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magazine 03/October 2012

Based in Europe, focused on the world. Maastricht University is a stimulating environment. Where research and teaching are complementary. Where innovation is our focus. Where talent can flourish. A truly student oriented research university.

www.maastrichtuniversity.nl

About education and research at Maastricht University

Poet in Academia Farewell to Wiel Kusters – p 22

“Maastricht Univercity”

Interview with the new Rector Magnificus, Luc Soete – p 8

Psychopaths

can be treated

David Bernstein on his promising ‘schema therapy’ – p 6


Content

Further 04 Leading in Learning - Halt! Are you sure you’ve chosen the right study programme? 06 Clinical research - David Bernstein: “Some psychopaths can be treated”

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Bettina Sorger

Bettina Sorger was flooded with international press after a publication in the leading scientific journal Current Biology Biology. “The topic speaks to the imagination. We’ve developed a method that could allow people with ‘locked-in’ syndrome, who are completely paralysed, to communicate again with the outside world. Our method can also show whether patients who don’t respond are conscious or not.”

08 Welcome interview - Luc Soete: Maastricht Univercity 12 Integration - René de Groot: Sharia Council: same pitch, same rules 14 Research and society - Cathrien Bruggeman: We need women at the top 16 Debate - Jan Nijhuis and Raymond de Vries: Childbirth: Home versus hospital delivery 22 Culture - Wiel Kusters: Poet in academia 24 Professor–Student - Annemarie Nelen and Andries de Grip 26 International - Jamiu Busari: “I let people discover their own talents” 28 Euregion - Carijn Beumer and Pieter Valkering: Social innovation and the vegetable garden.

32 Alum Marcia Luyten

Marcia Luyten, economist and cultural historian, works as a writer, journalist, publicist and discussion leader. Luyten is currently here researching her book The happiness of Limburg. And if that’s not enough, she recently began presenting the influential political interview programme Buitenhof on Dutch national television.

30 Off the job - Mark Vluggen: “I prefer my movies in the morning” 34 Alumni - Solmaz Karami: The rise of an international ‘beta-girl’ 36 University Fund - Introducing the 2012/13 scholarship students - The Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund News 10,11,19 and 38

Profile Education and research at Maastricht University is organised primarily on the basis of faculties, schools and institutes. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences • Politics and Culture in Europe • Science, Technology and Society, incl. Globalisation and Development • Arts, Media and Culture Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences • School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism (NUTRIM) • School for Cardiovascular Diseases (CARIM) • School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI) • School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS) • School for Oncology and Developmental Biology (GROW) • School of Health Professions Education (SHE) Faculty of Humanities and Sciences • Department of Knowledge Engineering • International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS) • Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) • University College Maastricht • Teachers Academy • Maastricht Science College Faculty of Law • Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR) • Institute for Transnational Legal Research (METRO) • Institute for Corporate Law, Govern-

Colophon • Maastricht European Private Law Institute (MEPLI) • The Maastricht Forensic Institute (tMFI)

Publisher: © Maastricht University Editor-in-Chief: Jeanine Gregersen General Editor: Annelotte Huiskes Editorial Board: Luc Soete (President), Marja van

• Maastricht Graduate School of Law

Dieijen-Visser, Arvid Hoffmann, Jos Kievits, Victor

• Montesquieu Institute Maastricht

Mostart, Madelon Peters, Hildegard Schneider,

Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience • Graduate School of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience • Clinical Psychological Science • Cognitive Neuroscience (CN) • Experimental Psychopathology (EPP) • Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology • Work & Social Psychology • Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre (M-BIC)

Annemie Schols, Sophie Vanhoonacker. Texts: Jos Cortenraad, Annelotte Huiskes, Margot Krijnen, Loek Kusiak, Jolien Linssen, Hanna McLean, Graziella Runchina, Livia Smits, Hans van Vinkeveen. Photography: Istock photo (p38), Appie Derks (p15), Harry Heuts (p5), Herman van Ommen (p27), Joey Roberts (p38), Sacha Ruland (cover, p3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 20, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34), Engelbert Schins (p19), Jonathan Vos (p10) Translations and English editing: Alison Edwards Graphic concept:

School of Business and Economics

Vormgeversassociatie BV, Hoog-Keppel

• Maastricht Research School of

Graphic design:

Economics of Technology and

Grafisch Ontwerpbureau Emilio Perez, Geleen

Organisations (METEOR)

Print:

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Pietermans Drukkerij, Lanaken (B)

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Maastricht University magazine is published in

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February, June and October. It is sent on demand to

tute on Innovation and Technology

UM alumni and to external relations.

(UNU-MERIT), Foundation • Limburg Institute of Financial Economics (LIFE) • The Maastricht Academic Centre for Research in Services (MAXX) • Accounting, Auditing & Information

Editorial Office: Marketing & Communications Postbus 616, 6200 MD Maastricht T +31 43 388 5238 / +31 43 388 5222 E annelotte.huiskes@maastrichtuniversity.nl webmagazine.maastrichtuniversity.nl

Management Research Centre (MARC) • European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE) • Social Innovation for Competitiveness,

Cover: The poem ‘Wandeling’ by Wiel Kusters chiselled in stone in the Jekerpark, Maastricht. With thanks to Jean-Pierre Pilet.

Organisational Performance and human Excellence (INSCOPE)

ISSN: 2210-5212

ance and Innovation Policies (ICGI) • Maastricht Centre for European Law (MCEL) • Maastricht Centre for Human Rights • Maastricht Centre for Taxation (MCT)

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Comings and goings The start of this new academic year 2012/13 has seen a great many changes, as this issue of the Maastricht University magazine will illustrate. Cathrien Bruggeman gave her valedictory lecture last month, after a record 36 years of service. She was not only one of the first employees of the then Rijksuniversiteit Limburg, but also one of the first female professors in Maastricht. And she went out with a bang, drawing attention to the dominance of male professors by installing a fully female PhD committee for one of her PhD candidates. Another recent retiree is Wiel Kusters, one of the first professors at what is now the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and a Limburger in heart and soul. With their departure, they take with them important parts

of the collective memory of this still young institution. So it is only appropriate that a new historical study is set to record the story of UM’s foundation and growth over the last 30 years. Further, as an academic research institution UM is highly sensitive to the effects of ageing, with a large group of baby boomers due to retire in the coming years.

development within the Euregion. All of these research projects rely increasingly on knowledge that transcends the boundaries of existing disciplines and faculties. Naturally, UM also has a strong educational reputation to uphold. Students at the faculties of Law and Arts & Social Sciences are thus being monitored and coached from the moment they register. Jamiu Busari, one of

the very first students of the Master in Health Professions Education, compares healthcare systems in different cultural contexts, while graduates Solmaz Karami and Marcia Luyten share their enthusiasm for their respective jobs at Vodafone and Buitenhof. And finally, I get the chance to share some of my biggest plans for the institution. I hope to be able to report more on these in the coming years and in future issues of this magazine. Luc Soete Rector Magnificus, Maastricht University

But fortunately, there are comings as well as goings. The launch of Brains Unlimited and the new, unique research opportunities presented by its three functional MRI scanners of 3, 7 and 9.4 Tesla are giving an important boost to research in the life and neurosciences. In this issue, psychology researcher Bettina Sorger and the new professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, David Bernstein, discuss their work and their research plans in Maastricht. The expectations are high. Research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, and as RenĂŠ de Groot demonstrates, Dutch law is facing new and fundamental questions. Jan Nijhuis, professor of Obstetrics, discusses the pros and cons of home birth with Raymond de Vries, professor of Midwifery Science. Annemarie Nelen and Andries de Grip wade into the debate on the association between part-time workers and training, while Carijn Beumer and Pieter Valkering discuss the Interreg project SUN on sustainable development and urban

Luc Soete

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Leading in Learning

Halt!

Are you sure you’ve chosen the right study programme? By Livia Smits

As indicated in its proposed performance agreements (‘Voorstel prestatieafspraken 20132016’), Maastricht University (UM) aims to be able to give targeted advice to all prospective students by 2015. This is because choosing a study programme that suits you and meets your expectations is not always easy, but it is important – not just for you but also for the faculty. Already, the faculties of Law and Arts & Social Sciences are using a ‘traffic light’ system for prospective students. A questionnaire on their study skills and motivation indicates whether their choice of programme is a sensible one, and issues a green light (go ahead!), or a yellow or red one (needs attention!). The advice is not binding. The two faculties each have their own approach to the ‘Matching & Binding’ programme, but are in complete agreement on the preliminary results. Matching & Binding is not selective admission in disguise; instead, it is intended as a service for students that can save them disappointment. At the same time, if study dropout decreases, the faculty’s success rates increase – making it a win-win situation. The different initiatives were put to the test by Rina Vaatstra, education researcher and adviser at the Faculty of Law (FL), and Amanda Kluveld and Miranda van den Boorn, programme director and study adviser, respectively, at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS). All three, each with their different areas of expertise, are enthusiastic about helping prospective students make the right study choice.

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Matching & Binding started in 2011 as

part of the university-wide Leading in Learning programme, which promotes educational innovation projects. Vaatstra and Sylvia Haerkens, a fellow FASoS policy adviser, are its spiritual founders. Their question – a deceptively simple but highly relevant one – was “Do students really know exactly what study programme they are choosing?” Prospective students of both the FL and FASoS have been asked this question each year since. Clear signals It is still too early to say whether Matching & Binding actually reduces dropout. What is clear is that question-

naires from both faculties, despite their differences, do serve well to identify potential dropouts. Experience has shown that students generally answer questions about their intended study efforts honestly and have reasonable insight into their own study skills (for example, how well they can study, plan and work independently and in groups). The questionnaires appear to be reliable indicators of the student’s future performance, and of any potential mismatch between their expectations and the study programme. They also give valuable information on factors that seem to


predict study success: attitude to studying, previous studies and results, additional activities that students plan to get involved in, and the programme selection process. Eventually, students who started study programmes despite receiving a negative recommendation tended to drop out. “Are you sure?” The two faculties not only use different questionnaires, but also have different concepts of guidance. “If it were up to me I’d bring each and every one of them in for a chat”, laughs Kluveld. The interviews she and Van den Boorn conduct with prospective students who are given red or yellow traffic lights are usually frank and informative, and sometimes quite touching: “They often can’t believe that a programme director is interested in their choice of programme. They’re always asking me, ‘Are you sure?’” As a study adviser, Kluveld says, Van den Boorn has developed a special antenna for interviews with students: “She knows exactly when to keep pressing, and always manages to find the sore spot.” Van den Boorn agrees: “We usually have a good sense of when an interview is needed.”

Vaatstra is not in favour of interviews with all applicants. Since this academic

year, prospective FL students who have been given a yellow light receive an email urging them to seriously reconsider their choice. Student who show poor motivation, or who were issued a red light, are sometimes also invited for an interview, though this is happening less and less. Interviews are “very time consuming and not overly effective”, says Vaatstra. “Students with a negative recommendation often start the programme anyway and don’t always adapt their efforts as they should.” Student monitoring system But there can be no Matching without Binding: at both faculties, mentors continue to track students’ progress for different periods of time.

On the basis of the questionnaires, interviews and study results, they refer students to study skills training, student psychologists, UM Career Services or other UM services whenever necessary. But in this area, too, the faculties each have their own policies. At FASoS all bachelor’s students are assigned a mentor and are required to maintain a portfolio of their study results and experiences. Van den Boorn: “The communication lines between student and mentor are short, which means we can intervene quickly if things go awry.”

