The eight Dutch universities with a broad biology educational programme, among which the University of Groningen, organised themselves into a Dutch Biology Council. The national research institutes that have their core within the domain of biology (NIOZ, Hubrecht Institute, Westerdijk Institute, NIOO, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Naturalis) are also represented in this Council. With this Council, the organisations aim to promote the interests of biology research and education in an organised manner. The Biology Council strives to be the voice for biology towards the government, other scientific disciplines and external parties.
A well-organised biology discipline contributes to a strong research field and sound academic education. In the past, a Task force was set up which in the autumn of 2020 produced a Sector portrait for the Earth and Environmental Sciences, Astronomy, Biology and Pharmacy, entitled ‘Voor een sterker fundament’ (only available in Dutch). The work of this temporary Task force and the results it delivered, prompted consideration of setting up a national, disciplinary council for biology, following the example of the physics, chemistry, mathematics and ICT disciplines. Because the Task force was already functioning well, it was decided, in consultation with the Deans involved, to ask the same group of people to become members of this Dutch Biology Council. The members of the Council were given a management mandate from their home organisations.
Ton Groothuis, Professor in Behavioural Biology at our Faculty and member of the new Council, says “the Council will play an important role in unifying this diverse field and strengthening its impact to the outside world, which was far from optimal so far. However, this is urgently needed in the current national and international context to safe guard the fundaments of its discipline and contribute to the pressing societal challenges that almost all need biological input.”
The Dutch Biology Council has set itself the goal of standing up for the interests of biology in the Netherlands in the areas of scientific research and academic education. The Council wants to be the point of contact for biology towards the government, other scientific disciplines and external parties, so that the entire field can speak with one voice. The Council has an advisory and signalling function and defends the interests of biology in the Netherlands.
Antoine van Oijen, single-molecule biophysicist at the University of Groningen, receives a EUR 2.4 million grant to study the physics of cellular machines.
The Take-off financing instrument is aimed at stimulating and supporting scientific activity and entrepreneurship.
He receives the grant for the project 'Repulsive Casimir forces from topological insulators towards device actuation'.
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