The University of Groningen has a strong international reputation for its research. This is reflected in our position in international ranking lists. Our Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials is one of the top two research schools in the Netherlands and we participate in the other one, the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy. Our investment in international interdisciplinary research has resulted in highly esteemed research institutes and groups such as the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing, the Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Willem Barentsz Polar Institute. Moreover, the University is home to many ERC laureates. Since 2007, over 25 Starting Grants, nine Advanced Grants and four Proof of Concept grants have been awarded to our academics. This places the University of Groningen at the top of the ERC funding list in the Netherlands and among the top universities in Europe.
Our outstanding research is based on strong core disciplines with a critical mass of researchers. Sufficient critical mass ensures a creative and critical environment in which new ideas can be validated and young talent can flourish. Moreover, strong core disciplines are necessary for cross-disciplinary research. Cross-disciplinary research is crucial not only to fundamental insights but also for finding innovative solutions to today’s societal challenges. As a university, it is our responsibility to contribute solve these challenges. We therefore pay particular attention to the fundamental questions that also relate to the Northern Netherlands, such as how to realize sustainable rural communities when faced with a decreasing and ageing population, which factors and solutions affect healthy ageing, how to address the diverse problems caused by gas extraction, and what are the alternative and preferably sustainable energy sources of the future.
In order to deepen our understanding of the world while addressing these challenges, we will create an environment that stimulates fundamental disciplinary and cross‐disciplinary research and enables researchers to realize their full potential. Three key elements are crucial here. The first is a diverse, international setting. If we are to make optimal use of all available research talent, a diverse composition of our research teams is almost a prerequisite. It helps us to achieve different perspectives and approaches that in turn will help us to generate new knowledge and solve fundamental questions. The second is the optimal use of IT. An up-to-date IT infrastructure is indispensable to support us to deepen our understandig of the world. Modern science cannot do without high-performance computing and the ability to handle big data. These will continue to change scientific approaches to fundamental questions, and allow us to see these questions in a broader and transdisciplinary context. The third element is fostering an entrepreneurial attitude, which means supporting researchers on new high-risk ideas and enabling them to enter into strategic partnerships.
It is our aim to become one of the top 25 European universities in fundamental disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research and to contribute significantly to technological, medical, social and cultural progress. Our research is driven by intrinsic curiosity and innovative interaction with society, and is performed in our state-of-the art facilities. It harnesses the potential of our talented young researchers and is transferred to students in research-driven education.
In order to achieve our aim we will:
- strengthen our ground-breaking fundamental research base
- continue to invest in fundamental research related to our research priorities of healthy ageing, energy and sustainable society
- stimulate emerging areas of research across the boundaries of disciplines
- create a transparent and well-facilitated research environment
We will strengthen our excellent fundamental research base and the fundamental research that relates to our research priorities by raising the profile of the relevant research programmes and expertise. Moreover, we will optimize the critical mass of research staff through aggregation and collaboration in local and international settings such as international branch campuses. Furthermore, we will put extra effort into shaping and securing strategic partnerships with academia, local industry and research funders, and strengthen our engineering research to enable us to realize proof of concepts in industry.
In order to stimulate research across the boundaries of disciplines we will create an infrastructure, in terms of facilities and funding, that enables research staff from different disciplines to meet and initiate this type of research project.
The disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research will be supported by an up-to-date IT infrastructure and an intensified E-science effort. Furthermore, we will actively stimulate and facilitate a transparent environment by implementing and practising the principles of Open Research, Open Data and Open Access in our academic community.
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