I need not remind you that 2021, like 2020, was a difficult year. Some of us lost loved ones, others took care of seriously ill family members. We worked largely from home, switched from education on campus to online education and back again, lived through lockdowns where we could not meet our family, friends and colleagues, and faced loads of work as a result of all the changes resulting from COVID-19 measures. The Maastricht University Executive Board and our deans and directors have been truly impressed by the resilience and flexibility of all our staff members to continue our core processes to the best possible extent. I am sure that also goes for all other YERUN universities.
It shows the strength of young universities such as ours and is promising for the future. We will come out of this pandemic better equipped than before. We have learned and experienced many things we would not have without the pandemic. This knowledge and expertise will help us further innovate our education systems and will allow us to become even more inclusive thanks to the enhanced virtual tools that we have developed. It remains now more important than ever to share our knowledge and explore joint solutions for complex problems. That remains the firm conviction of Maastricht University: together with our partners, such as you all in YERUN, we stand much stronger.
In 2022, UM will continue to pioneer the national Recognition and Rewards initiative, via which all Dutch universities and research funding institutions have committed to modernise academic assessment. In particular, we strive to better reward the diverse range of tasks performed by researchers (including education, research, impact, leadership and patient care) and look beyond merely quantitative indicators assessing research performance. I am personally co-leading the implementation of this initiative. Some examples of the concrete steps UM has already taken so far can be found here. I very much look forward to continue our discussions on this topic also in the YERUN network.
On behalf of the Maastricht University community, I wish you all a happy holiday season and a healthy, successful and hopefully less challenging 2022!
Prof. Dr. Rianne Letschert, since 1 November 2021 President of Maastricht University
Cover picture by Luc Hommes.