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Research Zernike (ZIAM) Education Top Master Program in Nanoscience

Organization and Quality Assurance

Quality assurance

The Top Master Programme in Nanoscience started in 2003.

All government-funded Dutch university programmes have to be assessed every six years, and subsequenlty obtain an accreditation by the government-mandated organization NVAO (the Accrediation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders). The Top Master Programme in Nanoscience was assessed in 2007, 2012 and 2018, resulting in highly positive reports on all occasions with the distinction 'excellent', and continuous accreditation under CROHO label 60618.

On 19 March 2008, the NVAO decided to extend the original accreditation of 2003 of the Top Master Programme in Nanoscience until 31 December 2013. Furthermore, on 5 August 2008, NVAO has decided to award the special label exceptional quality to seven aspects of this Programme: the intake and admission requirements, sufficient capacity of staff, sufficient accommodation and material facilities, adequate student support and guidance, involvement of stakeholders, realization of intended final qualifications, success rates in line with targets. It was the first time ever the NVAO has awarded such a highly positive distinction to a master programme.

On 22 April 2013, the Accrediation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) decided to extend the accreditation of the Top Master Programme in Nanoscience until 31 December 2019. Furthermore, along with this decisions the NVAO has decided to award the special label excellent to all main aspects of this Programme: Intended learning outcomes, Teaching-learning environment, Assessment and achieved learning outcomes, and General conclusion of the assessment.

This was the second time that this Programme got such exceptionally high distinctions. Citing from the reports: "The programme systematically well surpasses the generic quality standards across its entire spectrum and is regarded as an (inter)national example". The QANU committee also wrote: "...the committee wants to exemplify this programme as a 'best practice' for other master's programmes in Nanoscience (national and international)." full NVAO decision 2012 report and press release in december 2012

On 29 January 2019, the Accrediation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) again decided to extend the accreditation of the Top Master Programme in Nanoscience until 30 January 2025. The extension was based on the assessment in June 2018 by an international peer review committee, organized by QANU. On three standards (Intended learning outcomes, Teaching-learning environment and Achieved learning outcomes) of the four standards that have to be assessed, the committee has awarded the Top Master Programme the highest possible distinction of "excellent". The fourth standard Student Assessment was awarded with 'good'. The overall summary assessment is "excellent". The meaning of this epithet is, according to the NVAO rules: "The programme systematically well surpasses the generic quality standards across its entire spectrum and is regarded as an (inter)national example". This is the third time that the Nanoscience programme has received this distinction of "excellent". The committee writes: "The students of the master's programme convincingly show that they systematically far exceed the expected level for graduates of a master's programme." and "Overall, the panel was very impressed by the programme's design and focus, and considers it an internationally unique master's programme."


Programme organization

The Top Master Programme in Nanoscience is carried out by scientific staff of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ZIAM). It is a relatively small, selective master programme with a strong emphasis on research. On all aspects, the programme has very active and close interactions with ZIAM, and this makes that it is a special master program for our university. In addition, it is a hybrid programme in that it unites subjects conventionally taught in either physics or in chemistry. For its organizational structure, and the rules and regulations for its education, Nanoscience is part of the educational programme of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) of the University of Groningen, and it is supported by the Education Support Centre (ESC) of this Faculty.

  • All FSE master's degree programmes fall under the director of the GSSE who delegates the direction of each programme to a deputy director. The deputy director responsible for the TopMaster programme Nanoscience is currently dr. Thomas L. C. Jansen (appointed for the period 1/1/2017 until 1/1/2020), who succeeded prof. dr. ir. Caspar H. van der Wal (1/11/2010 - 31/12/2016).

  • The programme coordinator is drs. Karin de Jonge (contact: escnanoscience rug.nl). She is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Top Master Programme in Nanoscience.

  • For academic advising within the programme, all students frequently interact with the programme director. This includes coaching of the transition to a PhD position at the end of the Programme. In addition, a mentor (a staff member of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials) is assigned to each student for coaching on study performance, and more individual advising on study and career choices. For any other topics, as an external advisor, an academic advisor from the Education Support Centre is associated with the programme.

On a weekly basis, the programme director, programme coordinator (and when useful the academic advisor) meet for the so-called three-way consultations ('triangle'). Frequently student members of the programme committee are present for consultation.

The programme has an External Advisory Panel (January 2018) with the following members:

  • Hagan Bayley (professor University of Oxford, Chair)
  • Wim van der Zande (research director ASML)
  • Jasper Compaijen (NEDAP, alumnus 2009-2011 cohort Master Nanoscience)
  • Antoine van Oijen (professor School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong)

The chair is also the chair of the International Advisory Board of the Zernike Institute.


Last modified:24 December 2019 12.55 p.m.