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Connecting Brussels (even more) to Groningen

New members join EU team University of Groningen and UMCG
14 September 2017

As of August/September 2017, Ms. Gema Ocana and Mr. Maarten Eisema have joined the Funding Team of the Research & Valorisation department. Gema Ocana is EU advisor and has 10 years of experience working in Brussels as EU policy officer focusing in the fields of health, equality and social affairs. Maarten Eisema is EU/Brussels Liaison Officer for the UG and the UMCG representing the three societal research themes: Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society.

Gema Ocana
Gema Ocana

How can we connect Brussels to Groningen even more?

Gema : ‘ I would like to bring to the UG the experience I gained in Brussels in European Affairs, my knowledge of European policy making, and my network of contacts. Sometimes the European Union seems an abstract idea, but this is not the case! You should not be afraid to approach a policy maker in Brussels: never underestimate the power of a nice cup of coffee!

More specifically I aim to make a contribution supporting our researchers to apply to EU grants for developing top international research projects by informing and providing advice on funding opportunities, especially with regards to the main European program in research and innovation: Horizon 2020. I am not alone in doing this! Together with the members of my team I work closely with the Faculties Funding Officers and the Talent Development Team to boost our participation in European projects.’

Maarten Eisema
Maarten Eisema

Maarten: ‘As EU Liaison Officer for the University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen, I will divide my time between Brussels and Groningen. Being regularly in Brussels on location, at the heart of Brussels’ decision making, I can represent the interests of the university regarding our three societal themes: Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society up-close-and-personal. I will work to influence research policy in order to strengthen our position as a world-class university. In order to achieve just that, my main focus will be on the major research programme Horizon 2020, and on setting up strategic networks to increase our visibility, reputation and efficacy.’

Why are you eager to join the University of Groningen and UMCG community?

Gema : ‘ The University of Groningen follows a policy based on research quality and internationalisation which are, in my opinion, two of the elements that make it a top research institution! I am happy to belong to this vibrant community and willing to learn more about the policies of the UG and the interests of our researchers, to help them to transform their ideas into innovative research projects with a European dimension and social impact.’

Maarten: ‘As an alumnus of the University of Groningen I am excited to play a part in strengthening the UG as one of the world’s top research universities. Being interested in a wide variety of subjects I look forward to learning more about the research being done at UG as well. By having a thorough understanding of what kind of research is being done I will be able to better filter the information coming from Brussels and influence the decision making process.’

What kind of services will you be offering researchers and policy makers of UG/UMCG?

Gema : ‘ Participation in European projects is an amazing opportunity for those researchers aiming at developing their ideas, projects, and research interests at an international level. They have the potential of providing funding for carrying out ambitious research projects that would be otherwise difficult to fund. Moreover, working on a European project offers a unique opportunity for learning from other’s experiences and sharing best practices. I would encourage any researcher willing to develop a research project with a European impact or dimension to contact us. We will provide advice on the available European funding instruments that best adapt to their ideas, and on how to apply for them. In this regard, I would like to remind our researchers that the University holds a Grant Week from 9th to 13th of October. This is a great opportunity to introduce themselves or deepen their knowledge on international funding.

We can also provide assistance to the policy makers of the University by following developments in European policies and programs in the fields of research and education.

Maarten: ‘ A specific (although broad by nature) reason why we would like to hear from you is if you have long term goals and positioning not necessarily linked to a current or upcoming Horizon2020 call. Since these kind of visionary goals are especially interesting for long term planning in the EU.’

Gema and Maarten: ‘We are looking forward to meeting you.’


Meet Maarten Eisema at Grants Week Groningen 2017

Maarten will give a presentation on EU Assisted Living Programme (AAL) and EU Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI). Thursday 13 October, a fternoon session Healthy Ageing, 14.40 p.m.

Last modified:25 February 2019 2.45 p.m.

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