Academic education after the pandemic


At long last, the debate about the kind of education we want to be providing is emerging. The Data Research Centre (DRC) has an opinion piece on Science Guide and we have produced a discussion guidefor the academic community  on distance learning. A webinar hosted by ArtEZ University of the Arts addressed Crisis Education//Critical Education. I couldn’t join the live event, but the background videos were great!

The triathlon toolbox


Sometimes we realise that areas of life inform each other in unexpected ways. How does my passion for triathlon matter for my professional development? This is the topic of reflections I shared with the Campus Fryslan community. Curious about how endurance sports translates to academic life in the time of corona? The answer can be found on the CF blog.

New edition of course on Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Starting this week, Campus Fryslan will host a second a edition (2020) of the lecture series ‘Succesvol duurzaam ondernemen in een circulaire economie’. I will contribute a session on Technology and Sustainability  and engage with this group of professionals who are committed to the transition to a circular economy in the Northern Netherlands.


Two positions at Campus Fryslân

Apply to become my new colleaguesCF!

Two positions (assistant professor) are currently open at the University of Groningen. A background in STS is relevant for both positions, and both are located in the new faculty Campus Fryslan, an interdisciplinary and innovative setting.

Assistant Professor Data Science (0.8 fte)

Assistant Professor Earth & Energy (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Please note that the deadline for applications is 23 February 2020.

PhD opportunity: Knowledge Infrastructures for Climate Adaptation

We have a PhD position on the topic of Knowledge Infrastructures for Climate Adaptation. In the framework of unprecedented global environmental change, it is crucial to map and increase environmental resilience. In this project, we aim to acquire insights into ongoing environmental changes in delta areas and build sustainable knowledge infrastructures that can elucidate ongoing changes.

The candidate will be supervised by Tessa van der Voort and myself. More details on the project and how to apply on the jobs website of the University of Groningen.

Launching of WTMC series

Screenshot 2019-12-30 at 10.12.20Looking back on 2019, I’m especially proud of having led the launch of the WTMC series on teaching and learning STS. This series is based on the collective wisdom of the WTMC network that gets channelled into training events for PhDs. Each issue of the series is based on a workshop or summer school organised by WTMC. Bernike Pasveer and I, as coordinators, shape the events– drawing on STS experts and organising interaction with participants.

Now, thanks to the series and its many contributors, the insights on important STS topics and approaches can be share much more widely. At the WTMC annual meeting on 13 December 2019, the first 5 issues of the WTMC Series on Teaching and Learning STS were launched. They are available on the WTMC website (

New issues will appear regularly, following the workshops and summer schools. Your comments and feedback on this new initiative are very welcome!



Why are there different forms of digital identity?


The conference Figurations (part of the wonderful People like You project) was the opportunity to start a writing project with Oskar Gstrein, a colleague at Campus Fryslan and member of the Data Research Centre, where digital identity is one of our main themes. Oskar presented our paper this week at Goldsmith, London.

In this project, we take a look at several existing concepts that address the division of private and public space, and discuss how these definitions affect the figuration of person(s) in and out of data.[1] We contrast the concept of data subject whose data is being “protected” (the basis of the GDPR) with other approaches, including the German concept of informational self-determination, or the South American “habeas data” doctrine. We explore the tensions between considering the different societal and cultural traditions from which these concepts arise, the conceptualization of privacy as a universal right, the (seemingly?) global nature of digital platforms,[2] and the perennial vision of the digital as a universal space of data.

These considerations lead us to reflect on the mutual adjustments that are ongoing: as we move in/out of data and as the digital becomes an inherent part of our identity, we both change our understanding of person to be able to effectively address privacy, and adjust our concept of privacy to address the concept of personhood.

To begin to map out these relations, we connect our analysis of forms of privacy to specific instances of datafication, so that particular instances ‘stand in’ as exemplars of different approaches and of how legal frameworks and personhood intersect.

[1] Hildebrandt, Privacy as Protection of the Incomputable Self: From Agnostic to Agonistic Machine Learning, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 83–121, doi: 10.1515/til-2019-0004.

