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Two new members appointed to the Board of the University of Groningen

Spinoza Prize-winner Cisca Wijmenga to be first female Rector Magnificus since 1614
31 May 2019

The Supervisory Board of the University of Groningen (UG) has appointed Professor of Genetics Cisca Wijmenga as Rector Magnificus for a period of four years. She is the first female Rector Magnificus and the second female Board member to be appointed in the 405-year history of the UG. In addition, the head of Corporate Control Hans Biemans has been appointed as a member of the Board of the University for the same period. The University Council has issued positive advice regarding both appointments.

Prof. Cisca Wijmenga will succeed Elmer Sterken, who is stepping down as Rector Magnificus and returning to the Faculty of Economics and Business after a Board term of eight years. Hans Biemans will follow in the footsteps of the current Vice-President of the Board, Jan de Jeu.

Acclaimed and experienced

‘We are incredibly proud to appoint these two top UG staff members to the Board of the University’, said Tjibbe Joustra, Chair of the Supervisory Board (RvT) of the UG. ‘Cisca Wijmenga’s appointment means that an acclaimed academic will be at the helm of our teaching and research. Hans Biemans is a valued and experienced head of Corporate Control; we can rest assured that our finances are in safe hands.’
The Supervisory Board plans for both Board members to start their duties on 1 September 2019. Elmer Sterken and Jan de Jeu will leave their positions as of this date. Joustra: ‘We are extremely grateful to both of them for their work over the past eight years. I want to express my appreciation for Elmer and Jan.’

President of the Board of the University Jouke de Vries is enthusiastic about his two new colleagues: ‘I am delighted with these appointments. They’re an amazing duo: a Spinoza Prize-winner and a financial wizard. I am really looking forward to working with them.’


Approximately 50 internal and external candidates responded to the publication of the vacancies on 2 March 2019. After a careful selection procedure, the selection committee unanimously selected Cisca Wijmenga and Hans Biemans to propose to the Supervisory Board. The Board then asked the Committee of Deans for its opinions on the matter and asked the University Council for formal advice.

The selection committee comprised:

  • Prof. C.J. Albers, representing the staff section of the University Council
  • T. H.J. Joustra, chair of the Supervisory Board (and chair of the selection committee)
  • H. Polinder, representing the student section of the University Council (Lijst Calimero party)
  • T. Reehoorn, member of the Supervisory Board, chair of the Finance Audit Committee
  • A. S. Roeters, member of the Supervisory Board, chair of the Quality Control Audit Committee
  • Prof. J. de Vries, nominated by the Board of the University
  • Prof. J.B. Wezeman, nominated by the Committee of Deans (Dean of the Faculty of Law)
Cisca Wijmenga
Cisca Wijmenga

About Cisca Wijmenga

In the opinion of the Supervisory Board, Cisca Wijmenga (1964), Lodewijk Sandkuijl Professor of Human Genetics at the UG, meets all the requirements of the job profile. Wijmenga is a leading, authoritative academic, who has made an important contribution to insight into the genetics of complex, often chronic, conditions such as gluten intolerance. In 2015, she was awarded the Spinoza Prize: the most prestigious research prize in the Netherlands. She is a member of the board of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), was a Fulbright scholar and was the head of the department of Genetics at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). Wijmenga is not only a leading and well-respected academic, but also an experienced manager who has proven herself both nationally and internationally and who knows how to bring people together. Cisca Wijmenga has developed a soft spot for the academic community in Groningen and is a keen advocate of multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research. She also recognizes the impact of the high work pressure on people working in academia. She knows the managerial networks in The Hague and Brussels like the back of her hand, and her academic background serves to reinforce her managerial insight. Cisca Wijmenga attaches great importance to academic freedom and is a source of inspiration to her students and staff.

Hans Biemans
Hans Biemans

About Hans Biemans

In the opinion of the Supervisory Board, Hans Biemans, head of Corporate Control at the UG, meets all the requirements of the job profile. Biemans is one of the main financial and real estate advisors to the Board of the University. In 2010, Hans Biemans was also interim head of the department of Property and Investment Projects. In addition to his vast experience at the UG, Biemans has also worked outside academia as a consultant to KPMG and as a policy assistant at the Building and Timber branch of the Christian Trade Union for Industry, Food and Transport (CNV) and the Association of Dutch Architects. Biemans has a natural ability to generate support for policy decisions in the faculties and consultative bodies. He is a firm believer in the quality and added value of formal consultation with students and staff. Hans Biemans’ role in helping the University Council to develop quality agreements is a prime example of this attribute.

Last modified:11 May 2020 4.26 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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