’s research into sport and exercise. They also serve as Living Labs where a broad public can contribute to science in an accessible way.

Sports day during orientation / Photo: Dick van Aalst