Goodbye Frank van der Duijn Schouten, welcome Annelien Bredenoord!

A special day, 30 September 2021, when Prof. Frank van der Duijn Schouten bade farewell and handed over the office of Rector Magnificus to Prof. Annelien Bredenoord. As of 1 October, she is the new Rector Magnificus of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

Annelien Bredenoord's appointment is also the moment to thank Frank van der Duijn Schouten for his efforts over the past period. With his great expertise, experience and commitment, Frank van der Duijn Schouten has played an important role in further strengthening the quality of education and research at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

More prominent role for interdisciplinary research

The future of the scientific environment was the central theme of Frank van der Duijn Schouten's farewell address, in which interdisciplinary research will have to play an increasingly prominent role if it is to provide answers to the complex issues of the future. He made a comparison between the Haringvliet Bridge and the Erasmus Bridge. The Haringvliet Bridge is founded on pillars, as education was originally designed, and the Erasmus Bridge is a bridge without pillars, but suspended on several cables, supported by only one pylon. Frank van der Duijn Schouten: "For the future, I think it's worth considering a redesign in which 25 disciplinary departments are concentrated. And that these, like the Erasmus Bridge, will be supported by a single central supporting pylon of central services and administration.

Frank van der Duijn Schouten also gave a brief reflection on scientific integrity. He indicated that up until the 1980s little attention had been paid to scientific integrity. Integrity was supposed to be ingrained in the scientist: "In the meantime, the safeguarding of scientific integrity has been considerably strengthened within the scientific company. The definition of what is and is not permissible has been clarified and tightened up, and these measures have proved to be necessary".

"I conclude with the well-known wish from the Gaudeamus Igitur: Vivat Academia. Vivant Professores and add a personal Adieu to you all", said Frank van der Duijn Schouten.

"We need new Moonshots"

Academy with impact was an important theme in Annelien Bredenoord's introductory speech. The corona crisis has once again underlined the importance of international thinking, of world citizenship. It has also shown the importance and power of science.

Annelien Bredenoord: "We have shown the important role our academic community can play in urgent social issues such as a pandemic. From virological research to behavioural insights. Fundamental and practice-oriented. This should be an inspiration for the other pressing issues we face." She referred to how Mariana Mazzucato puts it nicely: we need new Moonshots, formulating big, relevant, ambitious goals together. "As far as I am concerned, we as Erasmus University and I as your new rector magnificus and as a member of the Executive Board have the task of formulating and realising those Moonshots now and in the future," said Annelien Bredenoord.

According to Annelien Bredenoord, as an Academy with Impact, we must lead the way: "Erasmus University has everything ready to lead the way in this. The first steps have been taken in the Strategy 2024, and I will stimulate and continue this wherever I can."

Annelien Bredenoord concluded her speech with the following words and then thanked the Supervisory Board, the Executive Board, her predecessor Frank van der Duijn Schouten, the University Council and students and staff of the Erasmus University for their trust in her:

"The university of the future makes an impact with interdisciplinary education and research that contributes to the major issues, has more diverse forms of Recognition & Rewards, and uses digital technology responsibly and appropriately. Making Minds Matter is our mission! I'm really looking forward to getting to work with you.”

More information

About Annelien Bredenoord

Prof. Annelien Bredenoord (1979) has worked in recent years at the interface of healthcare, technology and innovation, ethics and politics. Bredenoord studied theology and political science at Leiden University and obtained her PhD in medical ethics from Maastricht University in 2010. In 2014 Bredenoord was installed as a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2017, she was appointed professor of Ethics of Biomedical Innovation at UMC Utrecht. During her academic career, Bredenoord has held a large number of administrative/advisory positions and has gained extensive social and managerial experience. In addition, she has been a member of the Senate for D66 since 2015 and party chairman since 2019.

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