University in the Spotlight: Utrecht University
Quality Has No Borders
Utrecht University is a large and multifaceted knowledge center providing research and education of high international quality. Guided by its vision of ‘quality has no borders’, the university is always looking for talented international staff, students, and new research partners. The university is leading in of honors education and programs in Europe. A growing number of international students are attracted to Utrecht University thanks to the University’s extensive range of degree programs, its outstanding international reputation, and the close link between research and education. For many years Utrecht University has been internationally ranked as the number 1 research intensive university in the Netherlands (and in the 2013 ARWU ranking 13 in Europe and 52 mondial).
Utrecht University continues to build an integrated approach to addressing scientific and societal problems. This is why the university has opted to increase its research focus and to connect scientific excellence and fundamental research with a societal charge. By choosing four strategic research themes the university brings together knowledge from different disciplines. The strategic research themes are Sustainability, Life Sciences, Youth & Identity, and Institutions.
The transfer of scientific knowledge is, in addition to teaching and research, the university’s third core task. To fulfill this task, Utrecht University researchers collaborate closely with businesses, social institutions, and research organizations. These collaborative initiatives contribute to innovation, economic development, and solutions for social issues.
International Successes in Research: Institutions
In 2013 the European Research Council (ERC) awarded 10 researchers at Utrecht University with a prestigious ERC grant. The 10 awardees cover all strategic research themes of Utrecht University. Two of them received an Advanced Researchers Grant for their research in the field of Institutions. The strength of societies is to a large extent determined by the quality of the institutions: the formal and informal rules of human interaction. These institutions – laws, customs, networks, organizations, etc. – enable or constrain an open, democratic, and equitable society. They also determine a society’s ability to absorb shocks, and its sustainability. At Utrecht University, scholars from economics, history, public administration, culture, law, sociology, social psychology, ethics, innovation studies, and geography join forces to find answers to the key questions: Why do societies develop so divergently? How do institutions contribute to the formation of open and sustainable societies?
In this theme researchers from 4 Faculties at Utrecht University collaborate: ‘Humanities’, ‘Social and Behavioural Sciences’, ‘Law, Economics & Governance’ and ‘Geosciences’. This is a good example of the interdisciplinary approach in research at Utrecht University.
National Grants for Pioneering Research: Youth & Identity
In 2012, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science awarded six ‘Gravitation Grants’ to large-scale research projects. Utrecht University is a participant in three of these projects. One of the Gravitation Grants - worth 27.6 million euros - has been awarded to a national research consortium led by Utrecht Professor of Developmental Biological Psychology, Chantal Kemner; the group will be conducting a large-scale cohort study into the development of children aged up to 16 years in the next ten years. Utrecht University is the coordinator of this research group. According to Kemner: “We bring together the best that the Netherlands has to offer in the field of research into the development of children. Collaboration between the various disciplines and institutions allows for a consortium that is unique in this research area.” The research project falls under the umbrella of the strategic research theme of Youth & Identity.
The City of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Utrecht is a bustling student city in the geographical center of the Netherlands. The city boasts a rich history that goes back to Roman times. In the historic center, you will find excellent museums in a setting of picturesque courtyards, restaurants, and delightful shops. Much of the city’s medieval atmosphere can still be felt today in its pattern of streets and alleys. In the summer, you can enjoy a drink or a meal at one of many pavement cafés along the streets and canals.
From an Alum
Patrick Boynton, Pennsylvania State University, University of Geneva
Studying abroad has given me a better idea of the legitimate challenges in living overseas, such as creating a social network and dealing with government red tape. Many of the problems I anticipated before leaving, like procuring food and communicating in French, were actually non-issues. When I next move to a foreign city, I’ll know exactly how to prepare and adjust for the inevitable hurdles.
More immediately, study abroad has helped given me a career-relevant perspective. In fact, the HR Coordinator at my current internship noted, in a professional development class, that she highly values applicants with study abroad experience.
Many, many of my classmates spent semesters in traditional study abroad destinations such as Italy, the United Kingdom, and Australia. My classmates had fun, but my impression is that they weren’t challenged. They stayed in cultures similar to America and socialized in groups of Americans. It’s like the freshman year of college, where new students cluster in packs like antelope on the Serengeti.
By going to non-traditional locations and consciously pushing your comfort level, you’ll challenge yourself and you’ll develop yourself as an individual.
2013 University Rankings
According to the latest information from the Shanghai Ranking /ARWU 2013, the ranking of the European universities participating in the EuroScholars Program are as follows:
|Institution ||Ranking |
|Karolinska Institutet ||44 |
|Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munchen ||61 |
|KU Leuven University ||101 - 150 |
|Leiden University ||74 |
|Utrecht University ||52 |
|Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg ||54 |
|University of Amsterdam ||101 - 150 |
|University of Zurich ||60 |
|University of Helsinki ||76 |
|University of Geneva ||69 |
|Universitá degli Studi di Milano ||151 - 200 |
This Fall, 10 students will be participating at 8 EuroScholars institutions:
|Student ||Home / Host Institution ||Field of Study ||Scholarship |
|Mr. Wesley Hebert ||Norwich University / Karolinska Institutet ||Biochemistry ||EuroScholars Award |
|Ms. Oksana Polhuy ||DePauw University / KU Leuven ||Economics / Econometrics / Geology ||EuroScholars Award |
|Mr. Chris Power ||Rutgers University, New Brunswick / University of Heidelberg ||German Studies ||EuroScholars Award |
|Ms. Christine Wamsley ||Colby College / LMU ||Chemistry ||EuroScholars Award |
|Ms Whitney Yoder ||Baldwin Wallace University / University of Milan ||Psychology ||EuroScholars Award |
|Ms. Marianne Kramer ||SUNY-New Paltz / University of Geneva ||Molecular Biology / Chemistry ||University of Geneva Institutional Award |
|Ms. Melissa Lee ||University of Tennessee-Knoxville / University of Zurich ||Neuroscience ||University of Zurich Institutional Award |
|Ms. Kanika Shirole ||Sarah Lawrence College / University of Geneva ||Neuropsychology ||University of Geneva Institutional Award |
|Mr. Harold Jansen ||Norwich University / University of Heidelberg ||Biology || |
|Ms. Tianqi Li ||DePauw University / University of Helsinki ||Computer science || |