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Public opts for sustainable care

30 September 2013

The public wants the University of Groningen to conduct academic research into sustainable care. This is the result of a round of voting held in September as part of the University’s 400th anniversary celebrations. Almost 50% of the 8,000 votes went to sustainable care rather than the two other research proposals, sustainable energy and sustainable law.

Researcher Ronald Stolk is delighted with the result. ‘Fantastic’, was Stolk’s reaction, ‘this goes to show how useful a network of volunteers can be’. It was also a pleasant surprise to the compilers of the research proposal, Monique van der Linden and Karin van der Schee. Van der Schee lobbied hard in her network of partner organizations, which also stand to benefit from this research project. And Monique van der Linden is thrilled; she sees numerous advantages for the elderly population of the Netherlands.

Active and old will earn you gold

The motto is: Growing old earns you silver, caring for others earns you gold! People who play an active role in society tend to age more healthily. But how do you keep people active into old age? And what determines whether a person is willing to do volunteer work? What’s in it for the volunteer? And what can organizations do to accommodate them? Prof. Ronald Stolk and his research team are going to look for answers to these and other questions.


Karin van der Schee (left) and Monique van der Linden. Photo: Frank van der Veen
Karin van der Schee (left) and Monique van der Linden. Photo: Frank van der Veen

The winning research proposal is based on two questions submitted as part of the ‘400 dagen voor 400 vragen’ (400 days for 400 questions) project. Seeing her mother’s increasing isolation, Monique van der Linden thought: ‘I want to be important to others when I get old! That’s what happens in other cultures.’ Karin van der Schee works for a welfare organization and has noticed more and more tasks being passed to volunteers. She wonders what is in store for professionals and volunteers in the care sector.

Birthday present and public support

The research that was chosen (the Gift for Infinity) will take centre stage during various aspects of the anniversary celebrations, including a large-scale public event of the same name. The aim is to raise money to fund the research project. The public, government and industry will all be asked to pledge support for the research they have chosen, e ither as a gift to the University of Groningen for its 400th anniversary, because they consider the research important or simply to show their appreciation of the University.

400 dagen voor 400 vragen

To mark its 400th anniversary the University of Groningen invited people to direct a question , problem or good idea to an expert at the University. There are no restrictions on the questions or subjects. The ‘ 400 dagen voor 400 vragen’ programme is still running. New questions are welcome and will be dealt with until the month of the anniversary. More information is available on .

Public activities regarding law and energy

Care was the ultimate winner with 3,948 votes (49%), Law came second with 2,469 votes (31%) and Energy third with 1,566 votes (19%). Together, Law and Energy earned half of the total votes cast. The public obviously considers them important topics, so they will also receive the attention they deserve. Both research proposals will be the subject of a lecture, debate, public academy or another activity aimed at the public during the University’s 400th anniversary celebrations.
Last modified:13 March 2020 02.18 a.m.
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