If it were up to the Van Rijn Commission, technical degree courses at universities would receive more money. Only the four technical universities are currently benefiting. All other universities are spending money instead. Scientists in technology are happy with the proposed investments. But what if it comes at the cost of other scientific areas?
Jonge Akademie natural scientists, including Anton Akhmerov and Arjen Houtepen of TU Delft started an online petition last week making the case for ‘more gradual growth’ of education and research in their field. ‘We believe that it is detrimental for Dutch science as a whole and for the natural sciences in particular that scientific fields and sciences are played against each other like this,’ they write.
In the meantime, more than 150 natural scientists have signed the call, most of them stating their names and positions. Among them are scientists from the three technical universities.
For astronomer Frans Snik of the University of Leiden, quality is more important than quantity. “There’s great value to some Spinoza Award winners, Carlo Beenakker, Heino Falcke and Mike Jetten, having signed.” He is also happy with the support of Vinod Subramaniam, Rector Magnificus of the Free University.
Snik sees the petition as a declaration of solidarity. “The sciences need each other. The recommendation of the Van Rijn Commission is completely destructive for science.” He thinks that a redistribution of the educational budget is “absurd” and hopes that the Minister of Education Van Engelshoven sees that more funds are needed for science.
HOP, Inge Schouten