Throughout the year, UYA members organise a wide variety of inspiring activities for scholars, students and the public in order to boost the relationship between academia and society. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
Utrecht Young Academy Newsletter: Fall 2022   Read online
Word of Welcome
The past half year was without a doubt characterized by the full lift of covid-restrictions, and even while COVID is far from away yet, everybody enjoyed the reunion of colleagues on campus, in-person teaching and at the same time stocked back up on social lives. 

So far it would sound like things are moving back to normal, yet many people are still recovering from the past years. A good example of this is that with a few colleagues from Utrecht University and UYA, we were planning a meeting to discuss the “ruimte in het academisch jaar” initiative, whereby trials are planned to organise the teaching a bit more smartly, to allow more space in the academic year for research. However, ironically, we were having problems planning it as everybody had too full schedules! 

Luckily there is structural investments coming soon, specifically designed to alleviate work load for permanent staff. UYA has over the past months been busy discussing the implementation and consequences of the starting and incentive grants, for permanent staff. While in principle, extra stimulus through structural funding is great, but the challenge lies in distributing the amount of funding so that everybody feels a reduction of the workload, and have the freedom to spend the extra money in the way that reduces workload for them. This was very nicely put by Hieke Huistra’s column in “Trouw” (in Dutch). We are happy to see that implementation plans seem indeed to be working towards a reduction of the workload of all young UDs.

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the self-nomination deadline below. We at UYA are very much looking forward to meet the 7th generation of UYA members!

Peter Bijl
Chair of the Utrecht Young Academy
Utrecht Young Academy calls for self-nominations by young UU-researchers
The Utrecht Young Academy (UYA) forms an energetic, active, independent, and interdisciplinary academy within Utrecht University, where excellent young Utrecht-based scholars (between 0 and 8 years after receiving their PhD degrees; an extension clause may apply) can openly connect, interact, and exchange critical perspectives on academic policy and society in Utrecht and beyond. The UYA launched with 24 members in November of 2016 and currently has 44 members. Members are appointed for a period of 5 years.

UYA is looking for 8 young UU-scholars (between 0 and 8 years after receiving their PhD degrees) to join the academy. UYA members think ‘outside the box’, have a broad vision on research and education, and are motivated to actively organise and participate in UYA events. In general members should be willing to invest two to four hours per week in UYA activities.

This year, we call for self-nominations. More information on the nomination and selection procedure can be found here. Nominations should be submitted no later than 25th of November 2022 to
Material ColLABoratory Project launched
From Oceanography to Art History and from Nanophotonics to Spatial Planning and Urban Futures, Utrecht University is host to a wide variety of researchers who all have one thing in common: a fundamental interest in materials. Material ColLABoratory Project focuses on materials and making to open up fundamental conversations between humanists, scientists, and artists to facilitate multidisciplinary problem-solving regarding the (un)sustainability of a range of human activities. It does so through the organization of material engagement workshops in which participants make, manipulate, use or design a specific material.

In collaboration with the DURARE project, the Material ColLABoratory Project’s first activity concerns a series of three workshops around the theme of

Making Carbon: A Materials Workshop Series on Durability (2022 - 2023)
This workshop series is organized by Marjolijn Bol, Grace Kim-Butler, and Sanli Faez. With coordination and support from Diede Farhosh-Van Loon and Anne-Floor de Kanter, and the project's student assistants Elise Alkemade and Svetla Panagieva.
Absurdity Museum opens on 12 December
If we are looking back from the future of the university to now, where are the absurd things in our work, in doing our teaching, research, and organising? The Special Interest Group "University of the Future" and the Utrecht Young Academy are curating an absurdity museum in the canteen of the Vening Meinesz building on the Utrecht Science Park on Monday 12 December between 15:00-17:00h to make answers to this question visible.

We live in a time of transformations on many fronts (inclusion, digitalisation, ecology) where universities are often frontrunners in doing research on those transformations. We sometimes forget that, in order to do that well, we need to keep updating our institution.

As a participant in this session, imagine yourself in the role of 'maker'. Bring an object (or a thought or an idea) from everyday life that you find absurd in relation to how we currently organise our work at the university (for inspiration, for example: a gown, an XS pass, thoughts on promotion processes, a study manual). By filling the museum, we get into a conversation about absurdities in the present and how we could/should relate to them in the future.

We hope for a broad and diverse group of makers: student, staff member (both academic and non-scientific) or social partners of the university. We hope that the exhibition we create on site will be allowed to stay for a while, if it can comply with the rules of fire safety .

What: Absurdity museum of the SIG 'University of the Future'
When: Monday, 12 December 2022
Time: 15:00 - 17:00h
Where: Vening Meinesz building, canteen (Grand Café)

You can register here and please do walk in! We would appreciate it if you sign up for messages about our future activities.
True or False - Climate Change
‘If the Earth’s temperatures keep on rising, it will rain more often - True or False?’
‘If I sit on this chair, it is mine - True or False?’

Last spring, almost four hundred students from more than fifteen different primary schools in the Utrecht region tried to answer these questions in the educational programmes ‘True or False - Climate Change’ and ‘True or False - Who’s the Boss?’, made by the University Museum Utrecht (UMU) and UYA members Francien Peterse and Borja Martinovic.

