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UMCG, Yantai may build hospital

The city of Yantai is considering building a hospital to enable the RUG’s biomedical engineering programme to be taught in China. It is possible that UMCG would be involved in setting up the Chinese hospital.
By Peter Keizer / Translation by Traci White

The Faculty of Medical Sciences shared the information during a meeting with the Education and Research Council (Onderwijs- en Onderzoekraad, O&O), several council members confirm. ‘We are waiting with bated breath’, says council chairperson Marcel Ruiters.

The faculty was meant to export the biomedical engineering programme to the future RUG campus in China, but decided to back out because there is no hospital in Yantai that could accommodate the programme. Now, the city of Yantai has offered to build a hospital in order to make it possible to offer the programme in China.

Whether UMCG will be involved in setting up a hospital is ‘shrouded in secrecy’, according to the O&O council members. A spokesperson from the academic hospital was not available for comment. In April of 2015, a delegation from China Agricultural University – the university with whom the RUG intends to start a sister campus in China – visited UMCG during a trip to Groningen.

‘Unclear’

The possibilities for UMCG were discussed on Thursday during a meeting with the councils of the various faculties connected to the Yantai plans. According to council members, there is much that remains unclear about the future campus. ‘We are still not fully convinced’, say both students and staffers.

In a little over a year, the RUG intends to start teaching six programmes in the Chinese city of Yantai. But during the meeting with members of the University Council, it became clear that the councils of the involved faculties – Economics and Business (FEB), Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMNS), Spatial Sciences (FSS), Medical Sciences (FMS) and the arts faculty – still have many questions.

‘So much has to happen so quickly’, FEB faculty chairperson Kees van Veen said. ‘There are supposed to be 37 programmes offered eventually, but only six have been named thus far.’

Impact

The students and staff members are particularly concerned about the impact that the opening of the campus could have on the programmes in Groningen.

‘If one-third of my department goes to Yantai, then we would have a huge problem. It gives me a headache just thinking about it. And we all know how difficult it can be to attract good staff to take their place’, says Hans Jansen, chairperson of the arts faculty council.

Concerns

The councils also wonder if it will be feasible to launch the programmes in the time provided and are concerned about whether education minister Jet Bussemaker will be able to make the necessary legal changes to enable the plans before the upcoming elections.

Those involved also want confirmation that the internet connection will be fast enough for giving lectures and conducting research, as well as what the consequences would be for the RUG if the campus fails to succeed.

‘These are the same questions that we have posed from the very beginning, and we are continuing to ask them to this day’, says Bart Beijer of the Personnel faction. ‘The fact that that remains necessary indicates that the university board has not yet adequately addressed them. They typically say something along the lines of, ‘have faith, it will all work out.’ I personally find that a flimsy response’, he says.

By the end of next month, the University Council will advise the board on whether or not they should move forward with opening the campus.

Nederlands

14 October 2016 | 25-10-2016, 16:34
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