University of Groningen Rector Elmer Sterken visits Chile from Monday 25 to Friday 29 August. The reason for the visit is the Groningen astronomers’ involvement in the observatory ESO located in the north of Chile. The Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Jasper Knoester, and the Director of the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Reynier Peletier, accompany the Rector.
On Monday, the Groningen delegation also visited its main partners in Santiago: Universidad de Chile (UCH) and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). Additionally, the Dutch embassy in Santiago hosted a luncheon for invited guest at the occasion of our Rector’s visit.
At Universidad de Chile, the Groningen delegation was received by the new Rector Ennio Vivaldi and Dean Patricio Aceituno, as well as other authorities involved in postgraduate studies and internationalisation.
Groningen and UCH have enjoyed excellent academic relations for a number of years already. In addition to a student exchange agreement, there is a double degree MSc in Economics and Economic Analysis, and UCH participates in the Groningen-coordinated Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programme
. Additionally, UCH participates in the Abel Tasman Talent Program of the UMCG and several jointly supervised sandwich doctoral students have already enrolled. This collaboration is now to be extended to include double degree programmes (master and PhD) in astronomy with the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics at UCH. A letter of intent to underline its importance to both institutions was signed by both Rectors and Deans.
With Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Rector Sterken met with his colleague pro-Rector Guillermo Marshall to sign two agreements: one for the exchange of students, the other related to doctoral supervision in biomedical research. The latter is a formalization of already existing research collaborations in different areas of biomedicine. On the side of PUC, prof. Luis Sobrevia has been one of the driving forces behind this cooperation. Now that relations have been formalized, it is possible for doctoral students of the programmes in Medical Sciences and Biology at PUC and those enrolled at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences at RUG to apply for co-supervision of their thesis.
On Thursday 29 August, a visit was paid to the ALMA Observatory at a height of 5000 metres in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Scientists from the University of Groningen were closely involved in the development of this space telescope. Elmer Sterken was very impressed by the location and the telescopes: ‘The view from this unique location is amazing, and it’s also amazing to see these telescopes “in the flesh”. They are an unimaginable combination of science and technology. The Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) made a significant contribution to realizing the ALMA Observatory. I’m very proud of that.’
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