At the FL, all students with insufficient marks are presently assigned a mentor. Starting next year, this will be reduced to a mentoring service which will be offered to students only on request. “Students have to take the initiative themselves”, says Vaatstra. “In our experience, only then does mentoring make sense.” Promising Though their views on interviewing procedures and the importance of mentoring differ, both faculties are in agreement on the importance of the questionnaires. Given the good results achieved so far, the FL will make the questionnaire one of its selection instruments next year, when the numerus fixus is implemented. The questionnaires have another bonus, too: they also draw attention to the very good students. The FL aims to offer a pre-honours programme for this group of students. “After two courses we’ll evaluate whether they should continue with the programme”, says Vaatstra. “It would be a shame not to use this

instrument for these students too!” After almost two rounds of Matching & Binding, then, the first fruits have been harvested and new applications are in the pipeline.

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Clinical research

David Bernstein

“Some psychopaths can be treated” By Hans van Vinkeveen

Although the claims are preliminary, the first results of his research on patients involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment (TBS patients) are promising. David Bernstein, professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, may have found a treatment for even the worst cases of psychopathy: schema therapy. “The social benefits could be enormous”, he says. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is a good example of a psychopath: a person with no conscience who does not regret the pain he inflicts on others. Psychopaths are often aggressive, uninhibited and incapable of empathy. They are responsible for a great deal of the crime and violence in society and run a high risk of recidivism after serving their sentences. Many forensic psychologists believe their behaviour cannot be

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changed, and that psychopathic disorders are genetically determined, thus rendering treatment pointless. ‘You can’t turn a cat into a mouse’, said the renowned psychopathy researcher Robert Hare. New research by David Bernstein, who was recently appointed UM professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, challenges this theory. Bernstein is currently leading


a large-scale study of over 100 TBS patients in seven TBS clinics. The preliminary results are promising. In their first group of patients, the team observed a faster decrease in the risk of recidivism. Crucially, this risk decreased the fastest in the group considered the most psychopathic – the very group often deemed untreatable. Bernstein stresses caution in interpreting the results, as they are not statistically significant and no fixed pattern has yet been established. “But if these results are confirmed for the entire research population, we will have found the first effective treatment for psychopaths.” This would be a real breakthrough for the field of psychopathy. Vulnerable state The treatment is called schema therapy, an integrated form of psychotherapy specially designed to treat personality disorders and ‘treatment-resistant’ patients. What makes this method unique is that it focuses not on unchangeable character traits, but on the patient’s emotional state. It uses a package of special treatment techniques, ‘limited reparenting’ being the most important of these. In establishing a relationship with the patient, the therapist assumes a parenting role. “Psychopaths are often antisocial and emotionally detached. They don’t trust anyone and refuse to cooperate”, Bernstein explains. “To gain their trust, the therapist adopts a caring and compassionate role.” The goal is to break through this emotional detachment and draw patients into a more vulnerable position, making them ‘softer’. The next step is to teach patients how to discuss their emotions. This is done using the language of ‘schema modes’. A schema mode is an emotional state (intimidating, aggressive, manipulative) that can take over a patient temporarily and play an important role in violent behaviour. “Our hypothesis is that behind these extreme emotional schemas lies a more vulnerable side. That’s the key to accessing strong emotions. Many patients were abused or mistreated as children. The goal is to help heal these earlier wounds.” Further, the patient’s capacity for self-reflection is increased, and they learn to better control their frustrations and impulsive behaviours. “In short, schema therapy strives to transform a patient’s personality by changing their schema modes.” Social benefit Bernstein remains uncertain whether schema therapy will become the primary treatment for psychopaths. With psychopaths, he says, it is never fully clear in advance how emotionally open they can be. “I don’t expect schema therapy to work for all psychopathic patients, but I’d consider it a vast improvement if we were able to help

50 percent.” This would mean a radical change for the field of psychopathy: “People tend to think psychopathic disorders have biological underpinnings – which has never been proven, by the way – and so they go untreated. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy: if they can’t be treated, why bother in the first place?” The impact of Bernstein’s research is profound. “Psychopaths are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. Consider the damage they cause; the devastation, the psychological and physical violence. If schema therapy works, the social benefits will be huge.” Not only that – there will also be substantial cost savings. Three years of schema therapy costs roughly €20,000, whereas admission to a TBS clinic amounts to €160,000 per year. The duration of TBS treatment is expected to be reduced by 18 weeks. Going against the grain Bernstein acknowledges the controversial nature of his research, which goes against the prevailing public opinion. He can also appreciate the scepticism with which this treatment method is viewed. “It’s good to be sceptical; in fact, we should be sceptical. People are right to be concerned about how dangerous these people are. After all, they’ve been considered untreatable for over 200 years. That’s why it’s so important that our research is methodologically sound. And it’s also why I keep emphasising that our claims are preliminary.” One question remains of vital importance: does treatment change a psychopath forever? “With psychopaths, there’s no such thing as a ‘cure’. You can never guarantee they won’t commit another crime”, says Bernstein. “For me, the challenge is to reduce the risk. You can compare it to cancer: you try to keep someone cancer-free for as long as possible, but that doesn’t mean the risk is gone. That’s a good analogy for what we’re trying to achieve.”

David Bernstein David Bernstein (1957) is professor of Forensic Psychotherapy, an endowed chair sponsored by Maastricht University and the forensic psychiatric centre De Rooyse Wissel. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from New York University in 1990 and moved to Maastricht University in 2004. He serves as chair of the Forensic Psychology Section in the Department of Clinical Psychological Science. His main research areas are personality disorders, psychological trauma and forensic issues. Bernstein is an internationally renowned expert in the field of schema therapy, an integrated therapy for personality disorders.

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Welcome interview

Maastricht Univercity By Annelotte Huiskes

From 1 September, Professor Dr Luc Soete succeeded Professor Dr Gerard Mols as rector of Maastricht University (UM). And he’s excited – because in these times of economic crisis, UM is facing a great many challenges. Soete, professor of International Economic Relations, has definite ideas about the contribution that UM could make. When the interview for this article takes place, Soete is still director of UNU-MERIT, a renowned international research institute in the field of technological development and innovation, affiliated with the UM School of Business and Economics and United Nations University. Although he is looking forward to his new job, it is with a heavy heart that Soete will leave the institute he founded in 1988. “With just 120 employees, it’s a relatively small organisation”, he says. “The advantage is that I get to take responsibility for everything that happens here: from hiring staff to acquiring research assignments. And if it fails, you hang. I really enjoy that sort of clarity. That will be totally different when I’m part of the Executive Board – but I’ll try to adapt as well as possible. Incidentally, I think it’s useful for a rector to have an academic background. I’m a member of KNAW and I have quite a number of academic publications to my name. University rectors usually have mostly managerial experience. I’m the first rector here who hasn’t been a dean.” Multicultural With Soete’s arrival on the scene, the Executive Board is now composed of a Belgian, a German and a Dutchman from Groningen. “It’s a proper immigrant board. For me, the fact that the president Martin Paul, the vice president André Postema and I all come from different cultural environments gives the board an enormous wealth. There’s a great study on the European Commission, which showed that in meetings of people from the same culture, they came to a consensus very quickly in terms of content. Any discussions they had were mainly about

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how the message should be packaged and communicated. In multicultural meetings, there was more of a substantive debate. If a consensus was reached there, this went much deeper than agreements made in a monocultural setting, such as in a national government cabinet. So it’s no coincidence that the executive tiers of large corporations and other organisations are often multicultural.” Duty to grow One of the reasons Soete accepted the position of rector was to play his part in the contribution that UM can make in these economically difficult times. As he pointed out in his lecture during the rectorship handover ceremony, he wants to turn Maastricht into a ‘univercity’. “Maastricht is the ideal place to become a true university town: a small, provincial city where different cultures and languages come together. In the last 20 years UM has more than doubled in size – an enormous growth – while industry and services, the city’s traditional strongholds of economic growth, have been drying up. UM is really the only major player with growth potential in terms of the numbers of both students and study programmes. In my opinion, UM has an obligation to the region and the city to make use of that potential. When it comes to study programmes, I’m talking about increasing programmes that are in line with local industry. The Science and Chemelot campuses are good examples of this. I can’t see Maastricht surviving without UM, and so we must take responsibility. Selective admission is all well and good, but if


that means admitting 450 students to International Business when you have 3000 registrations, or selecting 200 students for UCM when 800 registered, should you not just expand?” If it were up to Soete, more thought would also be given to the employability of graduates. “I see it as the responsibility of an educational institution to offer high-quality programmes that result in graduates finding work. Does the content of the programme meet the needs of the labour market? That is the new challenge.” Maastricht generation Growth is the key, then, not only in the number of study programmes but also in the number of students. This year,

pre-registrations at UM rose by over 10%. This rise is attributable not so much to Dutch students, but to international students. And according to Soete, it will only increase. “The crisis has given rise to huge growth in the number of students coming from southern Europe, for example. Young talent goes looking for places where there are better employment opportunities after their studies. If you graduate here, you have a much higher chance of getting a job than in Spain or Greece. So these people will not go back to their own countries – in contrast to what the government thinks – but instead look for work here. In other words, the labour market has become European, while most educational institutes are still nationally oriented. That we teach in English is a big advantage in that regard. On the international labour market, knowledge of several languages is essential.” Eurocrisis: poison Though it is not easy these days to stay optimistic about Europe, Soete perseveres. “We’ve got to avoid the breakup of the EU at all costs, if only because the effects would be so gigantic.” Here, too, UM has a role to play. “You could call the young people who are studying here right now ‘Generation Maastricht’. Born in ’92, they grew up with the euro and without the Wall. They have international contacts via social media, and are defined by their mobility. This generation is looking for an identity, and their identity is that of Europe. The financial crisis works like a poison of distrust, continually fed by nationalism: the ‘us–them’ mentality. The foreigner gets the blame. As UM, you have to look for tools that build confidence, such as employability: the offer of guaranteed employment in the euro zone. Europe is of vital importance to UM and owes it to the generation that grew up with the Maastricht Treaty. And to this end,” Soete says with a twinkle in his eye, “I have all sorts of ideas that I want to propose to the board and the deans.” Let the multicultural governance debate begin – Luc Soete is ready.

Luc Soete Luc Soete (Brussels, 1950), professor of International Economic Relations, was director of UNU-MERIT between 1988 and 2012. He is a member of the Dutch Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy (AWT) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Before coming to Maastricht in 1986, he worked at the University of Antwerp, the Institute of Development Studies and the SPRU–Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex, and finally the Department of Economics at Stanford University.

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Impressive rise for Maastricht University in THE ranking as a direct result of the efforts UM has made over the years to enhance its regional, national and international visibility. “We are now starting to see the fruits of our labour. Our high international outlook score confirms our position as an international research university and our scientific citation score confirms the productivity of UM researchers and their impact on international science.”

Maastricht University (UM) climbed 82 places to 115th position in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2012-2013. Other Dutch universities also rose in the rankings, with Erasmus University Rotterdam slightly surpassing UM’s success (+ 85). The increase has multiple reasons, but is

mainly related to improvements to the reputation scores for both teaching and research. UM scored particularly well on international outlook (percentage of international staff and students) and on quality of research (scientific citations). Professor Martin Paul, university president, sees this spectacular achievement

The THE ranking is not the only one singing UM’s praises: Elsevier announced that students consider Maastricht University to be the best specialised university in the Netherlands. Earlier this year, the THE published its first Times Higher Education 100 under 50, a list of the best universities under the age of 50, where UM is placed 19th.

