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The University Management Group were inspired by the Utrecht University

Photo of the University Management. Photo: Kennet Ruona.
Photo from the University Management's visit at Utrecht University.

The University Management Group visited Utrecht University at the end of April. After several educational days in Utrecht, they came away inspired and full of new ideas and thoughts about open science, holistic thinking, collaboration and teaching qualifications.

The University Management Group have written about their experiences of their study visit to Utrecht and the lessons and thoughts they brought back with them. Read their observations from the trip. 

ERik Renström. Foto: Kennet Ruona.

Erik Renström, vice-chancellor

"Openness is the word that resonates in my head when I think about Universiteit Utrecht. Open arms to welcome Lund University. Openness in showing us everything we wanted to see, in showing both what worked well and what requires more reflection. Open science to benefit schools, the private sector and all citizens. Everything with the aim of safeguarding a free, democratic and open society."


Photo: Ann-Kristin Wallengren. Photograph: Kennet Ruona.

Ann-Kristin Wallengren,
Pro Vice-Chancellor

"Our visit to Utrecht University generated many ideas in my head about teaching qualifications, open science and coordinating European collaborations.

One organisation that encompasses a number of operational areas, which also overlap and cross-fertilise, is the Centre for Science and Culture. This unit comprises outreach activities aimed at wider society, the Utrecht University Museum, which is a science museum, and finally a cultural centre, which does things like organising courses in art and culture, concerts, and workshops to broaden and deepen the studies and work of all students and staff. Among many other things, the centre thereby unites widening participation, art and culture in teaching and research, and openness towards society, of which Utrecht University is such a strong advocate."

Centre for Science and Culture | Utrecht University (uu.nl)


Photo: Per Mickwitz. Photographer: Kennet Ruona.

Per Mickwitz,
Pro Vice-Chancellor

"Utrecht University works with many of the same issues as we do with regard to research: open science and profiling. On both these issues, they are a little further ahead than Lund University. Utrecht University has defined four horizontal strategic themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability.

With regard to open science, two aspects were particularly interesting: first that external engagement was considered an important part of open science, and second that open science is part of the new system they use for assessment of qualifications."


Photo: Lena Eskilsson. Photographer: Kennet Ruona.

Lena Eskilsson,
Deputy Vice-Chancellor

"It was a very positive visit and for me, too, it is mainly the concept of openness/open that comes to mind when I think of activities at Utrecht University. I was also impressed by the university-wide holistic thinking that characterised much of their work.

One example is how the university works organisationally on issues of teaching and learning in higher education and how the work with their European University Alliance (CHARM-EU) is intertwined in various ways with their other activities. There is a lot to be inspired by here, in terms of Lund University’s future work on our university alliance, EUGLOH."


Viktor Öwall. Photo: Håkan Röjder.

Viktor Öwall,
Pro Vice-Chancellor

"I was very impressed by how Utrecht University has developed its botanical garden as a living research infrastructure. An ongoing project is to build a new section where a large number of different biotopes are showcased.

It was also significantly more obvious in Utrecht that the botanical garden is part of the University and run by it. However, their circumstances are also different to those of our Botanical Garden. In Utrecht, the area is fenced off and they charge the public an entrance fee. This is not something I would suggest. But I do think there are lots of ideas we could use."


Photo: Susanne Kristensson. Photograph: Kennet Ruona.

Susanne Kristensson,
University Director

"We spent interesting days in Utrecht and were very well received and taken care of, with a packed schedule. Above all, what I took away from the experience is how openness permeates all their activities. All areas such as education, research, libraries, museums and the botanical garden are characterised by the requirement to be open within the organisation and for wider society beyond it.

This was apparent in their work on widening participation in recruitment and how they work on reaching out to wider society with their research."


Jimmie Kristensson. Foto: Kennet Ruona.

Jimmie Kristensson, Pro Vice-Chancellor

"It was a really rewarding visit. It is apparent that Utrecht has worked on its communication – they succeeded in showing a cohesive picture of the university and gave clear messages about their current direction. Very inspiring."