[2] Martel, Smart – Enquête sur les Internets, Stock 2014.

PhD position Knowledge Infrastructures for Climate Adaptation

In the framework of unprecedented global environmental change, it is key to map and increase environmental resilience. In this project, we aim to acquire insights into ongoing environmental changes in delta areas and build sustainable knowledge infrastructures that can elucidate ongoing changes.

Campus Fryslân offers a four-year PhD position to complete a PhD in Knowledge Infrastructures for Climate Adaptation aimed at Climate Resilience in Delta Areas Supported by Responsible Data Infrastructures. The PhD candidate will be connected to the Data Research Centre of Campus Fryslân and supervised by Dr Tessa van der Voort and Dr Anne Beaulieu. The PhD candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Campus Fryslân (GSCF) and depending on profile, in the graduate school WTMC. PhD candidates can benefit from affiliations at research institutes of the University of Groningen, such as the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence or ESRIG – Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen, among others, as appropriate to the PhD Project.

Please see the website of the University of Groningen for more details and for information on how to apply.

New forms of recognition and reward

Today marks the first day of the WTMC workshop Open. It follows on the heels of one of the biggest academic policy announcement of the last decade. The VSNU, NFU, KNAW, NWO and ZonMW jointly published a statement on recognition and rewards. It is a call to move away from indicator-based, quantiative focus on research performance, to create new career paths, and to find a balanced way to recognize and rewards academics across

  • Education
  • Research
  • Impact
  • Leadership
  • Patient care (for university medical centres).

This means that aspects of academic work such as team work, leadership, and open science must also be reflected in evaluations. The vision of open science contained in this report will surely be the focus of very interesting discussions in the coming days, beginning with the opening lecture this morning by Frank Miedema, one of the leaders of the Science in Transition movement.

In addition, one of the concrete recommendations of this report addresses the need to redesign career paths, including the requirements for PhDs:

Universities and university medical centres will ensure that the criteria that (within disciplines or universities) apply to doctoral  programmes fit the assessment of research quality, thus meeting  the DORA principles. Conditions for being allowed to defend one’s thesis must not just consist of purely quantitative indicators, such as number of publications or the journal impact factor of the journal in which one has published (RFET, p.6)

Given that the workshop is attended by PhDs, it will be very interesting to hear what changes they expect on the ground.

Furthermore, the Graduate School at Campus Fryslan has been considering how to reformulate exactly the part of its “Training and Supervision Plan” that describes the desired output for PhDs. And happy to say that at all levels of recognition and reward, Campus Fryslan has been moving in the direction of this report, and working on a ‘mission-based’ evaluation scheme to be elaborated by each academic, in consultation with a peer-review group. Exciting times in academia!

Seeking new colleague!

Employment Opportunity: Assistant Professor Sustainability & Environmental Sciences (0.8 FTE)

University Campus Fryslan (UCF) invites applications for a motivated colleague at the level of Assistant Professor Sustainability & Environmental Sciences. You are expected to contribute to the development of the educational and research domain of earth system sciences, environmental studies and science and technology studies, specifically with regard to interdisciplinary research integrating methods of the natural and social sciences to assess the connections between the global environment and human activities. Furthermore, you will teach and develop courses in the major Responsible Planet within the BSc Global Responsibility & Leadership. You will have the unique opportunity to combine education with research and shape the emerging research programme. Finally, we are highly committed to building a diverse and dynamic academic community in Leeuwarden, and we expect a similar commitment from all our academic staff.


We are looking for an enthusiastic colleague with demonstrated research and teaching potential and a strong research background, with proven affinity for interdisciplinary approaches. Research expertise that involves data, modelling or digital infrastructures is especially suited to the working environment, facilities and research lines of Campus Fryslan.

The ideal candidate has a PhD in Earth Sciences, Environmental Studies, Sustainability Studies, Science and Technology Studies or a comparable domain.

Further information

See the full call for applicants on the website of the University of Groningen