Prizes awarded at the opening of the academic year

Edmond Hustinx Prize The Edmond Hustinx Prize for science was awarded to Dr Elise Muir for her proposal ‘Taking European values more seriously: collective enforcement of EU non-economic law’. The prize consists of a €15,000 grant.

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Student Award The Taskforce Qualitative Resuscitation by Students (QRS) won the 2012 Student Award for providing CPR training to secondary school and fellow UM students. The Taskforce QRS consists of Hesam Amin, Ali Ghossein, Janieke Geerling, Marjan Klinkert, Frank Körver and Gideon Bookelmans. The prize is a work of art and a €1000 gift certificate.

Rabobank Dissertation Prize Dr Joakim Zander received the Rabobank Dissertation Prize for ‘The application of the precautionary principle in practice’, which was also published by Cambridge University Press.


Breakthrough in treatment of brain damage Together with the German company Vasopharm, the Maastricht University pharmacologist Professor Harald Schmidt has demonstrated the clinical efficacy of a new drug for treating traumatic brain injury (TBI). As the leading cause of disability and death among young adults in the Western world, TBI has an enormous medical impact. The latest findings show that swelling in the brain decreases after administration of the new drug, VAS203.

Earlier this week, Vasopharm revealed the promising results of a Phase II. A study among 32 patients with moderate to severe brain injury in six clinics in Spain, English, Austria, France and Switzerland. In the experimental group, VAS203 was administered in addition to the standard treatment. There were no deaths in this group, whereas the mortality rate was 12.5% in the placebo group. Intracranial pressure in the experimental group was substantially lower than in the placebo

Harald Schmidt

group. Neurological recovery six months after the injury was also significantly better in the group receiving VAS203.

UM launches unique international programme in forensic psychology From 2013, PhD candidates will be able to follow an international doctoral programme offered by three European universities, each a leading institute in forensic psychology: Maastricht, Portsmouth and Gothenburg. The programme will focus on research into areas such as witness statements, criminal investigation and lie

detection, all of which are crucial in criminal law, but also in detecting and preventing terrorist attacks.

worth more than €5 million from the European Union. According to the assessment report, it is ‘an original programme of high academic and educational quality’. By The programme is an initiative of the bringing together the field of security and Maastricht professors Peter van Koppen the forensic psychological expertise of and Harald Merckelbach, and has received leading institutes, this programme is unique an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate grant not only in Europe but worldwide.

Wiebe Bijker awarded Da Vinci Medal The highest recognition from the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) is the Leonardo da Vinci Medal, presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the history of technology through research, teaching, publications and other activities. The recipient for 2012 is Wiebe Bijker. According to the committee report, “Bijker has made important contribu-

tions in all the four areas mentioned in the da Vinci award description. His research has produced some of the most influential texts in our field during the past decades. He has served in many capacities within SHOT and in other academic contexts, along the way encouraging historians of technology to look outward, to make connections with new disciplines like sociology, philosophy and political science, and to address new

Wiebe Bijker

topics, new regions – beyond Europe and North America – and new concerns facing the world today, not least globalization and vulnerability.”

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Integration

René de Groot

Sharia council: same pitch, same rules By Hans van Vinkeveen

The call for a sharia council in the Netherlands has met with much controversy. But if a religious community feels the need for this, what’s the problem?, wondered René de Groot, professor of Comparative Law and International Private Law. “The Netherlands has an exceptionally long tradition in the application of sharia law.”

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De Groot is not familiar with the sharia sketch by the comedian Najib Amhali. In it, Amhali, disguised as an imam, is explaining to a group of children in broken Dutch what sharia means. “Today we talk about justice. What is sharia? Is Islamic law. Is firm but fair. You steal? Chop off hand! You steal again? Chop off other hand!” With this, Amhali is mocking the radical and widespread misconception of sharia law. “Sharia represents an entire set of rules that, if followed, get you into heaven,” says the suit-clad De Groot, a memory stick dangling from a cord around his neck. “You can explain this in a radical way or make a caricature of it, but in fact there’s no one definition

sharia. There are many interpretations, just as there are many variations of the Christian moral code.” Some of its precepts indeed seem draconian, stemming from ancient sources including the Quran. But the Bible is no different. And there are also attempts within the Islamic world to modernise sharia law.” Hot topic The call for a sharia council – an Islamic disputes committee to handle mainly family matters – has recently been heard in the Netherlands. According to the professor, it’s not such a strange request. After all, religious communities need institutes to monitor the established rules, and just think of the many Jewish, Protestant and Catholic courts around the world. It’s not the last time that De Groot makes comparisons with other religions. “The wording may not be ideal in this context, but it does apply: same pitch, same rules. A lawyer can’t treat Islamic communities differently to any other religious group.” In short, church councils have his blessing – but with two important restrictions. First, they must exclusively focus on church affairs, and second, they must not be granted powers that infringe on the jurisdiction of a Dutch court. “The separation of church and state means that people have to be able to settle all their disputes in a court of law.”

The unequal treatment of women in Islam is a “hot topic”, De Groot concedes. But in principle, he says, a government should never interfere with a religious community unless public order is at stake. “In that case we’d have to intervene in the Catholic Church too, because women can’t become priests or bishops. And I don’t see that happening.” If Muslims want to file for divorce under Islamic law, this is a personal choice, just as it is for Catholics. “The crucial point here is that they’re already divorced under Dutch law. The step towards a religious divorce is an extra one, which prevents them from remaining trapped in a religious marriage.” Legal pluralism “Look,” De Groot continues, “we can rage against it and insist that Islam is backwards, but (a) there are still

provisions in Dutch law that discriminate against women, and (b) keep in mind that the Netherlands has taken the step of ratifying the international treaty prohibiting discrimination against women.” In other words: give the Islamic world a chance to reform some of these ancient sharia laws. “You see that Muslim states are increasingly taking the woman’s position in society into account, for example by letting them pass their nationality on to their children. It’s not all that backwards.” Another argument against the establishment of a sharia council is that it brings foreign (read: Islamic) law into play. But this has been happening for some time now, though the average citizen remains blissfully unaware of it. For instance, in highly specific cases, Dutch courts will recognise polygamous marriage. “The Netherlands has a long tradition in the study of sharia law; in fact, it was an integral part of the training to become a colonial officer in Indonesia.” The application of foreign law should indeed be used sparingly, De Groot points out, to avoid legal pluralism (the coexistence of multiple

legal systems). “That’s not a good idea in a secularised society like the Netherlands. As a Catholic, you don’t want to be forced by the state to present your case to a church court. But we’ve always had a touch of legal pluralism. For example, a court recently awarded equal bereavement benefits to two widows following the accidental death of a Muslim man, thus recognising the Islamic right to bigamy.” Hypocrisy Ultimately, these issues all boil down to one question: how tolerant is a country of a foreign culture? “When I say ‘toler-

ance’, I mean tolerance in an appropriate way. If you’re utterly horrified by a foreign legal system, then the blind application of it would of course be unacceptable. Our legal system provides the boundaries, but you don’t want to go calling on it at the drop of a hat.” Again, for De Groot it’s all about attitude. “You can’t apply arguments to Islam that you don’t apply to your own religious community. This is an area plagued by hypocrisy, and that’s what I’d like to get rid of.”

René de Groot René de Groot (1951) is professor of Comparative Law and International Private Law at the Faculty of Law. This year marks his 30th anniversary at UM. An internationally renowned expert in the field of nationality law, De Groot helped to found the Association for the Study of Islamic Law and Middle Eastern Law (RIMO) in 1982. Thanks to his many contributions, he has been appointed as an expert on the Nationality Law Committee by the Council of Europe.

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Research and society

Cathrien Bruggeman

We need women at the top By Jolien Linssen

The future of the academic world belongs to women. A bold statement? Perhaps. Yet it seems a justified conclusion when looking at the figures: not only do women tend to have higher grades than their male counterparts, but they also outnumber men among university graduates. Paradoxically, however, the female presence in top academic positions is best characterised by its absence. For this reason Cathrien Bruggeman, one of the first female professors at Maastricht University (UM), took the initiative of creating an all-female PhD committee this summer. “I wanted to draw attention to women’s underrepresentation in a frivolous manner”, she says. “I want

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young women to get equal opportunities to reach the top.” It looks as though the Flemish Bruggeman chose precisely the right moment to make her statement. In September, after 37 years at UM, she gave her valedictory lecture as head of the Department of Medical Micro-


biology at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. “I enjoyed a great working life here and I’m neither frustrated nor bitter. But I have to conclude that virtually all decision making at the top level of both our university and our academic hospital is done by men. So I thought it would be interesting to reverse the roles for once.”

achieve the same as men, you need to work at least as hard as them. But that alone is not enough; someone has to recognise your talent. I find that even young women themselves are not aware of this. Theoretically, all possibilities are open to them. But the higher up the hierarchy one goes, the fewer women one sees.”

Bruggeman’s efforts to create awareness of the absence of women in top academic jobs turned out to be an outright success. “I was surprised at the amount of attention we received”, she admits. “My male colleagues all felt the need to comment on the initiative, and all of them were quite positive. More-over, during the PhD defence itself I perceived that we were doing something special, which the audience sensed as well. Even though we were wearing academic dress, the atmosphere was less stately and theatrical than is usually the case. As women tend to be concise and to the point, we were focusing purely on the content and quickly finished our deliberation. It was a fantastic day.”

Working hard seems to have been the leitmotif of her own career. “My mother was an emancipated woman avant la lettre who told me that women need to be able to take care of their own”, Bruggeman explains. “In Belgium in the early 70s it was accepted for mothers to continue working, so giving up my career has never been a real option for me. I think I’ve been ambitious in my own way. I decided to just do my utmost and see where it would lead. I’ve invested a lot, but my work has always been an important part of my life.”

Unconscious Bruggeman’s all-female PhD ceremony may be more than just an occasion to call attention to the problem of women’s underrepresentation. Instead, it also highlights one of the reasons women often do not make it to the top of the academic world.

Although Bruggeman is no advocate of quotas, she realises that at this point they may be the only measure that could increase the number of women in top academic positions. “If we aren’t going to force things, the situation will never change”, she says. “If one third of the university and hospital board members consist of women, more female applicants will have a chance to actually access the traditional hierarchies. That would be a good starting point.”

“Men, in general, are apt to boast about their accomplishments, whereas women are rather reserved”, she says. “We may do the same things as men yet instead of being pompous, we remain silent about it. Although I view modesty as a virtue, in this world it seems to be necessary to make yourself visible. I remember that when I started working as head of the department, my predecessor told me always to speak up in a meeting – even if there was nothing to say! Such are the rules of the game.” Add to this the fact that executives are more likely to hire employees who resemble themselves, and the vicious circle is complete. “I don’t believe there’s a lot of conscious discrimination going on”, she says. “These are unconscious mechanisms. Still, I’m making a value judgment. Ignorance is no excuse because well-educated people in high positions ought to know better.” Quota Aware of the workings of the old boys’ network, Bruggeman has attempted to foster young women throughout her career. “I experienced myself that someone needs to give you a leg up. If you want to

The female PhD committee

Cathrien Bruggeman Cathrien Bruggeman (1946) studied pharmaceutical sciences in Leuven, Belgium, and obtained her PhD at Leiden University. In 1976, she started working at Maastricht University’s Department of Medical Microbiology at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, where she became one of the first female professors in 1993. Bruggeman also headed the Department of Medical Microbiology at the Maastricht Academic Hospital. She retired on 1 August, giving her valedictory lecture in September.

