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The end of chronic pain?

Unusual Collaborations promotes cooperation between researchers, lecturers, disciplines or institutions who would not normally work together, making their collaborations ‘unusual’. It is an important component of the new strategic alliance between TU/e, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht. The alliance between the four institutions encourages and facilitates these unusual collaborations in order to arrive at innovative solutions to major social challenges.

The alliance focuses on the themes of Preventive Health and Circular Society, jointly developing teaching and research in these areas. One such unusual project is ‘Defeating Chronic Pain’. Within this project, young scientists from the fields of medicine, molecular sciences, psychology, health sciences, veterinary medicine and linguistics work together in an effort to conquer chronic pain.

Click here for more information on the TU/e, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht alliance and its projects. 


Foto van scholierenlab

Tomorrow’s talented scientists

Did you know that secondary school pupils with an aptitude for science can get an early start on their learning at UU? Each year, the U-Talent programme gives talented and motivated pupils from 37 schools a chance to take part in activities on campus and at their own schools. During the programme, pupils are introduced to themes from science subjects and scientific research, with a focus on personal development as well. In this way we can connect the talented scientists of the future and our university at an early stage.

To learn more or find out whether your child’s school is participating, click here

Foto Maartje de Graaf

Robot etiquette

Robot technology is becoming increasingly advanced. Today, for instance, there are robots that can help with education and care. But along with all those technical developments, a number of social issues are emerging as well. Behavioural scientist Maartje de Graaf is conducting research into how our systems of social norms should be applied to robots: ‘We think of robots as social creatures.’ And we expect social creatures to behave in a certain way. ‘The study also deals with how robots should be programmed in order to optimise their interaction with us humans. We’re looking to define a kind of robot etiquette.’

Would you like to know more? Watch the video of Maartje’s lecture for the University of the Netherlands (in Dutch). 

What we need is to have one of those glass fibres running to every house in the Netherlands; then you could [...] deliver hundreds of television programmes at once, and a telephone connection, and video calling, [...] anything you could ever want.

Chriet Titulaer
Chriet Titulaer (1943–2017)
(Mathematics and Physics, 1967) was far ahead of his time when he said this in 1985.

Future Food


Fungi-based meat

Researchers from our university are set to collaborate with Danish researchers to develop a method for ‘upgrading’ vegetable matter into food that is every bit as nutritious and flavourful as meat. They have received a grant of 7.5 million euros to support their efforts. ‘We want to stop feeding vegetable proteins to animals first so that those animals can then produce food for people’, says Prof. Han Wösten. ‘With the help of fungi and bacteria, we can convert vegetable matter directly into nutritious, high-quality proteins. While we tend to associate fungi with decay, they are quite suitable as a substitute for meat’, says Wösten. ‘They are ‘semi-animals’ and can convert nutrients into forms our bodies are able to process. What’s more, the long fibres present in fungi give them a meatlike structure.’ Those eager to sink their teeth into a tasty piece of fungi-based meat will need to be patient, however, as the research project has a term of six years.

Find out more


Foto Glas-in-loodvensters in Academiegebouw

Stained-glass windows were a gift from alumni

That alumni feel a sense of connection with our university, and express that connection in visible ways, has always been the case. In 1936, for example, former students presented UU with seven stained-glass windows for the Auditorium in the University Hall to mark the 300th anniversary of the university. The glazier commissioned to make the windows, Joep Nicolas, divided six of the seven windows into twelve sections. Each section contains a depiction of a virtue and a weakness, such as Wisdom versus Ignorance or Strength opposing Cowardice. At the tops of the windows we see the crests of the Seven United Provinces, the provinces which signed the treaty known as the Union of Utrecht in this room in 1579.

Illuster has explored the history and background of these remarkable windows. The full story (in Dutch) is available online:

Another anniversary

City of Utrecht celebrates 900 years

If you ask alumni of Utrecht University what they feel most strongly connected to since studying here, the vast majority of them will say the city of Utrecht. And ‘our’ city is holding a celebration next year, when Utrecht turns an impressive 900 years old. The emperor Henry V granted city rights to the people of Utrecht on 2 June 1122, making it one of the first cities in the country. A festive programme will be held to mark the anniversary, starting on 2 June and continuing until 11 November (St Martin’s Day), 2022. We are looking forward to it already!

Keep an eye on this website

Feike Sijbesma met koninklijke onderscheiding

Feike Sijbesma receives royal decoration

On 3 September of this year, Prime Minister Rutte presented a rare high royal honour to Feike Sijbesma, former CEO of Royal DSM and UU alumnus. Mr Sijbesma was praised for his role in the transformation of DSM, and for his contributions to sustainability and society in particular. Sijbesma was appointed a Grand Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, one of the highest possible royal decorations. Feike Sijbesma was Alumnus of the Year in 2016.

K.F. Hein Fund

Foto van studenten

Grant for university projects

For twenty-seven years, there has been a warm connection between the Utrecht University Fund and the K.F. Hein Fund, an equity fund in Utrecht that supports Utrecht-based initiatives that benefit the city and region of Utrecht. The fundraisers from the Utrecht University Fund, for instance, submit a joint grant application to the K.F. Hein Fund each year for university projects having to do with public health. Fundraiser Lothar Blom: ‘It’s fantastic that this year’s funding has once again enabled six remarkable university research projects to take place. One of these is a study aimed at the mental health of secondary vocational pupils during the COVID pandemic.’

To learn about the other projects that received funding, click here