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Overview of 'Opinions'. (Ended in 2014.)

Prof. Andrej Zwitter: ‘Big data requires a code of conduct for academics, government and industry’
Published on:17 April 2014

Telephone traffic, GPS data, photos, patient information in the healthcare service: these days, we leave a digital footprint wherever we go. Together, these footprints form what is known as ‘big data’. This huge volume of data is prompting important ethical questions. Questions to which we do not yet have satisfactory answers, says Professor of Ethics and International Politics, Dr Andrej Zwitter. He thinks it is now time for ethicists to start formulating these answers. We have to think about what academics, governments and industry should be allowed to do with this collected data, but also how we can teach our children to live in a world surrounded by data. Zwitter has set up an international think-tank to discuss this matter: the International Network Observatory.

Prof. Machiel Mulder: ‘Subsidies for wind and solar power have no positive effect on the environment, and are bad for the electricity market’
Published on:12 March 2014

Subsidies for sustainable energy like wind and solar power will not reduce CO2 emissions as long as there is an emissions trading system. This is the thrust of the inaugural lecture by economist Machiel Mulder at the University of Groningen on Tuesday 11 March 2014. However, these subsidies do disrupt the European electricity market and endanger supply security. Mulder states that governments would be able to use their resources more effectively by stimulating fundamental research into energy savings and sustainable energy.

Dr Jana Knot-Dickscheit: ‘Planned transition of youth care services has already prompted numerous positive developments’
Published on:21 February 2014

The planned transition of the youth care services is the subject of heated debate, diverging opinions and reproach among the various parties involved (see the recent opinion piece by Laura Batstra in the Dagblad van het Noorden, 14 February). All this commotion is overshadowing discussion of the subject itself, which is what we should really be concentrating on, says Dr Jana Knot-Dickscheit, researcher and lecturer in the Department of Orthopedagogy of the University of Groningen. ‘T he Youth Mental Health Service (Jeugd GGz) is already well on the way to finding constructive solutions.’

Prof. Henk Moll: ‘Halve gas extraction in Groningen and invest revenues in the transition to sustainable energy’
Published on:19 February 2014

After establishing that drilling for gas is causing earthquakes in North Groningen, and subsequently spending a year on investigating the effects and risks of these earthquakes, the powers that be have finally decided to reduce the rate at which gas is being extracted. In fact it has dropped by 80 percent in Loppersum, the heart of the area hit by earthquakes. Meanwhile, debate about the economic effects of these measures still focuses on the direct impact on the government’s coffers.

Dr Laura Batstra: ‘Mental Health Services (GGz) protests against transition in youth care are not constructive’
Published on:10 February 2014

According to Dr Laura Batstra in her blog ‘Wie zijn de helden?’ on, the time and energy that child psychiatrists in particular spend protesting against the transfer of the Youth Mental Health Services (Jeugd GGz) to the municipal authorities is anything but constructive. Batstra is a researcher in the Department of Orthopedagogy at the University of Groningen. Full opinion only available in Dutch.

Dr Christian Zuidema: ‘Paying attention to the local situation is crucial to energy transition’
Published on:22 January 2014

A transition to more sustainable energy will never be achieved if the local situation is not taken into account, says spatial planning specialist Christian Zuidema from the University of Groningen. Although sustainable energy has implications for the landscape and makes demands on citizens, projects can also evolve via local initiatives. According to Zuidema, the government’s reluctance to take this into account is leading to substantial delays in the ongoing process of preserving energy supplies.

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