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The VU University Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) are to discontinue the plans for joint accommodation for the partnering (natural) science faculties in the Computing Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Earth, Ecology and Environment clusters.

The Executive Boards of the VU and the UvA arrived at that conclusion following a consultation of the central and faculty representative advisory councils and Works Council. Both universities will, however, remain committed to collaboration in cutting edge research, a robust education programme, and the arrival of the SRON, the Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

In recent years, the various science divisions of the VU and the UvA had worked hard to facilitate cooperation between the various science clusters. This led to the creation of 6 joint degrees. The computing scientists, physicists and astronomers, in particular, had far-reaching plans already, some of which involving physical relocation between the VU campus and the Science Park. A provisional joint decision was taken in February, which was then put to the representative advisory councils. 

“The proposed investment was not approved by the central representative advisory council. As such, it cannot continue in its current form,” said Geert ten Dam, President of the UvA Executive Board. Both Boards had previously emphasised the need for broad support of the plans, both from a research and education perspective. ‘We worked with the faculties as best we could to alleviate concerns among staff and students. Unfortunately, that did not result in a positive decision on their part. In the interest of inspiring and future-oriented education and research, we will be looking at how else the desired collaboration of the relevant research groups might be given shape,’ said Ten Dam.

Jaap Winter, President of the VU Executive Board, commented on the news, saying: ‘Of course it is very disappointing that there is no way to move forward with the proposed plan. However, this does not mean that any existing cooperation in research and education is to be terminated. The UvA and VU remain committed to cutting-edge research and high-quality education in Amsterdam. After all, only by joining forces and sharing knowledge can both universities keep on strengthening their international position In the past year, we have done our best to explore various possibilities to make this happen. Fortunately, there is broad support for the possible relocation of SRON.’

Both institutions will remain in talks with SRON, the Institute for Space Research, which was also to relocate to the Amsterdam Science Park. The added value of a joint research project together with SRON remains as significant as ever to the VU and the UvA. For that reason, the main goal remains to bring SRON to Amsterdam and to bring the various areas of expertise of the UvA, the VU and SRON together.