Minister allocates funds to boost university staff numbers

Dutch Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf told MPs he has allocated an extra €200 million (US$219 million) to increase staff at universities in the Netherlands to enable them to ‘maintain their top position’, reports

Universities are expecting to be able to offer job security to some 1,200 young extra lecturers and researchers, many of whom are now dependent on short contracts. “We make sure to hold on to young researchers so universities are able to specialise further,” the minister said. The money is not given to individual universities but will be used to boost four fields of expertise: science, technology, the social sciences, and medicine and health sciences. The approach is aimed at stimulating cooperation between scientists in the four fields.

‘Science is getting more expensive. That means not every university can have advanced equipment and that in turn means universities can’t offer the full range of courses and will have to specialise,’ Bert Meijer, professor of organic chemistry and government adviser, told the Algemeen Dagblad. If a small country like the Netherlands still wants to deliver top results, universities will have to specialise and work together, he said.
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