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Debate

Childbirth:

Home versus hospital delivery

By Graziella Runchina

The topic of home births always makes for heated discussion. Are we better off giving birth at home, or in hospital? While some women will swear by the hospital birth, others want nothing more than to deliver their child at home. And there are no clear answers from an academic perspective, either. We asked Jan Nijhuis, professor of Obstetrics at Maastricht University, and Raymond de Vries, professor of Midwifery Science at the University of Midwifery Education and Studies (AVMU), for their views. The debate on home birth erupted again last year, and it was mainly the opponents who could be heard. In a highly developed country like the Netherlands, they said, that something as backwards as home birth still exists could only be the work of the “home birth mafia”: midwives whose main goal is to line their own pockets. “Mafia is a strong word”, says Nijhuis. “But it’s true that midwives have a great deal of autonomy here compared to most other countries. My view is that a pregnant woman has to have the free choice to give birth where she wants. If that’s with a gynaecologist in the hospital, then that has to be possible.” “And that’s where the shoe pinches”, adds De Vries. “There’s also such a thing as a ‘hospital birth mafia’ and now the media seems to be encouraging it. The newspapers publish so many wrong articles about the dangers of giving birth at home that it creates unnecessary anxiety among pregnant women. Yes, of course I agree with my colleague that women have to have a free choice, but that choice should be based on the right information and not on the fear caused by unscientific information reported in the media.”

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Hell of a job With these home birth fears, the Netherlands may well be en route to an American-style situation. De Vries comes from the US, and two of his three children were born at home there. “It was a hell of a job, trying to find a midwife who would be willing to do a home birth”, he says. “In the US fewer than 1% of all births take place at home. That’s the other extreme, compared to the Netherlands. Though I don’t entirely agree with Professor Nijhuis that a healthy woman should have the choice to give birth with a gynaecologist in the hospital – that is, the American system. I think that’s a waste of talent. In my view, gynaecologists have other things to do than lead healthy deliveries.” Fully and correctly informed The key issue here, both men think, is that pregnant women need to be fully and correctly informed about all the pros and cons of giving birth both at home and in the hospital. “Home births have been the norm in the Netherlands for years because there’s a hint of romance about it”, says Nijhuis. “In fact, more than half of women end up being rushed to hospital for their first delivery, but this was not widely known for a long time.


Jan Nijhuis

Historically, we’ve kept women ignorant in this area; no honest information has been given for years. As a result, three years after delivering their first child almost a quarter of women are dissatisfied with how things went, because they assumed the birth would take place at home.” “Yes,” answers De Vries, “but the same proportion – a quarter – of the new mothers who are outpatients but then find themselves referred to the gynaecologist are also dissatisfied. That’s to be expected if your plans fall through.”

Raymond de Vries

Netherlands: model country “If you’re a healthy pregnant woman, then a home birth is the best option”, says De Vries, a staunch home birth advocate. “Hospital deliveries are more likely to end up being caesareans, with all the complications that may entail for mother, child and potential future deliveries. Healthy pregnant women should also be well informed of the risk of unnecessary intervention if a delivery begins in hospital. In the US, hospital deliveries are the most normal thing in the world. Almost all babies are

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Debate

born in hospital and in around 34% of cases these end up being caesareans. In a country like Brazil as many as 70% of babies are delivered by caesarean.” These are extremes, of course – but the other end of the spectrum is the full romanticising of home births, as in the Netherlands. “Once upon a time, the idea was that pain would be good for the bond between mother and child”, says Nijhuis. “Which is nonsense. A good bond doesn’t depend on pain during childbirth. And any woman who decides beforehand that she’ll want an epidural during labour will have to go to the hospital anyway.” “But,” De Vries hastens to add, “there’s also such a thing as the romanticising of hospital births, with the idea that the hospital is the safest place for all women to give birth. This is just scientifically not true. So it’s just like in the US, though there they often have unnecessary interventions, something that we should not aspire to in the Netherlands. Far from being backwards, I see the Dutch system – with its midwives

Raymond de Vries Raymond de Vries (1951) works at the University of Midwifery Education and Studies (AVMU), appointed by Hogeschool Zuyd. These institutions collaborate closely on the academisation of the midwifery knowledge domain. De Vries works at the AVMU for several months per year, but is now spending a full year in Maastricht while on sabbatical leave from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Jan Nijhuis Jan Nijhuis (1952) specialises in obstetrics and prenatal diagnostics. His research focuses on foetal monitoring and foetal behaviour, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of how the foetus ‘feels’ and ensuring that fewer children are born with a lack of oxygen. He has been professor of Obstetrics at the Maastricht academic hospital since 1999, and head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Maastricht University Medical Centre since 2006. Nijhuis also advocates at a national level for quality improvements in obstetric care.

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who can work independently – as being very progressive. At least, that’s how many countries view the Dutch approach to childbirth. It’s seen as a model country in this area.” High infant mortality What about infant mortality rates, which are significantly higher in the Netherlands than in neighbouring countries? Is this due to the high number of home births? Nijhuis: “Studies show that the relatively high infant mortality in the Netherlands is not caused by the large number of planned home births; after all, the mortality rates among women who go into labour on time is already low, and also not all hospitals are 100% open 24 hours a day. So healthy pregnant women can choose their own place of delivery. To that end, home birth is a very safe option. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, more’s the pity. In any event, what we all have to stop doing is giving women the feeling that they’ve failed if their delivery ends up

taking place in the hospital with medical intervention. That sentiment is deeply rooted in our country.”

This is “a bad thing”, De Vries agrees. “We also have to reassure these women, let them know that they’ve done well – under any circumstances, wherever they end up giving birth. The point is that home birth is a safe option and we have to protect the freedom of women who choose it. The preconditions, of course, are a good healthcare system and an integrated referral system. Here in the Netherlands, there are enough skilled midwives who can assess the suitability of a home birth. So healthy Dutch women should have no qualms opting for a home birth.”


NWO grants for talented UM researchers Vidi The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vidi grants to no fewer than six innovative UM academics. Each will receive a maximum of €800,000 to develop a research line and assemble their own research group. The Vidi grants are awarded annually to outstanding young academics who have completed a number of years of postdoctoral research. The six recipients are Therese van Amelsvoort, Memory to the fore with psychosis; Rafaël de Bont, Nature without borders: expertise and activism, 1930–2000; Thomas Conzelmann, The authority of peer reviews among states;

Rory Koenen, The platelets as assassins; Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov, Cholesterol accumulation root cause of hepatitis; and Kamil Uludag, Information flow in the human brain. Veni The NWO has also awarded Veni grants to nine young researchers from UM. Veni grants are for early-career researchers who have shown notable talent for academic research. The grants of up to €250,000 give them three years to further develop their ideas. The Maastricht Veni laureates are Dennis Arnold, Technology and Society Studies; Giselle Bosse, Political Science;

Olivier Marie, Economics; Liesbeth Mercken, Health Promotion; Elise Muir, International and European Law; Henry Otgaar, Clinical Psychological Science; Esther Phielix, Human Biology; Annelies Renders, Accounting and Information Management and Stephan Smeekes, Quantitative Economics. Rubicon Veerle Bieghs and Johan Verjans, both from the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, have each received an NWO Rubicon grant. Rubicon grants are awarded to help newly qualified Dutch academics gain research experience abroad, and are considered good stepping stones for Veni grants.

First artificial vestibular system implanted The first artificial vestibular system has been implanted by doctors and researchers from the Maastricht UMC+ and the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève. Led by professors Herman Kingma in Maastricht and Jean-Philippe Guyot in Geneva, the team hopes this will mark an important step towards repairing problems in the functioning of the vestibular system, the sensory system that contributes to balance. Two successful operations have now been performed by a team directed by the ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist Professor Robert Stokroos. It will take

several weeks until the implants can be set, revealing whether or not the artificial vestibular systems actually work. One of the patients is a 47-yearold woman from Maastricht who has suffered for years from the complete failure of her vestibular system. Recently, the same team of doctors and researchers also implanted an artificial vestibular system in Geneva, using a slightly different technique. The two clinics (Maastricht UMC+ and the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève) developed the technique and the first implants in close collaboration.

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Brains Unlimited

Bettina Sorger

Writing

with your brain By Jos Cortenraad

Bettina Sorger developed a method at Maastricht University (UM) that allows people to convert their thoughts, letter by letter, into brain patterns that are measured by an MRI scanner, and then translated by analysis software back into letters. It was a scientific breakthrough – but it took two years to convince a leading scientific journal to publish it. The clinical testing phase is now underway. The international press couldn’t get enough of Sorger last summer. The editors of Current Biology had finally given their blessing for the publication of her new method of communicating through an MRI scanner.

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Then, Nature published a short summary in its news section, and suddenly the phones at UM were ringing off their hooks. “The topic certainly speaks to the imagination”, says Sorger. “We developed a method

that could allow people with ‘lockedin’ syndrome, who are completely paralysed, to communicate again with the outside world. Our method can also show whether patients who don’t respond are conscious or not.


Are they taking in anything of the world around them? It must be so horrific to be fully conscious but have no way of showing it, for example after a car accident or a stroke. Can you imagine? Communication – however limited – is a huge step towards improving a patient’s quality of life. So it’s no wonder our study caused such a stir.” Helpless Sorger knows what she’s talking about. She grew up in a small city near the East German town of Magdeburg, where she trained as a nurse. When the Wall fell, she moved to Cologne and started working in the neurosurgical department of the academic hospital. “I was struck by the helplessness of patients with brain damage or tumours. I decided right there and then to become a neuro-surgeon. I wanted to help people. In the end, it was psychology that drew me in, but my background comes in very handy in this research field.” Back to the present. “Some of the media drew conclusions that were far too hasty, claiming that our communication method could be used to read minds. Well, it can’t. And that’s also not the point. The point is to help people who are fully paralysed, and so can’t communicate naturally, to express themselves by way of brain activity. There’s still a long way to go before normal ‘conversations’ are possible. But we’ve taken the first step – that much is certain.” Simple It sounds a bit like science fiction: transforming the thoughts in your head into words on a screen. Sorger doesn’t see it that way. “There’s nothing difficult or magical about it,” she explains. “Anyone can use their brain activity to communicate letters; we just came up with a simple system for it. We ask people to do sums, recite rhymes or prayers, or draw a picture in their head

for a certain amount of time. You can compare it to Morse code or braille. Twenty seconds of drawing might stand for ‘A’. The MRI scanner measures the brain activity involved, and the software analyses the signals and translates them into letters and eventually words. At this point it takes about one minute to communicate one letter, but our test subjects were able to answer two open questions in an hour.” Method Sorger likes to keep things in perspective. All that publicity was unnecessary because, as she puts it, “there’s still so much to study”. And researchers had already managed to elicit reactions from patients using more traditional EEG measurements. “Communicating through brain signals is nothing new. You can also do this using electrical brain activity, and much more quickly”, she says. “But we – my supervisor Rainer Goebel, Joel Reithler, Brigitte Dahmen and I – have come up with an alternative method based on blood circulation in the brain. This method will give people who don’t respond to EEG a second chance. Our goal now is to develop the method even further and make it broadly accessible.” There’s still a long road ahead. The test subjects in Maastricht were put through scanners, just like the real patients currently participating in the clinical trials at the university hospital in Liège. “It’s laborious and expensive. In the future, mobile scanning devices need to be developed for use in hospital beds or even at home. The first prototypes – based on near-infrared spectroscopy – have already been tested. Of course, they’re not as good as the heavy MRI scanners, but here in Maastricht we have all the facilities we need to develop new techniques. Our new lab, which is currently being built, will have scanners of 7 and 9.4 Tesla – the best of the best. With

those we’ll be able to investigate the

human brain in even more detail, eventually right down to the submillimetre level. We can then use that knowledge to develop more mobile scanners and devices to treat diseases like depression and Parkinson’s. The research facilities being developed here will offer countless opportunities.”

