New network of #DutchAcademics in the UK launches
Around 100 Dutch academics living and working in the United Kingdom met in London on Friday 22 March. It became apparent that, with Brexit looming, there is a great need for the exchange of knowledge and experiences with fellow Dutch academics. This network meeting was organised by the Dutch Embassy in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).
Career opportunities in the Netherlands
Dutch scientists from more than 50 universities across the UK attended the session at the Royal Geographical Society in London. There was a widely-held view that a platform for Dutch academics based in the UK would be of great value, as it offers the possibility of exchanging information and sharing career opportunities. A number of participants said they also saw the network as an opportunity to stay informed of scientific developments in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, several attendees indicated that they were interested in receiving more information about career opportunities in the Netherlands, as they were considering returning home, in light of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Presentations and discussion
In his opening speech, Ambassador Simon Smits stressed the importance of a strong relationship between "North Sea Neighbours", the Netherlands and the UK. He noted that the UK features in the top 5 of favourite exchange countries for Dutch students and that more than 1,600 Dutch academics are currently employed by British universities. Dutch researchers often also collaborate with British universities and research institutions in Horizon2020 projects.
Marissa Herder (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) briefly presented the priority areas of science policy in the Netherlands. KNAW President Wim van Saarloos then painted a picture of the Dutch science landscape and shared his ideas for a new association of Dutch academics working in the UK.
Subsequently, there was a panel discussion led by Rianne Letschert, Rector Magnificus (Vice-Chancellor) of Maastricht University. The panel consisted of: Wim van Saarloos, Marcelis Boereboom (Director-General for Higher Education, Vocational Education, Science and Emancipation at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science), Willemijn Dicke (Director of International Strategy at the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, VSNU), Machteld Kamminga (Rubicon Laureate working at Oxford University) and Simone Buitendijk (Vice-Provost for Education at Imperial College London).
Central to the discussion was the question of whether there is a need for a new association of Dutch academics in the UK and what the role of such an association could be. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for a network of this kind among both the panel members and the audience.
Are you a Dutch academic living and working in the UK and would you like to stay informed about activities of this new network? Please contact LON-PPC@minbuza.nl.