In these programmes, children between the age of 8 and 11 were turned into mini-scientists and got to experience what it feels like to carry out research.

Pupils were able to investigate if climate change will indeed make it rain more often. They got engaged in an experiment with water, dirt, sand and hairdryers (!). In the second programme the pupils got the chance to learn about the way power is divided in our world. They played out situations in a theatrical setting.

The programmes were a great success. In November the Climate change program will return in Utrecht-based primary schools!
Knoop x UYA at Betweter
Knoop x UYA is a collaboration between the UYA 2021 generation and three artists (Just Rijntjes, Hanna Fleer and Meike Jansen). The project was launched at the Betweter festival in Tivoli Vredenburg on September 30th and at the Future Health Expo in the Botanical Garden of the UU on October 6th during the Week van de Wetenschap.

A big red inflatable ball, a large orange pillowed cube and a small purple cuddleble pyramid intent to promote playfulness in academia.  This results in playful conversations between scientists and between scientist and non-scientists.

A beautiful video reportage of the launch was made!
KlimaatHelpdesk at #33 in Trouw Duurzame 100
KlimaatHelpdesk, an initiative by Scientists For Future NL and the Utrecht Young Academy became number 33 in the Duurzame 100 (Sustainable 100) from Dutch newspaper Trouw.
Who asked a climate-related question in Dutch before KlimaatHelpdesk, always ended up on climate denying websites. But the rise of KlimaatHelpdesk now ensures reliable answers on climate questions. This impact has been recognized by this very nice place on the ranking in Trouw. Read more (in Dutch) in the Trouw-article!
A Voice for Young Academics
The Utrecht Young Academy gives a voice to young academics by reaching out to policymakers in order to inuence science and education policy in and outside Utrecht. Within Utrecht University, the chair of UYA is a member of the Advisory Committee Research (Adviescommissie Onderzoek). We are also represented through our members amongst others in the Public Engagement Taskforce, the Open Science Community Utrecht, and in formulating the Strategic Plan 2021-2024.
On Wednesday 21 September 2022, UYA and PROUT (PhD network Utrecht) co-organized an afternoon for PhD students. Over 40 PhD students from various faculties registered, and there were about 10 speakers. Tongue-in-cheek, the event could be summarized as: “How to get an academic career, and do you even want it?”. From UYA, the event was organized by Hieke Huistra and Martijn Huysmans.

Speakers included several UYA members (Valentijn Karemaker, Yvonne Vercoulen, Hieke Huistra and Martijn Huysmans), as well as Young Science in Transition (Annemijn Algra) and the PhD psychologist Paula Meesters. We discussed work-life balance, Recognition & Rewards, international experience and grants, from perspectives such as first generation, early career and academics with children.
Dr. Reine van der Wal discusses Recognition and Rewards
In an interview in ScienceGuide, Utrecht Young Academy member Dr. Reine van der Wal discusses the implementation of the Recognition and Rewards programme within Utrecht University.

"My generation is part of the system; therefore, we can only change it from the inside", Reine argues in the interview. As an early-career academic she discusses the process, bright spots, the dots on the horizon, and the many things needed to achieve a better scientific environment.
Young Academy Meeting
On October 5th, a delegation from all Young Academies from Dutch universities met in Utrecht. We spoke about several relevant themes for young academics, such as the monitoring of covid-related problems. We also talked about the start/stimuleringsbeurzen (rolling grants) that the Minister of Education has promised to the universities. Several YA’s have a strong focus on this topic, and suggested to take the initiative to draft a position paper on behalf of all YA’s for which the UYA position paper can serve as a basis.

Furthermore, the promotion criteria (from UD2 to UD1 to UHD) was an important theme. There are significant differences in how universities deal with this, and to which extent they involve the Young Academy (and other young researchers) in these matters. In the past, these criteria have been questioned by De Jonge Akademie. We are also going to see how we can stimulate the DJA discussion regarding ‘Iedereen professor’. It is a widely shared feeling to get behind that issue as young academies. The YA Twente suggested that we all share our annual reports across YA’s.
UYA visits UU Deans
In the past months we have started our visits to the deans. The visits take place in small groups; at each visit, the UYA members of the specific faculty are present, together with a representative of the UYA board (usually the chair). So far, we have visited the deans of Science, Social Sciences and the UMCU. The visits take about an hour; the agenda is set in advance by the UYA members present, and can consist of any topics, big or small, that the UYA members in the faculty think are urgent. Examples of topics discussed so far include work pressure, IT support, temporary/permanent contracts, interfaculty collaboration, and the starting grants. Several deans have indicated that they would like to brainstorm with UYA more structurally, we are thinking about the best way and format of doing this.
Keep an eye out for...
The Museum of Absurdities will open on the 12th of December from 15.00-17.00 in the Vening Meinesz-building, showcasing absurd elements of university culture and opening a conversation about the future of the university.

UYA is developing the UYA-Awards to recognize underappreciated achievements and experiment with nomination and selection procedures.

In November, the climate change programme of True or False will return in Utrecht-based primary schools!
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