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Johan van de Gronden new director of BirdEyes

11 September 2023
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MA Johan van de Gronden

From 1 January 2024, Johan van de Gronden will become the new development director at Birdeyes. He is currently Director of KWF (Dutch Cancer Society). BirdEyes is the Centre for Global and Ecological Change initiated by, among other partners, the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen and Campus Fryslân. BirdEyes aims to do ground-breaking research, serve a worldwide community through graduate and postgraduate education, and develop narratives through storytelling.

Big switch

Van de Gronden is leaving his current position as Director of KWF (Dutch Cancer Society), one of the biggest NGOs in the Netherlands, to co-lead BirdEyes in a part-time position. At this stage in his career, he claims to be searching pioneering initiatives in a mix of executive and non-executive roles:

"BirdEyes to me feels like an academic start-up, based on solid research yet with fresh societal ambitions. A much wider audience than a small group of academics or bird lovers is hungry for the new insights the centre produces in an almost constant stream of publications in peer reviewed journals. We need to get the stories across to a much wider audience, with a broader suite of tools and channels, through theatre, literature, film, poetry, and music. And don’t forget the relevance for policy makers.
Our land- and seascapes are undergoing rapid transitions, due do climate change and human interference. We share these often-fragile environments with a host of other organisms. Listening more carefully to what migratory birds have got to tell us is in our direct enlightened interest. The many ways they adapt to ever changing circumstances is baffling. I can’t wait to work with a diverse group of talented young scientists to unravel new insights and help finding solutions for wicked problems."

About BirdEyes

BirdEyes is the new centre for education and research launched by Prof. Theunis Piersma, who serves it as scientific director. Piersma is professor of global flyaway ecology at the UG. Piersma welcomes his new colleague:

"Johan van de Gronden’s arrival to BirdEyes and the UG marks an exciting move to academia by a very versatile thinker and achiever. Building on a rich portfolio of activities and experiences, Johan brings a smorgasbord of organisational and coaching skills, entrepreneurship, scholarship, and a deep sense of care for the planet. Johan will help our university to engage with society in ‘interesting’ times."

BirdEyes, a collaboration between the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Campus Fryslân, is affiliated with the Rudolf Agricola School for Sustainable Development, and also build strong links with  NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research), the University of Amsterdam and the Fryske Akademy.

The Centre's visiting address is Zaailand 110, 8911 BN, in Leeuwarden.

Last modified:12 September 2023 2.08 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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