Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Mark Rutte lauds UASNL during EU launch event

10 Nov 2020 09:35 | Communication

“Universities of Applied Sciences are important players in the region. They connect theory and practice, ideas and implementation, research and applications. This makes them a linking pin spanning research and education, business and society”. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte shared this message during the launch of UASNL, a European network for Dutch universities of applied sciences.

A high-profile launch event on Thursday, 29 October saw UASNL – 14 Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands – introduce itself to key EU decision-makers during a virtual seminar. These institutions are on a mission to boost their research profile among European Union stakeholders. Focusing on the theme of impact-driven research, the afternoon showcased to 170 attendees how research at universities of applied sciences plays a role in tacking societal challenges.

The special guest, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, provided a high-profile stamp of approval, addressing attendees via a video message.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's speech during the UASNL launch event. 

Why UASNL?

The UASNL network is part of the Dutch network for universities of applied sciences, known locally as the 'Vereniging Hogescholen'. UASNL’s EU Representative, Eelko Steenhuis, is tasked with promoting the network’s applied research wins among strategic European networks based in Brussels.

The ultimate goal is for UASNL members, including AUAS, to become more successful in securing highly competitive European research grants. A major new research and innovation investment programme, Horizon Europe (2021-2027), will launch in 2021. This presents a prime opportunity for UASNL to raise its profile.

Impact-driven research

The seminar on applied research and societal challenges showcased the impact-driven nature of research at UASNL partners, including AUAS.

AUAS professor of Urban Economic Innovation, Willem van Winden showcased various urban energy-transition projects underway at our institution, such as ATELIER, HeatNet and RESILIO. He stressed that technical solutions make up for just 20% of the energy challenge, alongside societal and political aspects.

Moderator Mendeltje van Keulen gave an inspirational key note speech on the opportunities and niches for applied research and the challenge of involving regions, research universities and stakeholders. Van Keulen leads the research group Changing Role of Europe at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Healthy ageing expert Wolter Paans from Hanze University of Applied Sciences also shared his work on Nursing Diagnostics in relation to the corona pandemic. The final speaker, Dr. Nina Nesterova, senior researcher of Liveable and Smart Cities at Breda University of Applied Sciences, discussed how universities of applied sciences integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Linking pin

The afternoon wrapped up with a video message from the guest of honour, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Mark Rutte emphasised that UASNL’s goals align with the strategic need to communicate the world-class nature of Dutch education and research beyond our national borders.

“Universities of Applied Sciences are important players in the region. They connect theory and practice, ideas and implementation, research and applications. This makes them a linking pin spanning research and education, business and society. Together with the regional partners, they form the backbone for transitions we need to face. I wholeheartedly welcome this regional engagement and wish the partners every success”, said Rutte.

More information

Each participating university of applied sciences has a contact person within their institution, who liaises with the UASNL coordinator. At the AUAS, this liaison officer is Maren Pannemann (IXA-AUAS).

For further information on the UASNL network please visit uasnl.eu.

The UASNL seminar is available on Vimeo.