Monday 25 November is the scheduled date of trip numbers 999 and 1000 for the ‘Your energy of the future’ truck, better known as the RUG Discovery truck. That morning, the truck will make its 999th trip to the Aletta Jacobs College in Hoogezand, and in the afternoon, it will arrive on the Zernike Campus in Groningen for number 1000!
The aims of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science of the University of Groningen in launching the truck were crystal clear: to encourage more students onto scientific/technical degree programmes, to draw attention to technology and science in society and to familiarize schools with the Faculty’s activities. According to ‘science nomad’ Theo Jurriens, these targets have been well and truly met. The truck visits 120 schools and events per year and the Faculty has seen its student intake more than double since 2005.
Sixty percent of the schools visited are in the north of the Netherlands. The truck has received a warm welcome at various technology festivals, including the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers
(VNO-NCW) technology days in Gelderland, which it has visited several years running. Also on the truck’s agenda were science festivals in Grenoble, Gothenburg and Flanders. The truck enjoys good relations with our German neighbours, making ten visits a year to schools in Germany.
Schoolchildren boarding the Discovery truck are treated to a mix of practical and theory lessons designed to help them choose a degree programme. The lessons are given by team from the University of Groningen, headed by Jurriens. Students have a vital role in the team, he says. ‘They make it fun, developing new ideas for lessons and discovering whether they are suited to teaching.’
The Groningen gas company GasTerra has been a partner in this project for the last two years. GasTerra and the University of Groningen want to encourage young people to think about energy consumption and possible energy applications. Both these aspects require good technical and scientific specialists, and so fresh supplies of clever young people will always be needed to help solve the problems facing our planet. The University and GasTerra agree that the truck is a real incentive. Both parties intend to prolong their collaboration and keep the truck on the road at least until 1 September 2015.
More information: Theo Jurriens
As from 6 p.m. on Sunday 24 November, you can download a booklet about the history of the first 1000 trips on
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