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University of the North presents its knowledge agenda

The knowledge agenda as the basis for broad-based prosperity in the Northern Netherlands
18 November 2021

On Wednesday 17 November, the knowledge institutions that constitute the University of the North presented their knowledge agenda. The knowledge agenda specifies the subjects that the University of Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, the University Medical Center Groningen, and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences intend to work on actively, both with each other and with societal organizations and with the business community. This will be the University of the North’s important contribution to achieving broad-based prosperity in the Northern Netherlands.

The knowledge agenda is based on the transition that the Northern Netherlands intends to make in the forthcoming years in terms of the economy, healthcare, digitization and energy, and the opportunities that this will generate for the region. These are laid down in the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization (RIS3) for the Northern Netherlands.

Jouke de Vries: This knowledge agenda represents the next step in the partnership within the University of the North. We intend to provide a better and more suitable range of educational programmes for the North. Our teaching and research must be more in line with the issues facing society. The connection between academic and practice-oriented research is essential in this respect. We want to make better use of the opportunities in the Northern Netherlands and contribute significantly to achieving broad-based prosperity in the region.

Dick Pouwels, Chair of the Executive Board of Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen: ‘The University of the North will give the region a boost by making the combination of practice-oriented and fundamental research a reality, based on concrete demand from regional companies, institutions and governments, both now and in the future.’

Erica Schaper, Chair of the Board of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences: ‘The UvhN network is pooling top-class knowledge as a means of boosting development in the Northern Netherlands. We are doing this by forging ties between academic and practice-oriented teaching and research in fields such as the circular economy and sustainable energy. By sharing our knowledge and innovating together, we are creating knowledge clusters of new and directly applicable top-class knowledge, which will have an impact on the Northern Netherlands and beyond. These knowledge clusters will also attract talent and ensure that it stays in the region. This way, the UvhN is investing in a dynamic Northern region.’

Jan van Iersel, Chair of the Board of Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences: ‘As a society, we are on the eve of an enormous transition in all sorts of areas to maintain a healthy world. Through its knowledge and research, the Northern Netherlands as a whole has a lot of potential to play a pioneering role in this necessary change. We, as the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, feel very connected to many transition issues and would therefore like to join forces with others in the University of the North to make our contribution to a healthy world as one united front.’

Opportunities for the North

The RIS3 sets out the sectors in which the Northern Netherlands region can take the lead, and the fields in which opportunities for societal organizations, knowledge institutions, and the business community lie for the period from 2021 to 2027. The knowledge institutions of the UvhN are all already making important contributions to RIS3 transitions. A united effort will provide necessary added value. There is only limited attention to the importance of training in the RIS3 transitions, and a lack of focus on the creative sector, tourism, and the vitality of the living environment as separate topics for the development of the Northern Netherlands. The UvhN assumes a broad, multidisciplinary approach in which economic and societal values are of equal importance.

University of the North

Within the UvhN, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, the University of Groningen, and the University Medical Center Groningen have joined forces to work together on an equal footing within the domains of academic and higher professional education. The significance of this close northern partnership is further highlighted in a report issued by the Higher Education for Smart Specialisation, an initiative of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre: The Case of the Northern Netherlands.

More information

More information about University of the North and the the knowledge agenda can be found at:

Last modified:18 November 2021 08.31 a.m.
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