The University of Amsterdam (UvA) and VU University Amsterdam (VU) have taken the ‘proposed decision’ to integrate their respective science faculties, thus bringing the goal of creating one of the leading science faculties in Europe one step closer.
The ‘proposed decision’ on the part of the Executive Boards of both institutions marks the beginning of the procedure of formal employee participation in decision-making, whereby employees and students will be asked for their approval.
The integration of the three science faculties will make it possible to continue to offer a broad spectrum of degree programmes, attract national and international talent, invest in state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories, secure a stronger position in the competition for research resources and contribute to a strengthening of Amsterdam’s innovative potential. An example of the latter is the collaboration with ASML, the high-tech company that recently decided to establish an institute for nanolithography at Science Park Amsterdam. Without the intended collaboration, this step would not have been taken.
From an international perspective the individual science faculties of the UvA and VU are relatively small. By integrating the three faculties into the Amsterdam Faculty of Science (AFS) and by collaborating with the relevant NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) institutes, a scale can be created comparable to that of the best science universities in Europe, among which University College London (UK) and the Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris.
The actual structure of the AFS will be developed in conjunction with the students and staff. Decisions will be made regarding the organisational structure, degree programmes, operational management and management systems. It goes without saying that ‘proposed decisions’ at the faculty level will be presented to the faculty bodies for employee and student participation in decision-making.
The ‘proposed decision’ includes a number of pre-conditions with respect to regulations, funding and finance, including approval of the AFS by external bodies such as the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the NVAO (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders, and (efficiency) reductions in the central government grant not being applied. Practical parameters are also included concerning operational management (terms of employment for staff members, enrolment by students, linking of student information systems, shared pass systems and accommodation).
Students who are currently studying will be minimally affected; they will be able to complete their present programme. PhD students will also be able to finish their current doctoral research.
After approval by the participatory bodies and once all the pre-conditions have been met, a definitive decision is expected to be taken in December. The Amsterdam Faculty of Science will be able to welcome its first Master’s students as of September 2014 and its first Bachelor’s students as of September 2015. The entire process of integrating teaching and research, including accommodation, will take between five and ten years. The process will be implemented in phases.
Additional information about the Amsterdam Faculty of Science will first be sent to the relevant participatory bodies, after which it will be made public as soon as possible.
For more information, please refer to the Dutch press release (link below).