Renske de Jonge is the new programme manager of Science LinX, the science centre of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (University of Groningen). From April 2018, she takes over from Bart van de Laar, who founded Science LinX in 2008.
De Jonge, a marine biologist and science communicator, has worked at the Faculty since 2007. She has already been given an appealing assignment for the coming years by the Board of the Faculty of Science and Engineering: to further improve the Science LinX outreach and engagement programme for science and technology. The programme connects science, education, work and society.
De Jonge and Van de Laar have worked together closely since Science LinX’s inception. Van de Laar, who was manager from the start, can see that ‘the group has earned an incredibly valuable position in the University.’ He leaves Science LinX with a heavy heart, but says, ‘it is time for something new.’ He left Science LinX at the end of last year, moving to a role in which he will give shape to the UG’s teaching and research in the Chinese city of Yantai.
De Jonge wants to make good use of the science centre’s position at the heart of the teaching and research. ‘We are going to place an even greater emphasis on intensive collaboration with the Faculty’s research institutes,’ she says. ‘And with the researchers from the ISEC, the Institute for Science Education and Communication, to enhance the societal impact of science. This impact is an important goal for our faculty.’
There are also good prospects for collaboration with regional and international partners. For instance, via citizen science through the Beta Science Shop, part of Science LinX since last year. Here non-scientists contribute to research. Having worked on previous European projects such as PLACES and IRRESISTIBLE, Science LinX is now leading SUSTAIN, an Erasmus+ project on sustainable landscapes that has 12 partners in four countries. The link between citizen science and formal (in school) and informal (outside school) learning is at the forefront of the project.
De Jonge’s appointment coincides with the 10th anniversary of Science LinX. De Jonge: ‘We are therefore showing what we have achieved by presenting our “best of” this year: from our exhibitions and teaching modules to the Your Energy for Tomorrow science truck and our art and science programme: Science LinX has developed so many great things. That is what we will be showcasing this year!’
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