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Report of the day

On June 16 2016, the first Graduate Research Day of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences was held at the Zernike campus, Groningen. It was the day to set our hard-working Master students and their research in the spotlight, to provide representatives from the practice but also the friends and the families an opportunity to learn about the newest ideas in geography and planning.

Under the umbrella slogan of the Faculty ‘Making Places Better Together’ 84 Master students from Environment and Infrastructure Planning, Economic Geography, Socio-Spatial Planning, Real Estate and Cultural Geography introduced their research. The topics presented ranged from explorations into organic area development and active citizenship, to retail accessibility, to serious gaming and simulation for tackling future urban challenges, to flood resilience and opportunities for coastal cities, to ecopreneurship, to flexible contracting, to cultural heritage. The geographical ‘reach’ of our students’ research extended from our own ‘backyard’ in Groningen to all across the globe - Chicago, Nicaragua, Germany, Ghana, Lithuania and Israel. For example two summaries of two thematic parallel session during the first Graduate Research Day:

Session: Economic Outcomes of Globalization
Although technological progress and globalization comes with many perks, it has its downsides as well. Talens showed that particularly the regions in the South of the Netherlands are at substantial risk of losing many job to automatization of the production process. It is likely there will be new jobs as well, but for whom and will they make up for the lost positions? Zegger and Engelbertink show the costs of cross-border transactions. According to Zegger, foreign investors lack the local market knowledge and pay more for investment objects than local investors do. Engelbertink shows that labour market issues in the North of the Netherlands are difficult to alleviate by stimulating cross-border commuting. Do the unemployed here even speak the language? Conclusion: The world is connected, but it is still costly to cross borders.

Session: Learning Cities
Chaired by Jan Willem Wolff (consultant in talent development), this session discussed graduates and entrepreneurship as main drivers of urban growth. Procé argued that the new loan-system for students will inhibit them to realize their residential preferences. And Merx showed that coming from afar does not influence your study-progress. Learning can be done anywhere and staying close to home or fleeing from your parents does not influence this. As it turns out we knew this already for a while: Plato, Pythagoras and Archimedes came to Athens to study with Socrates and each did equally well! Conclusion: Local human capital is increasingly important, but local study success is difficult to grasp.


At the end of the event our dean prof. Oscar Couwenberg presented three students with the ‘Oscars’ for the best poster, presentation and keynote speech. And the Oscars went to:

  • Rosalinde van der Wiel (best keynote speech)
  • Eyal Bigal (best presentation)
  • Maarten van der Leck (best poster)


The organisation team (Esther, Ferry, Sierdjan, Diana, Ward, Elen) is grateful to students for their hard work and active participation throughout the day; for the practitioners and contacts from different organizations for their contributions to the discussions and for acting as track chairs; for the families and friends of the students for their support and involvement; for our volunteers (Tim, Tim, Hermien, Felix) for their help with the organization; and of course for our colleagues for guiding the students and for making it possible to showcase research which also nicely reflects the work done by us and our colleagues at our Faculty!

Graduate Research Day
Graduate Research Day
Graduate Research Day
Graduate Research Day
Graduate Research Day
Graduate Research Day
Last modified:12 March 2020 10.14 p.m.