Publication Sorger obtained her PhD from Maastricht in 2010, went to work in the Liège university hospital, and returned to Maastricht as a researcher in 2011. “I’d love to stay here. Our new scanner lab is just fantastic for researchers. It opens up great career opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.” Publication in a leading scientific journal like Current Biology is not a bad career move either. “That’s true”, she smiles cautiously. “Publications count for a lot, but it wasn’t easy. We spent two years working on it; longer than the research itself. Several journals rejected us and the feedback was discouraging at times. We had to rewrite, edit, scrap and add things over and over again, even though we knew we had something special. The publication was a real relief. But that’s all part of the process. It’s a matter of perseverance and rolling with the punches. I’m just happy I can now focus my attention again on what I love most – research.”

Bettina Sorger Bettina Sorger (1972) studied nursing near Magdeburg (Germany). In 2002 she graduated cum laude from the University of Cologne with a degree in psychology, and in 2010 she obtained her PhD from Maastricht University. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

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Culture

Wiel Kusters

Poet in academia By Annelotte Huiskes

In late June, Wiel Kusters stepped down from his post as professor of General and Dutch Literature. But, he says, the poet and author Kusters will never retire. We sat down with him to talk academia, language, art, the uninhibited approach and the toppling of reality. In 1989, Kusters became only the second humanities professor in what was then the Faculty of General Sciences at Maastricht University. He quickly joined the move to launch a new faculty, today’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and became its first dean in 1991. “We wanted to do something new, something interdisciplinary. With my unorthodox academic training, I fit in well: I had a PhD, but worked as a radio and newspaper publicist, and had one foot in the literary world as a poet. We started out with a brand

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new, four-year doctoraal programme in Arts and Culture. It was an interdisciplinary programme that focused on the problems in 19th and 20th century culture, and the role of science and technology in that culture. It was unheard of in the Netherlands, but the concept was a hit right from the outset.” Emerging poems Ever since he was a child, Kusters had yearned to publish. At age ten, encouraged by his ‘wonderful’


teacher Van Montfort, he started carrying around a notebook for his column ‘A bit of everything’ in the school newspaper. He published his first collection of poetry in 1978, and continued to write poems alongside his professorship. “The poetry just crept up in me. I never felt as though I had to take off to do it; you just need to empty your mind sometimes. And I’m someone who, when I write, I write fast. So it never really took me that long at all. The poems more or less just presented themselves to me.” Kusters even wrote a poem for the wall of the University Library, commissioned by Jo Ritzen. “It’s a wall that just begs to have bikes leaned against it. But as often as I go there, I never see a single bike. It’s nice. It’s like the poem is demanding to be seen, not to be covered with a bike. It looks great and I’m really proud of it. I’m not always happy with everything I write, but this poem is solid as a rock. ‘The book that is read in the night glows …’; that’s a reference to the ‘light’ a book can bring, but also to the glow of a screen. And ‘… each word was created from another’ refers to all the books in the universal, all-encompassing

in the cracks of language. ‘Oh how vague’, I can hear people say. But that also deserves some thought and attention. I think we give this up far too quickly in the humanities because we’re afraid of not being taken seriously according to the standards set by the hard sciences. People tend to forget that the humanities largely stem from the humanistic sciences of the 16th and 17 th centuries, when texts played a central role, whereas the natural sciences come from a more philosophical and theological tradition. The humanities have a very different tradition and therefore different scholarly criteria. “A society as a whole, a culture, must remain open to selfreflection and discussion, certainly in these multicultural times. That’s the social relevance of the Arts and Culture programme. A society under economic pressure will find this difficult; art, for example, is increasingly being seen as superfluous. Fortunately our faculty doesn’t see it that way, because we’re getting a new literature professor. What more could I want?”

library that are in a continual dialogue with one another.”

Theatre Kusters can’t imagine a life without poetry. It shapes his view of the world, and undoubtedly helped to shape his work for the faculty. “Poetry influences how I read historical and philosophical works; I don’t use a disciplinary approach, but focus instead on the language and the images. I find that having an uninhibited approach is essential to my own poetry. This approach can often be surprising; it can make you marvel at what once seemed obvious. I use this same uninhibited approach in my scholarly work, which sometimes helps me make surprising connections.” In June, Kusters bid farewell to his professorship in his own unique way. Rather than a stuffy reflection on his time at the university, he delivered a theatrical lecture on ‘Art, truth and politics’, the Nobel Lecture delivered in 2005 by the author Harold Pinter, then deathly ill. In convincing fashion, Kusters revealed the valedictory lecture to be a form of theatre, much in the way that Pinter had carefully staged his own performance. “I wanted to show people what I can do. That interpretive side is the core of what I did here. You’re traversing the field of meaning, a side that’s often ignored in the ‘strictly scientific’ approach. What do things mean to us, not what ideas and theories predict or explain, but what they actually mean.” In the cracks of language In these times where practicality and economic profit are gaining increasing importance in academia, Kusters is advocating aesthetics instead. “Of course academic research should be socially relevant. But I think that academia, and particularly cultural studies, should have its aesthetic moments as well. It’s about issues that, like in art, sometimes surpass the rational but still hit home; important things that are wedged between the words

Wiel Kusters

Last spring, Wiel Kusters published a selection of essays and articles entitled Dit nog, ook dit. Essays over poezie en proza (This and that: Essays on poetry and prose) (AthenaeumPolak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam). His book In en onder het dorp. Mijnwerkersleven in Limburg (In and under the village: A miner’s life in Limburg) (Vantilt, Nijmegen) will be released in November. The story is based on his own family history. Kusters is currently writing a biography on the Dutch writer and literary critic Kees Fens, which will be released in 2013 (Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam). The following publications were released on the occasion of his valedictory lecture: Ik woon in duizend kamers tegelijk. Opstellen voor en over Wiel Kusters (I live in a thousand rooms at once: Essays on and about Wiel Kusters), edited by Jan de Roder (Vantilt, Nijmegen). De onderste steen 3 (1997-2012) Een bibliografie van het werk van Wiel Kusters (The bottom stone 3 (1997–2012): A bibliography of the work of Wiel Kusters), compiled by Sanne Thomas (Vantilt, Nijmegen). To watch Kusters’s valedictory lecture De waarheid ten tonele: Harold Pinter over kunst, waarheid en politiek (Staging the truth: Harold Pinter on art, truth and politics) click on www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/ Faculties/FASoS/Theme/AboutTheFaculty/Symposia.htm

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Professor–Student

Annemarie Nelen and Andries de Grip

Professor Andries de Grip and student Annemarie Nelen By Margot Krijnen

Annemarie Nelen recently earned a PhD from Maastricht University for her dissertation on part-time employment. One of her findings: toddlers with working mothers perform better in school. “I want my research to be relevant and understandable. It’s rewarding when people outside the academic field are genuinely interested in the results.” Her supervisor was Professor Andries de Grip at Maastricht University’s Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA). Great supervision You can sense mutual appreciation between Andries de Grip and Annemarie Nelen, friendly and respectful at the same time. “I wanted to write my dissertation at ROA because it would also give me the chance to do commissioned research with high social relevance, and that’s important to me”, says Nelen. “I have a very clear memory of my first day here. Andries showed me my office

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and joked ‘See you in five years’. Perhaps that is the reality for some supervisors, but Andries was quite the opposite. In those first couple of years he supported me in every possible way. He taught me how to identify interesting research subjects, helped me think from an academic perspective and showed me how to write research papers. At first, we worked together at least once a week, but gradually he felt I could do it on my

own. He knew exactly when to help and when to let go. That’s a great talent in a supervisor!” Thorough Nelen finished her dissertation in four years. This is impressive, considering she was conducting commissioned research as well. She was then offered a job at the University of Wuppertal, Germany, where she studies part-time work in relation to


health. Her current subject is the health of mothers who combine parttime work with the care of young children. “Annemarie’s future lies in research”, says De Grip. “She has the right mentality; she is persistent and thorough, and she never avoids problems but faces and tackles them with great conviction. One of her strengths is that she recognises an interesting research topic when she sees one. While working on commissioned studies, she often came across data that could add yet another perspective to her dissertation. And trust me, it was not an easy dissertation, because she studied part-time employment from four entirely different perspectives: human capital invest-

ments, firm and worker productivity, and the relationship between part-time working mothers and the cognitive development of toddlers.” Annemarie’s co-supervisor Didier Fouarge also played an important role in her work. “Didier and Andries complemented each other”, says Nelen. “Didier supported me in different ways to Andries. For example, he was a great help when it came to using statistics programs. Even now that I’m in Wuppertal, I can still rely on him when I’m stuck. I greatly appreciate that.” Striking results What are the outcomes of Nelen’s research? “We find that part-time workers on average benefit less from human resource practices, such as career counselling, so that their training participation remains below that of full-timers”, explains Nelen. “Firms are less inclined to invest in part-time

workers because they think they will benefit more from investing in fulltime employees. Part-time workers can only partly compensate for this lack of company support if they have high motivation to learn and a good vision of their future development. Another conclusion is that servicesector firms with a large share of part-time employment are more productive than those with mostly fulltime employment. This is due to the efficient allocation of labour in firms with many part-time employees. As it turns out, part-timers work both fewer hours per work day and fewer days per week. Therefore, they can be deployed in such a way that they can cover the lunch breaks of their full-time colleagues, for example. And in sectors where the weekly opening hours are longer than the full-time work week, such as pharmacies or shops, part-time workers help to bridge this gap. ” But the most striking result is this: maternal employment during children’s early school years correlates positively with their school results, measured by a language and sorting test. The children of nonworking mothers perform worst in the sorting test. “We still have to refine this conclusion,” adds Nelen, “but these are sound academic results. This finding may relate to higher family income, but we weren’t able to find a wealthier home environment that could explain this relation.” That this finding strikes a chord became clear during Nelen’s dissertation defence. “Some of the committee members applied the results to their own home

situations and asked questions about that. And of course, one member asked if I will work part time or full time once I have children. Somehow I never answered that question... ”

Andries de Grip Prof. Andries de Grip (1954), PhD, is head of Research Employment and Training at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market and professor of Economics at the School of Business and Economics, both at Maastricht University. Annemarie Nelen Dr Annemarie Nelen (1983) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Health Economics and Management at the University of Wuppertal. She earned a master’s degree in Social Economics from Maastricht University and worked as a researcher and PhD candidate at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market at Maastricht University.

