Seven Comenius grants awarded

Leadership Fellow for Gönül Dilaver and Leoniek Wijngaards-de Meij

The national Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) annually awards the Comenius grants, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. These grants enable teachers to bring their vision on teaching into practice. The grants for educational innovation are inspired by the well-known Veni, Vidi, Vici grants for research.

This year, Utrecht University received a Leadership Fellow scholarship again. In addition, three Utrecht lecturers received a Senior Fellow grant. And another three Utrecht lecturers received a Teaching Fellow grant. A fantastic achievement and an important impulse for the further development of academic teaching.

Leadership fellow grant

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

Senior Fellows grants

Senior Fellows receive €100,000 for each project. This concerns project proposals for the duration of two years, focused on innovation within a faculty, large degree programme or a substantial part of the institution. This year, no less than three project proposals have been honoured:

Annerieke OosterwegelYou are you: A Roadmap into adulthood (UrU)

Reflection and exploration are prerequisites for cognitive and personal development. Current education leaves little room for such activities. Yet, many students find themselves confronted with challenges that are common for early adulthood but difficult to navigate. The resulting mental overload potentially hampers their development and effective study behaviour. This project aims to develop a (digital) network in collaboration with other mental health sites providing information and interactive tools to explore and navigate normal but difficult steps in their personal development, in order to prevent rumination and boost their mental space and effective study behaviour.

Profile page Annerieke Oosterwegel

Brianne Mc Gonigle - UU Open Source Investigations Lab (OSINT Lab)

Globalization and the growth of digital technology have meant that knowledge and information can spread like never before. This also means that misinformation/fake news is on the rise, making it imperative that students develop skills of critical inquiry that cross disciplinary boundaries. This project aims to successfully set up and run an Open Source Investigations Lab. The Lab includes interdisciplinary university-wide BA and MA courses that will (1) equip students with the skills and ethical considerations required to conduct opens source investigations; and (2) bring students, teachers, and societal partners together to work on real-world projects that address global challenges.

Profile page Brianne Mc Gonigle

Christel LutzStudent Partners in Community Engaged Curriculum Innovation (SPiCE-UCU)

Co-creative methodologies enhance the societal relevance of education, and students benefit from partnerships in which they collaborate with their teachers on the design of their education. But co-creation practices come with a new challenge, to make these practices inclusive. By introducing student partners and student-teacher teams, SPiCE-UCU will (1) bring to all our students co-creation practices that currently only our most daring students engage in with our most innovative teachers, (2) develop ways to do this in a manner that suits our specific learning community, and (3) distil encouraging and practical methods which can benefit other institutions.

Profile page Christel Lutz

Teaching Fellow grants

The Comenius programme also has Teaching Fellows who each receive € 50,000 for their project. Three project proposals by Utrecht teachers were honoured:

Mariëlle JambroesMedical student as medical companion

Societal challenges, like lifestyle-related diseases and health inequalities of vulnerable groups, affect the daily work of doctors in various ways. Yet, medical training is mainly focused on how to treat diseases and less on learning about social circumstances that influence health. Workplace learning outside the hospital, community-engaged learning, is a promising concept to learn students about the social determinants of health. Students accompanying a client as a medical companion is an example of community-engaged learning. In this project we will further develop ‘medical students as medical companions’, and explore the learning outcomes and scalability, to implement it in medical training.

Profile page Mariëlle Jambroes

Roos de Jonge - Wicked problems in health care – a trans- and interdisciplinary approach

Important current problems in the world such as climate change, pandemics and increasing healthcare costs affect the future doctor. These complicated problems cannot be solved if you only think and act from the perspective of medicine. It is important for prospective doctors to work together, to look beyond the boundaries of medicine, and to be creative and flexible, keeping patients and society in mind. Therefore, a 10-week course will be developed, aimed at complex problems that cannot be solved from a single discipline. We hope that this will enable the students to see the challenges of the future from different perspectives.

Profile page Roos de Jonge

Rianne van LambalgenFacilitate connective thinking during the interdisciplinary curriculum

In this project, the tool Obsidian will be implemented in an interdisciplinary educational context, with the goal to teach students to make smart notes and to make connections between courses. The project is applied within the Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at Utrecht University, where students design a large part of their own curriculum. To teach students to use Obsidian to make notes, a manual, knowledge clips and learning activities will be developed. In addition, a community will be developed by Obsidian student ambassadors. Through this project, students learn to connect insights and apply these in different contexts.

Profile page Rianne van Lambalgen

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.