On Friday 24 June, 13 academic institutions together with the Province of Fryslân and the Municipality of Leeuwarden signed the Hoger-Onderwijsakkoord Fryslân (HOAF), an agreement on higher education in Friesland. This was in the presence of a number of descendants of professors from the former University of Franeker. The agreement confirms the signatories’ plans to realize more Master’s programmes and PhD research projects in Leeuwarden.
Friesland is aiming for a cohesive chain leading from primary to higher education, what is known as a ‘continuous learning pathway’. The HOAF covers the undertaking of the signatories to offer collaborative higher education programmes. The objective is to strengthen the Frisian economy and knowledge infrastructure, and thus generate more knowledge, regional innovation, economic activity and jobs. The HOAF also guarantees the presence of the University of Groningen in Leeuwarden.
The agreement provides a framework for the collaboration, which will be based on each institution’s unique and independent position. It also sets out the ambitions of the signatories regarding placements and continuous learning pathways that lead to associate degrees, pre-Master’s degrees, vocational Master’s degrees, academic Master’s degrees, research projects and PhD research projects that tie in with economic foci. In addition, the signatories want to devote attention to improving the academic image of Leeuwarden.
The HOAF was signed by functionaries from the University of Groningen, the University of Twente, Wageningen University Research Centre, NHL University of Applied Sciences, Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, Minerva Academy for Pop Culture, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Wetsus, the Fryske Akademy, the Wadden Academy, Dairy Campus, Medical Centre Leeuwarden, Tresoar, the Province of Fryslân and the Municipality of Leeuwarden. No fewer than three universities and one university of applied sciences with a main site outside Friesland signed therefore, which is clear proof that the academic infrastructure in Friesland is close to the heart of academic institutions not only in Friesland.
During the ceremony it was announced that Campus Fryslân plans to use the former stock exchange building in Leeuwarden, the Beurs, as the new university building. President of the Board of the University of Groningen Sibrand Poppema signed a provisional agreement on this with Thea Koster, an alderwoman from the Municipality of Leeuwarden (the building’s owner). Of the buildings investigated, the Beurs proved most suitable. The main criterion was that the new University building needs to be in the city centre. It will provide teaching and research space for about 1000 Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students. The Bachelor’s students will spend a large part of their time there, because they will be also live on the campus. The Beurs will be at the heart of the University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân City Campus, and student accommodation will be realized in its immediate vicinity.
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