Comenius Leadership Fellow grant for Gönül Dilaver and Leoniek Wijngaards-de Meij

The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) has awarded Gönül Dilaver en Leoniek Wijngaards a Comenius Leadership Fellow grant of 500,000 euros. They receive the grant for their project Fostering an open mind and open attitude in higher education using games and art-based educational activities.

Leoniek Wijngaards-de Meij (l) and Gönül Dilaver (r) - photo: Dick Boetekees

With this Comenius Leadership grant, Dilaver and Wijngaards aim to encourage open-mindedness and open attitudes in higher education through games and art. Classroom encounters in which different perspectives unproductively clash are increasing, even though higher education should be the very place where diverging perspectives lead to new ideas, insights, and ways of thinking.

However, education aimed at skills, knowledge, and attitudes for students and teachers to engage in open dialogues are limited. This innovation project aims to teach students and teachers how to take different perspectives and engage in open dialogues by using creative educational activities (i.e., games, design process, dialogical art). Furthermore, institutional change for a culture of open dialogue will be stimulated by media and art.

Shared perspectives

Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling reacts to the award of the grant: "I would like to congratulate Gönül and Leoniek with this wonderful grant. Global issues are complex in nature and cannot be resolved based on a single perspective. Shared perspectives are the source of tomorrow’s solutions. The University regards this project as a vital part of its efforts to foster an open mind and open attitude within the institution and to educate students to value open dialogues as crucial instruments to create a better world.”


On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) awards Comenius grants every year to lecturers who can put their vision of education into practice. There are three different grants within the programme: the Teaching Fellow, Senior Fellow and Leadership Fellow grant. These grants for educational innovation are inspired by the well-known VENI, VIDI, VICI grants for research.

In addition to this this Leadership Fellows grant, several Teaching Fellow and Senior Fellow fellowships were also awarded this year. See here for this news item.

Innovating your education?

Are you a teacher at Utrecht University and are you interested in submitting a proposal? This autumn lecturers can apply for a Comenius grant or other educational innovation grants. The call for proposals is expected in early July. The themes have already been announced. For more information please contact the Centre for Academic Teaching and Learning at The Centre has a large network of experts and is happy to help you optimise your project proposal.