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In the Spotlight

Working Together on the Venlo Campus

Rianne Letschert is Rector Magnificus of Maastricht University, and Han van Krieken is her counterpart at Radboud University. In the autumn, both universities signed a covenant aimed at strengthening collaboration, including on the Venlo campus.

Rianne Letschert: “Maastricht University and Radboud University complement each other well. For example, Radboud University already has a very strong Faculty of Science, while we only recently added a Faculty of Science and Engineering. In addition, both universities strive to have an impact in their own regions. We can be of even more value to our regions with a campus in Venlo – on the axis between Nijmegen and Maastricht – where we can support each other in education and research.”

“We are already working on joint programmes such as a Master’s programme in biotechnology, a Master’s programme in applied physics and an academic teacher training programme. We are also exploring the possibilities of joint PhD tracks and cooperation in the field of lifelong learning. Scientists know how to find each other in any case, but this is a means of encouraging cooperation. The strategic alliance makes things easier.”

‘The strategic alliance makes things easier’

- Rianne Letschert

“Although we just signed the agreement at the end of 2020, contact is proceeding efficiently. I myself am in monthly contact with Han van Krieken. The deans also keep a finger on the pulse. Of course we would have preferred reciprocal working visits, but even without physical contact we can work on new developments. I also hear this from other people involved. It was a tough year but, like me, they get a lot of positive energy from this collaboration.”

Han van Krieken: “We click with Maastricht University because of our similar profiles. We are both comprehensive universities that also want to have an impact in our own region. This is reflected, for example, in our collaboration with German colleagues. In addition, we both strive for educational innovation. I also think that we find common ground in the fact that quality is more important to us than competition. We want to help each other, and we complement each other well. Maastricht University conducts long-running research into education and is good at developing initiatives with companies in Limburg. In turn, we can help Maastricht thanks to our years of experience in educating academically trained teachers and the various areas of expertise within our Faculty of Science. The fact that we can join forces at a joint location in Venlo seems like a great step for both universities.”

‘We would have preferred to travel to Maastricht with a bus full of employees’

- Han van Krieken

“The mutual relationships are also clicking. The science deans and the staff members from our teaching academy have good contact with their colleagues. And from the very first meeting between our Executive Boards, I had a positive feeling about this collaboration. I still have that positive feeling after the first few months, even though we would have preferred to travel to Maastricht with a bus full of employees. Hopefully, we can start making those reciprocal visits soon to meet each other and turn our declarations of intent into plans and concrete actions.”