More staff, and fixed contracts for researchers for universities


Education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf has allocated an extra €200 million to increase staff at universities to enable them to ‘maintain their top position’, he said in a briefing to MPs.

Universities are expecting to be able to offer job security to some 1,200 young extra lecturers and researchers, many of whom are now dependent on short contracts.

‘We make sure to hold on to young researchers so universities are able to specialise further,’ the minister said.

The money is not given to individual universities but will be used to boost four fields of expertise: science, technology, the social sciences, and medicine and health sciences. The approach is aimed at stimulating cooperation between scientists in the four fields.

‘Science is getting more expensive. That means not every university can have advanced equipment and that in turn means universities can’t offer the full range of courses and will have to specialise,’ professor of organic chemistry and government adviser Bert Meijer told the AD.  If a small country like the Netherlands still wants to deliver top results, universities will have to specialise and work together, he said.

The education ministry will be monitoring if the jobs will actually materialise over the next six years. If not, the money will be withdrawn, Meijer said.

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