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International

“I let people discover their own talents” By Loek Kusiak

Jamiu Busari is an English paediatrician with Nigerian roots. He was among the first batch of students to join Maastricht’s pioneering programme in Health Professions Education. Now the medical manager of the Department of Paediatrics at the Atrium Medical Centre in Heerlen, Busari is a true role model, creating a positive workplace atmosphere and training and coaching junior doctors. It’s the Smurf doll tied to his lab coat that immediately stands out. This is just one of the 50 Smurf-like dolls Busari has either bought himself or received as gifts from colleagues and patients. “Aren’t they cute?!” he asks with a loud, infectious laugh. The Atrium MC paediatrician is a genuine merrymaker; playful and funny in his dealings with his young patients. “It’s in my nature”, he says. “I can’t help being playful and lighthearted. Otherwise I could never have chosen paediatrics. Kids are honest, uninhibited and uncomplicated.” As Busari sees it, a good paediatrician is “empathetic, good at clinical pattern recognition and careful when selecting medication. I see children aged anywhere from 0 to 18. You have to investigate everything very carefully, especially with young children. Working with kids calls for a holistic approach, because their symp-

Sint Elisabeth hospital at Willemstad, Curaçao

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toms could stem from an imbalance between mind and body, or from social factors in the home. So you need to talk a lot, ask lots of questions and listen well, including with the parents. Parents want the best possible care for their children. And a dash of humour in communication breaks the ice.” Mad about uniforms Busari was born in London to Nigerian parents. The family returned to their homeland when Busari was eight. “As a kid I was mad about uniforms, like firemen’s gear and doctor’s coats, because it meant you could help people. That’s what I do now. I realise every day how privileged I am. When I was studying medicine, I realised that surgery just didn’t fit my personality. My instructor, who knew my playful side, encouraged me to become a paediatrician instead.” Busari heard about the Master in Health Professions Education (MPHE) in Maastricht through international contacts in his student association. “Maastricht University had an international secretariat and was aiming to recruit students from Nigeria. That’s how I ended up as the only Nigerian student in the first MPHE cohort in 1992. I quickly got used to it and was impressed by the technology I saw. In Nigeria, I’d never seen a ventilator before; I’d only read about them. I had to redo my residencies because my


Nigerian medical diploma wasn’t fully recognised here. I remember that during the 100-question progress test, which was in Dutch, they let me use a Dutch-English dictionary.” Healthcare in Curaçao Before his specialist training in paediatrics, Busari spent two years at the Sint Elisabeth Hospital in Curaçao. “I seized the opportunity, and it turned out to be a fantastic experience. I was given a lot of freedom in my work.” Even after finding a post in Heerlen, Busari’s connection with Curaçao remained. Last spring, at the request of the ‘Island Council’ (the board of directors), he produced a series of recommendations in his report ‘Quality requirements for

competence-based medical care in Curaçao’, calling for the roles and responsibilities of the healthcare providers to be better defined. “To provide patients with the highest quality care, an entire cultural transformation is needed”, he explains. “Doctors should retrain regularly, and their ongoing development should be registered and evaluated. Healthcare providers need to invest in the latest medical equipment. The health inspectorate should conduct thorough inspections, and impose sanctions when necessary. And health insurers should develop quality standards before taking on healthcare providers. I was pleased to see that the governor of Curaçao praised the clarity of the recommendations.” Discovering talent As the medical manager of his Atrium department, Busari is a role model to his colleagues and junior doctors. “To me, coaching means teaching people how to discover their talents”, he says. As an associate professor at Maastricht University, he collaborated on the design of a new curriculum for continuing medical education. “Management is not part of the medical curriculum at present, but negotiation skills, time management and business insight will be important qualities in the future. So I try to get some of that into the programme. We’re also seeing new health problems emerge: binge drinkers, kids with obesity and diabetes. In 15 years we’ll need a different type of doctor than we have now. E-health and internet consulting, which are both on the rise, are pushing doctors towards a different, perhaps more modest, role.” What remains unchanged in the field are the heart-breaking messages every doctor is faced with personally delivering; for example, informing a parent that their child is chronically, perhaps untreatably, ill or handicapped. “But even in sad situations I try to bring a smile to a child’s face”, Busari says. “The Smurf helps. And often works.”

Jamiu Busari Jamiu Busari (1968) received his bachelor’s degree in Ogun, Nigeria, and studied paediatric medicine and medical education in Maastricht. His work placements included stints at the Emma Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam as well as in Curaçao. He has since followed courses in leadership training and healthcare innovation at the Harvard Medical School. Busari has been a paediatrician and trainer at the Atrium MC in Heerlen since 2005, and also works one day a week as an associate professor of medical education at Maastricht University.

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Euregion

Pieter Valkering, Carijn Beumer and Ton Grieks poor in the allotment garden of the Heerlen MSP district.

Social innovation and the vegetable garden By Jos Cortenraad

Crime, drugs, unemployment, deterioration and deprivation. Just five years ago, these were the less than flattering labels stuck to the Heerlen neighbourhoods of Meezenbroek, Schaesbergerveld and Palemig. Now, the ‘MSP’ district is considered a role model for social and sustainable innovation. The transformation is thanks in part to SUN, an interregional project that aims to make existing urban neighbourhoods more sustainable. Carijn Beumer and Pieter Valkering joined the project on behalf of Maastricht University. Ton Griekspoor is serving coffee at a picnic table in one of more than 40 allotment gardens, neatly divided into rectangular plots, on the Limburgiastraat on the outskirts of Heerlen. Here, the usual tangle of rhubarb, tomatoes, leeks, onions, strawberries, beans and more are cultivated at the hands of amateur gardeners. Just outside the gate stands a row of fruit trees. At first glance it’s nothing

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special – just your average allotment in your average neighbourhood. But looks can be deceiving. The allotments in the MSP district are living proof of a successful social innovation project. “There used to be seven big flats on this spot”, says the unpaid administrator, now without a hint of pride. “Not a nice place to live. Loiterers, drug dealers, noise and

nuisance. One morning I even found a corpse on my doorstep. And just look at it now. The neighbourhood has really changed. The living environment has improved dramatically, partly thanks to this allotment. This is a place where people can get together; where immigrants and locals can get to know one another; where young and old work side by side. This garden is three years old and not a single thing has


ever been destroyed. Honestly, I would never have expected that. Nothing was safe here before.” Small scale For the record: the flats were not demolished to make way for a garden. Together, Meezenbroek, Schaesbergerveld and Palemig form one of 40 disadvantaged districts in the Netherlands where extra investments are being made to end deprivation. They lie at the heart of the once prosperous eastern mining region, whose ageing population is now dwindling. Older homes are being demolished to make way for more green spaces and more suitable senior housing. “The space that became vacant on the Limburgia-straat offered a great opportunity for a SUN experiment”, says Carijn Beumer, a PhD candidate at the International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS) at Maastricht University. “SUN is one of the many projects launched in the MSP district. Supported by European funds, its aim is to transform urban neighbourhoods into sustainable and green places to live. Sustainability immediately calls to mind energy saving and large-scale projects like solar panels and wind farms. But it can also be done on a smaller scale with less money. Like vegetable gardens, for example. Similar projects in the United States have taught us that urban allotment gardens are a huge success. Growing your own fruit and vegetables helps you save money. Plus, it’s a good way to keep cities sustainably green.” Academic Seven districts in the cities of Liège, Eupen, Genk, Aachen, Eschweiler, Verviers and Heerlen have been part of the SUN project for five years now. “All of these cities have industrial histories and similar problems”, explains Pieter Valkering, a fellow researcher at ICIS. “Four regional universities are involved in the project: UM, Liège, Aachen and

Hasselt. SUN is very interesting from an academic perspective. It gives us the chance to study the effects of allotment gardens in urban areas.” SUN (short for Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods) has four objectives: saving energy, strengthening the local economy, bringing more green to the district and promoting social cohesion. “Creating greener areas has automatically led to more social cohesion”, says Beumer. This was one of the preliminary conclusions after the project was finalised last summer. “The allotments bring people together. We’re seeing new initiatives emerge as well, like an exercise garden, neighbourhood parties and smaller events. People cook and invite the whole neighbourhood over to eat.” Pride Griekspoor nods in agreement. “The garden belongs to all of us; that’s the general feeling. The people here are proud of it. And on top of that, they’re noticing that it helps them save money. They don’t have to pay for it; they’re just expected to keep everything tidy and join a clean-up day every now and then. Everyone helps one another. They exchange seeds and products. When we started out, 95% had no idea how to garden. That figure has now been halved. It helps create a bond. I don’t claim that MSP is a model district, but that miserable atmosphere from a few years ago is definitely gone.” Beumer sees plenty of opportunities for follow-up research and projects. “Absolutely. The success of the MSP district deserves a sequel. Several municipalities have already paid a visit to the garden and the orchard, and similar projects are now planned for Maastricht and Landgraaf.” Results Valkering, who recently started his own vegetable garden, looks back on

the project with satisfaction. “We had good results in all seven districts. This year we’re busy interviewing participants and evaluating the results with researchers at the other universities. As I see it, the learning process is just

as important as the results themselves. Gaining insight into this learning process at different levels is one of our academic goals. At the individual level, people in the neighbourhoods learned how to grow tomatoes and how to apply sustainability in practice, thus giving concrete form to an abstract concept. In a broader sense, we can see that people are starting to view their neighbourhood in a whole new light. We’re also seeing former loiterers working collectively alongside elderly people and immigrants. And this is all happening across borders, in three different countries with three different languages. It’s priceless.”

Carijn Beumer Carijn Beumer (1978) holds an MA in Culture and Science Studies from the Faculty of Arts and Culture at Maastricht University. Now a PhD candidate at ICIS, she studies cultural perspectives on biodiversity conservation in a changing world and the role of urban areas in nature conservation. She has been a member of the Business Advisory Board of Enactus Maastricht (Entrepreneurial Action University Students) since September 2011. Pieter Valkering Pieter Valkering (1975) studied physics in Utrecht and has been a researcher and tutor at ICIS since 2000. He specialises in the sustainable evaluation of water management and urban development.

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Off the job

Mark Vluggen

“I prefer my movies in the morning” By Annelotte Huiskes

Every year he watches at least 200 films, 40 of them at the Cannes Film Festival. For Mark Vluggen, Cannes is the recurring highlight of his year. An assistant professor in Information Management at the School of Business and Economics, Vluggen is also the editor in chief of the film magazine of Maastricht’s arthouse cinema, the Lumière, and a film critic for the university newspaper Observant. It’s not the glitz and glamour that draws him to Cannes each year. And no, he has no particular favourite actor or actress; the more famous they are, the more they distract from the film. He is mainly interested in

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directors who build up an oeuvre and bring something new to the screen. The film itself takes centre stage for him – that’s what he comes to see. Despite the fact that it’s often far too busy in Cannes; that you spend end-

less hours waiting in line and too much money on a hotel room. “It is and always will be a special festival. This is where films are unveiled to the world. What’s more exciting than watching the new Lars von Trier or


Haneke at nine in the morning? No one’s seen it yet and you’re one of the 2000 people who get to be the first.” The morning shows are his favourite. As he sees it, it’s a flaw in the system that people tend to go to the cinema at night. “You should watch a film when you’re nice and relaxed. You wouldn’t take a tour of the Louvre at ten in the evening, would you? I also think movies should be seen in the cinema, not on DVD. To me, watching a movie at home is like looking at a print rather than the real painting.” Lumière Vluggen sees most films at Cannes and other festivals in Berlin, Rotterdam and Vlissingen before they hit the Lumière. He has been writing for the Lumière film magazine for over five years, and now serves as its editor in chief. As of July, the magazine is available online only; the last printed issue had just been released at the time of this interview. “It’s a real shame because the printed word will always be a more tangible verification of your work”, Vluggen says. “But the board wanted a new website with an online magazine instead.” The magazine is not the only thing to change. In 2014, the cinema will move

Mark Vluggen at Cannes

to a bigger location at the Timmerfabriek in Maastricht. “If you want to survive as a cinema, you need to invest in good infrastructure: bigger theatres, better equipment and a larger screen. If the Lumière hadn’t taken this step, in ten years it would barely be clinging to life at its current location.” Already daydreaming about the grand opening, he can’t wait for the big day. Could they get Golden Palm winner Haneke or Pedro Almódovar to Maastricht? Bullets The Lumière has played an important role in his cinematographic development. This is where, as an economics student, he first discovered the higher breed of movie: the artistic film. “It’s not something I was brought up with. I come from a very working-class Limburg family. My father’s love of film was limited to the statement ‘there needs to be bullets’. I watched all the great westerns and war films with him. We must have watched the war classic The Guns of Navarone at least 12 times. But the films that really made the deepest impression were the ones I saw during my student days. At home we read the Limburger. When I started reading the Volkskrant as a student, I discov-

ered how expertly the artistic film was ignored in the Limburger. I also discovered that we had an arthouse cinema in Maastricht. The first film that made a real impact on me was Naked by Mike Leigh: a film about a homeless man on the outskirts of London who predicts the end of the world. I’d never seen anything quite so stark and dismal.” Film critic Never harbouring ambitions to become a filmmaker, Vluggen prefers to write about films instead. “The challenge for me is presenting a film in 150 words and making sure the right audience goes to the right movie. That’s the fun part. I also like writing opinion pieces, which I get to aan de Stegge do for Cecile the Observant and the online magazine now too. Unfortunately, the film critic is a dying breed. With the disappearing of the elite, there’s less respect for the true connoisseur; everyone’s a film critic these days. I also think the quality of film reviews leaves a lot to be desired. The reviews in the Volkskrant are practically interchangeable. Too few critics have their own style and voice.”

Mark’s film tip: “This year, the top prize at Cannes went to the Austrian director Michael Haneke, who won the Golden Palm a few years ago with Das Weisse Band. His new film Amour (expected release date: November) is his most tender film to date. It follows an elderly couple’s struggle with the wife’s dementia. Haneke is not inclined to pathos and sentiment, opting instead to examine ageing and our inevitable decline in a meticulous and very honest way. It’s a film that will haunt you for days.”

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Marcia Luyten

“My time in Maastricht

has shaped me intellectually” By Jolien Linssen

As a teenager, Marcia Luyten, economist and cultural historian, dreamt of leaving her birthplace Wijnandsrade for Amsterdam, that magical place where everything happens. After her studies at Maastricht University, she finally packed her bags and took off – perhaps for good. And yet she is back. Luyten is currently here doing research for her book The happiness of Limburg. And if that’s not enough, she recently began presenting the influential political interview programme Buitenhof on Dutch national television.

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Visit us at www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/alumni

“I was at the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam with a bunch of children when my phone suddenly rang”, Luyten recalls. She expected “yet another request to participate in a discussion on development aid”, as she had been writing extensively about the subject in the previous years. “When the editorin-chief asked me whether I would be interested in being one of the three presenters of Buitenhof, I was amazed. I wasn’t expecting it at all. You know what’s funny? The first job application letter I ever wrote was for a position at Buitenhof. Back then, all I got was a rejection.” But times change, and Luyten’s work as a writer, journalist, publicist and discussion leader has turned out to be good preparation for her first television job. “Although my experience with television is relatively limited, it certainly won’t be the first time I conduct an interview”, she says. “Next to leading many debates and doing interviews on stage, I hosted a talk show at De Balie, a centre for politics, culture and media in Amsterdam. In the end, there’s no big difference between what I was doing there and what I’ll be doing in the studio.” From Maastricht to Africa The foundation for Luyten’s work was laid at Maastricht University, where she enrolled in International Business at the School of Business and Economics after graduating from high school. “I’d wanted to move to Amsterdam since I was 15, but I chose to study in Maastricht because of its Problem-Based Learning (PBL) system”, she explains. “I knew straight away it would offer much

more than just passively sitting in a lecture hall would. I’m still convinced it’s a fantastic system; it encourages you to think for yourself.” Perhaps it was PBL that helped Luyten discover her true passion: thinking actively and, indeed, critically. She quickly decided her studies at the School of Business and Economics were “too practical” and switched to Political Culture at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “I was in the first batch of students and everyone was extremely motivated. After class, we continued our discussions over beer, wine and whisky in the pub. It was the kind of education you dream of when watching the movie Dead Poets Society.” When the time came to start making money, she applied for the diplomatic programme at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – and was accepted. There, she discovered she was not fit for the life of a bureaucrat, but she did find something else: the love of her life. In 2001, she followed him to Rwanda and a new object of study presented itself, eventually resulting in two books. “I took as my theme Africa and the ways in which I didn’t understand its logic. In trying to fathom it, Africa unconsciously changed the manner in which I viewed the Netherlands. I learnt that the existence of our democratic institutions and arrangements is not at all self-evident, for I witnessed how difficult it is to acquire them.” Back to the roots And here she is, at the time of the interview, in Heerlen, to do research for

her new book The happiness of Limburg. A journalistic narrative of the economy and the economic structure of Limburg throughout history, it is worlds apart from her cherished subject Africa. “I’ve been away long enough to view Limburg from an outsider’s perspective”, Luyten explains. “Just like Africa, I treat it like an exotic domain that I’m attempting to understand.” The urge to write about this area came from a phenomenon she did not readily understand. Why did so many people in Limburg give their vote to the PVV politician Geert Wilders, who proposes measures that will not move an ageing population toward more prosperity? According to Luyten, the answer is to be found in the coal mining era of the 1950s and 1960s, years that will form the heart of her book. “In the space of 20 years, the south of Limburg industrialised rapidly. It was a prosperous and thus happy time, yet also a period of benevolent dictatorship by the church, the state and the mining companies. People didn’t have to think for themselves because their lives were arranged for them. I believe that a lot of today’s sorrow and rancour, induced by the closing of the mines, stems from that period.” It promises to be a fascinating and insightful story, but for more details we will have to wait until the book’s release in 2014. For those who are impatient: be sure to watch Luyten on Buitenhof in the meantime.

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Solmaz Karami

The rise of an international ‘beta-girl’ By Hanna Mclean

To say that Solmaz Karami is driven would be an understatement. Born and raised in Tehran, this Maastricht University (UM) Knowledge Engineering alum has gone further than she thought possible. “When I first came to the Netherlands I couldn’t speak Dutch. I didn’t even know what I wanted, but I just thought, ‘go for it’ and look where I am now!” she exclaims. Now working as a business intelligence specialist for Vodafone in Maastricht, this 28-year-old is exactly where she wants to be.

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Visit us at www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/alumni

Growing up, Karami knew her strengths from an early age. When she was 12 until she was 18 her studies centred on maths and physics, which later led to computer studies. In Dutch, sciences like these are known as beta subjects. And Karami was a true ‘beta-girl’ at heart. Change of scenery After completing a two-year software engineering programme in Iran, Karami needed a change of scenery. Venturing to the Netherlands as a tourist to visit her uncle, who had been living here for more than 40 years, she toyed with the idea of studying abroad. “I went to one of the open days at UM and initially decided I wanted to study International Business, because the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) programme was amazing. I figured as an international girl in a foreign country, and because my father and friend both own companies, that International Business was my future.” As luck would have it, the International Business programme didn’t work out for Karami. “When I was accepted into the programme, I was happy, but I realised it wasn’t for me after taking my first Marketing Management and Quantitative Methods exams. Contrary to my classmates, my strong side was quantity methods, so I thought I should do something else. My roots are as a ‘beta-girl’ and I have to go back to the sciences. Then I discovered the Knowledge Engineering track at UM, and the rest is history!” Work experience After entering Knowledge Engineering, Karami completed a voluntary bachelor internship at Vodafone. There, she worked on simulated magnetic interaction, doing research to find an efficient approach for visualising social networks. “While my friends were studying abroad I wanted to gain work experience instead, because after all, I was already abroad”, Karami says. “That’s what led me to Vodafone.” After receiving her bachelor’s in Knowledge Engineering, Karami did a master in Operation Research at UM and completed a one-year internship at Philips. For the first six months of the internship, she interned in the marketing department and worked with a team that defined the mathematical model used to calculate the online sentiment of Philips in different areas. The second half of the internship focused on Karami’s master graduation project at the research and development department of Philips where she performed her own experiment that aimed to improve the automatic physical activity recognition based on acceleration data.

Even before graduating, Karami had two jobs lined up: one at Philips and one at Vodafone. “Making a decision was difficult”, she says. “In the end, what it came down to was that Philips was PhD focused and Vodafone wasn’t. I didn’t want to do a PhD, I wanted a career, so I chose the best fit for me and signed on with Vodafone.” Tehran versus Maastricht Moving from Iran to the Netherlands was no small feat, but for Karami, it was something she knew she wanted to do. “If I’d stayed in Tehran I would’ve found a job just like here, but I would’ve missed out on a lot of great experiences. My internship at Philips allowed me to do research surrounded by machines and experiments and I could work directly with the professionals there. That was something I’d have missed had I stayed at home.” While moving to the Netherlands proved exciting, there were some things she had to get used to. “The main distinction between Maastricht and Tehran is the PBL system. In Tehran my studies were theoretical and involved more lectures. The faculties were also bigger. Here, I could approach my teachers and work directly with them. In Tehran you had to make an appointment two months in advance and it was all very formal”, she explains. “The population difference is also huge. In Tehran there are about 10 million people and this makes personal development difficult. Because Maastricht is smaller, it’s easier for a person to grow.” Go for it “My future plans? I can’t say”, says Karami, when asked about her five-year plan. “I’m happy with Vodafone. I’m not planning on leaving any time soon. I’ll go back to Iran as a tourist, but I won’t move back there. I now have my Dutch passport and this is my home. Maastricht is a great city. And my job is the perfect mix between people and programming. I interview business people and build a bridge between them and the data so that they can do their jobs better. It’s the best of both worlds and at the moment, I wouldn’t change it for anything.” For other ‘beta-girls’ out there trying to follow their dreams, Karami has some advice: “Don’t think you can’t, because you can do a lot more than you think. You have to believe in yourself. That’s the biggest thing for everyone, especially girls abroad and in general – just go for it. Don’t be afraid to dive in. Just do it!”

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University Fund

Limburg University Fund /SWOL is pleased to introduce the 2012/13 scholarship students Several organisations and private parties make it possible to give international talent from Europe and emerging countries the chance to enjoy high-quality education in Maastricht. After graduating, these

scholarship students will be able to use their knowledge for the benefit of their home country and/or our European region. In this way, they make an important contribution to the international dynamics of the region, the exchange of knowledge and cultures, and the establishment of international networks. International talent can bring new knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship to Limburg. And

international grants reinforce Maastricht University’s position as an international university, which

benefits the entire region. In short, this is a fantastic objective which serves the future of us all. Please meet our students who will be supported by privately sponsored scholarships during the coming academic year!

Thanks to the Alumni Fund of the Limburg University Fund/SWOL, Shiraz El Haj from Sudan will see her wish come true: already a practicing medical doctor, she will follow the Master in Global Health in Maastricht. The Alumni Fund is supported by donations from our own generous alumni community. During her bachelor’s in medicine in Sudan, Shiraz’s passion was sparked by major healthaffecting events and the inequities in access to health services in her country. The Global Health programme addresses the complex relationships between health, healthcare, technology, international business, economic development, politics, the sociocultural environment and management; all valuable knowledge from which she and her home country can benefit greatly. The City of Horst will support Yala Stevens this year during her Master in Health Food Innovation Management, as an ‘ambitious and highly motivated student’. Yala has always been in-

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trigued by nutrition, and sees this master’s programme, with its broad coverage of nutrition-related topics, as the perfect choice. She hopes to learn about the entire process, from the development of healthy nutrition all the way to consumption, and how to innovate and perfect this process. Thanks to several ‘Friends’ of the University Fund (Delfin Maastricht, Mediview, Satijn Plus, Van der Valk Maastricht, Valid and Brand Bierbrouwerij), Lesley-Anne van Wyk will be starting the Master in Globalisation and Development Studies. LesleyAnne’s goal is to ‘contribute to the solutions for Namibia’s deep socioeconomic disparities as an uppermiddle income country but with one of the world’s highest income gaps between rich and poor’. Lei Gao and Muzi Zhu will all take the Master in International Business, supported by Sabic and Océ respectively.

Finally, the Lions Club Maastricht will fund Eric Nsiah Boateng to study the Master in Public Policy and Human Development in Maastricht. ‘I’ll be able to transfer my knowledge, skills and cultural experience to my country and future generations’, says Eric. The Limburg University Fund wishes all scholarship students a valuable academic year in every respect. The Fund would also like to extend its gratitude to all sponsors who have made it possible to bring such international talent to Maastricht University.


Become a friend of the Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund The Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund is a new fund that falls under the umbrella of the Limburg University Fund. The fund aims to preserve and pass on UM’s rich academic heritage to future generations. The Maastricht University Library owns a range of special heritage treasures, such as the Jesuit collection, the Charles Eyck documentation collection and the Pierre Kemp Library. With the Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund the library hopes to expand, conserve and digitise these special UM collections, and make them available to a wider audience as well as for research and education. A special division of the library’s heritage collection is the personal collection of the Maastricht poet and painter Pierre Kemp (1886-1967), donated to the library in 1994 by the Pierre Kemp Foundation. In fact, the fund’s first activity was to create a series of cards depicting the choreographic fantasies of Pierre Kemp. These cards can be purchased individually or as a set, and the proceeds will go to the Academic Heritage Fund. The Jesuit collection is a highly special collection. It includes approximately 265,000

volumes, mainly in the fields of theology, philosophy, history, literature, law, sociology, psychology, anthropology and economics. In this sense, it is a broad classics collection that provides an important source for research and education activities at the different university faculties. The oldest books date back to the start of the 16th century; the most recent to the 1970s. The government purchased the collection in 1973 to serve as the university’s basic collection. In the 1980s, several smaller subsets were added to the collection. The Charles Eyck documentation collection contains memorabilia from the Limburg painter Charles Eyck. UM bought the collection in its entirety from the publicist Wim Aerts, and has since added various smaller purchases and gifts. If the objectives of this named fund appeal to you, you are cordially invited to support the fund. Would you like to explore the collections? Please visit http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/ web/servicecentres/home/collections/ culturalheritagecollections1.htm or in person when launching an exhibition or during an open day for Friends of the Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund.

Pierre Kemp card

For more information on the Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund and the Pierre Kemp cards, please visit www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/library/ mahfund.htm. Of course, you are also welcome to support any other named fund of the Limburg University Fund. In addition, the Limburg University Fund offers individuals, foundations and corporations the opportunity to establish a private fund. For more information, please contact via www.ufl-swol.nl.

The logos of members of the Limburg University Fund Curatorium are shown below. These companies and private individuals are highly respected for the support they give to academic research and education. The Limburg University Fund/SWOL is very grateful to its Curatorium members for their commitment to Maastricht University.

LIONS CLUB MAASTRICHT

37


Smokers will not be put off There is no scientific evidence that graphic warning labels, such as the familiar warnings on cigarette packets, are effective. Even the graphic images used in other countries to deter smokers are not having the desired effect of making people smoke less. In fact, the images and warnings can be counterproductive, making some people smoke even more. These are some of the findings published by the Maastricht University researchers Gjalt-Jorn Peters, Rob Ruiter and Gerjo Kok in the journal Health Psychology Review. The research

was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). Graphic warning labels are a popular tool among policymakers, and the EU encourages the use of texts and images on cigarettes packets. However, there is no clear consensus about this in the scientific community. “Our research supports the theory that graphic warning labels only work if one important condition is met: people have to be convinced that they can decrease the risk,

and smokers are often not convinced that they can quit smoking”, say the researchers. “In that case the graphic warnings have no effect or can even have the undesired effect of making people smoke more.”

Jean Monnet Chair

in European Public Health awarded to Helmut Brand

Helmut Brand

For the first time in its history, the Jean Monnet Programme has awarded a grant in the area of public health. Professor Helmut Brand, head of the Department of International Health at Maastricht University and President of the Association of the Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER)

is now the holder of a prestigious Jean Monnet Chair. The Jean Monnet Programme promotes education, research and reflection on European integration, and supports institutions working in these fields. The grant amounts to € 45,000.

Compulsory education at age four prevents learning disabilities The less time and money that is invested in young children, the more likely they are to develop learning disabilities that are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Early childhood intervention through preschool education and compulsory education at age four is the key to preventing learning disabilities. These were the claims of Bas ter Weel during his

38

inaugural lecture in September, marking his appointment as UM professor of Social the acquisition of other skills later in life. Economics and Labour Market Policy. More importantly, early childhood investments lead to higher productivity of later “Investments are most profitable when investments and are both effective and made during early childhood,” says Ter cost efficient. On the other hand, overWeel. “Skills acquired during early childhood are applied at a later stage. These can coming learning disabilities at a later stage be put to immediate use or can encourage can be expensive or even impossible.”


Content

Further 04 Leading in Learning - Halt! Are you sure you’ve chosen the right study programme? 06 Clinical research - David Bernstein: “Some psychopaths can be treated”

20

Bettina Sorger

Bettina Sorger was flooded with international press after a publication in the leading scientific journal Current Biology Biology. “The topic speaks to the imagination. We’ve developed a method that could allow people with ‘locked-in’ syndrome, who are completely paralysed, to communicate again with the outside world. Our method can also show whether patients who don’t respond are conscious or not.”

08 Welcome interview - Luc Soete: Maastricht Univercity 12 Integration - René de Groot: Sharia Council: same pitch, same rules 14 Research and society - Cathrien Bruggeman: We need women at the top 16 Debate - Jan Nijhuis and Raymond de Vries: Childbirth: Home versus hospital delivery 22 Culture - Wiel Kusters: Poet in academia 24 Professor–Student - Annemarie Nelen and Andries de Grip 26 International - Jamiu Busari: “I let people discover their own talents” 28 Euregion - Carijn Beumer and Pieter Valkering: Social innovation and the vegetable garden.

32 Alum Marcia Luyten

Marcia Luyten, economist and cultural historian, works as a writer, journalist, publicist and discussion leader. Luyten is currently here researching her book The happiness of Limburg. And if that’s not enough, she recently began presenting the influential political interview programme Buitenhof on Dutch national television.

30 Off the job - Mark Vluggen: “I prefer my movies in the morning” 34 Alumni - Solmaz Karami: The rise of an international ‘beta-girl’ 36 University Fund - Introducing the 2012/13 scholarship students - The Maastricht Academic Heritage Fund News 10,11,19 and 38

Profile Education and research at Maastricht University is organised primarily on the basis of faculties, schools and institutes. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences • Politics and Culture in Europe • Science, Technology and Society, incl. Globalisation and Development • Arts, Media and Culture Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences • School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism (NUTRIM) • School for Cardiovascular Diseases (CARIM) • School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI) • School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS) • School for Oncology and Developmental Biology (GROW) • School of Health Professions Education (SHE) Faculty of Humanities and Sciences • Department of Knowledge Engineering • International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS) • Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) • University College Maastricht • Teachers Academy • Maastricht Science College Faculty of Law • Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR) • Institute for Transnational Legal Research (METRO) • Institute for Corporate Law, Govern-

Colophon • Maastricht European Private Law Institute (MEPLI) • The Maastricht Forensic Institute (tMFI)

Publisher: © Maastricht University Editor-in-Chief: Jeanine Gregersen General Editor: Annelotte Huiskes Editorial Board: Luc Soete (President), Marja van

• Maastricht Graduate School of Law

Dieijen-Visser, Arvid Hoffmann, Jos Kievits, Victor

• Montesquieu Institute Maastricht

Mostart, Madelon Peters, Hildegard Schneider,

Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience • Graduate School of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience • Clinical Psychological Science • Cognitive Neuroscience (CN) • Experimental Psychopathology (EPP) • Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology • Work & Social Psychology • Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre (M-BIC)

Annemie Schols, Sophie Vanhoonacker. Texts: Jos Cortenraad, Annelotte Huiskes, Margot Krijnen, Loek Kusiak, Jolien Linssen, Hanna McLean, Graziella Runchina, Livia Smits, Hans van Vinkeveen. Photography: Istock photo (p38), Appie Derks (p15), Harry Heuts (p5), Herman van Ommen (p27), Joey Roberts (p38), Sacha Ruland (cover, p2, 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34), Engelbert Schins (p19), Jonathan Vos (p10) Translations and English editing: Alison Edwards Graphic concept:

School of Business and Economics

Vormgeversassociatie BV, Hoog-Keppel

• Maastricht Research School of

Graphic design:

Economics of Technology and

Grafisch Ontwerpbureau Emilio Perez, Geleen

Organisations (METEOR)

Print:

• Research Centre for Education and the

Pietermans Drukkerij, Lanaken (B)

Labour Market (ROA), Foundation • United Nations University –

Maastricht University magazine is published in

Maastricht Economic Research Insti-

February, June and October. It is sent on demand to

tute on Innovation and Technology

UM alumni and to external relations.

(UNU-MERIT), Foundation • Limburg Institute of Financial Economics (LIFE) • The Maastricht Academic Centre for Research in Services (MAXX) • Accounting, Auditing & Information

Editorial Office: Marketing & Communications Postbus 616, 6200 MD Maastricht T +31 43 388 5238 / +31 43 388 5222 E annelotte.huiskes@maastrichtuniversity.nl webmagazine.maastrichtuniversity.nl

Management Research Centre (MARC) • European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE) • Social Innovation for Competitiveness,

Cover: The poem ‘Wandeling’ by Wiel Kusters chiselled in stone in the Jekerpark, Maastricht. With thanks to Jean-Pierre Pilet.

Organisational Performance and human Excellence (INSCOPE)

ISSN: 2210-5212

ance and Innovation Policies (ICGI) • Maastricht Centre for European Law (MCEL) • Maastricht Centre for Human Rights • Maastricht Centre for Taxation (MCT)

webmagazine.maastrichtuniversity.nl


magazine 03/October 2012

Based in Europe, focused on the world. Maastricht University is a stimulating environment. Where research and teaching are complementary. Where innovation is our focus. Where talent can flourish. A truly student oriented research university.

www.maastrichtuniversity.nl

About education and research at Maastricht University

Poet in Academia Farewell to Wiel Kusters – p 22

“Maastricht Univercity”

Interview with the new Rector Magnificus, Luc Soete – p 8

Psychopaths

can be treated

David Bernstein on his promising ‘schema therapy’ – p 6

Maastricht University Magazine October 2012  

Maastricht University Magazine October 2012

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