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The Library may have different opening hours on 18, 19 and 20 May. See uva.nl/studyspaceExternal link for up-to-date information.

Launch new bachelor programme Science, Technology and Innovation

Published on 05-02-2024 14:00
From 1 February, students can register for the new Bachelor Science, Technology & Innovation (ST&I), that will start next academic year (2024-2025). Why has this new programme been developed? What does ST&I offer that is different from current programmes? And what kind of people will we be training? Prospective programme director Chris Slootweg tells more about this new bachelor's programme.
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Why was this new programme developed?

Chris Slootweg

One of the reasons behind this new bachelor’s programme is the high demand for technically trained personnel. There are no technical universities in the Amsterdam region, so this is an opportunity for us to train students in the fundamental natural sciences and provide them with the necessary practical experience. What makes this programme unique compared to other bachelors is the emphasis on both theory and the application of knowledge. Within the programme, students will work on developing knowledge needed for challenges such as the energy transition and materials transition. This makes it an academic programme that directly encourages students to actually implement the knowledge they have gained.

What does ST&I offer that is different from current degree programmes?

Compared to other interdisciplinary programmes, like Bèta-gamma (Natural and Social Sciences), this programme is really focused on the full breadth in the natural sciences. Actually, it's kind of a Bèta-bèta programme. We want to connect all disciplines within the faculty and focus on themes of the Amsterdam Science Park: AI & Digital Innovation, Sustainability, Life sciences & (e) Health, and High-tech systems & materials. Almost all institutes within the Faculty of Science are involved, which is also unique and adds an interesting dynamic to the themes. We have built the educational programme around interdisciplinary themes. This reflects the latest developments in education and research within the faculty.

What kind of people will you train and what can students expect after completing this bachelor?

With this bachelor's degree, students will have a broad foundation in the natural sciences. They will have an open outlook and be able to switch easily between different disciplines. From the first year, they will be trained to assess what knowledge is needed for specific applications, taking into account stakeholder interests and using design thinking as an educational tool. So, besides absorbing and applying knowledge, they will also be able to generate new knowledge, often also in real-life projects with stakeholders from our (Amsterdam) network. With this, we aim to provide students with deeper learning experiences, beyond traditional methods such as lectures and exams.

To support this, we have created a UvA Makerspace specifically designed for this course at the UvA. This technical space provides an environment where students can really work hands-on to create prototypes, among other things. It is designed to challenge and inspire students, and it is great to see that many are enthusiastically engaging in various forms of projects. We see this, for example, in our successful minor, Science, Technology & Innovation: Biomimicry, which is currently running for the second time and focuses specifically on this interdisciplinary theme and provides students with tools to develop prototypes. This is in line with our vision, where we strive for deep learning and the effective application of acquired knowledge.

Opleidingsbeeld ST&I

What problems in society can students go on to solve when they complete this programme?

For example, we are working with the Port of Amsterdam on sustainable energy. Their mission is to be able to transport 1 million tons of hydrogen by 2030. As a programme, we will contribute to facilitating this ambition by challenging students to find answers and contribute to these sustainability ambitions, which are often now only expressed in missions and visions.

The programme thus not only provides a concrete focus from the natural sciences, but also allows students to gain direct experience with various stakeholders from the beginning of their studies. This can be invaluable when making choices for internships and future career paths. We try to involve a partner in each subject from the network of companies and startups, including those working close to us, such as in the Demonstrator Lab. This creates a synergy between education, startups and industry, allowing students not only to learn from an academic perspective, but also to contribute to practical applications and potential startups.

What is your wish for this programme, what it will bring us?

My wish is that Science, Technology & Innovation provides an appropriate education for a new group of students in Amsterdam. I hope that it not only fits well with the social needs of society, but also with the intrinsic motivation of the students. It is important that the programme inspires students to be directly involved as innovators in concrete projects, initiatives and transitions.

In addition, I hope that the interdisciplinary initiatives being developed and explored within the faculty will now be enhanced by an intelligent and coherent curriculum. This programme should encourage students to look beyond the boundaries of disciplines and develop their skills in a wide range of fields. I believe this not only enriches the program but also helps build an engaged and innovative community of students. In short, my desire is that this program not only provides educational value, but also catalyzes interdisciplinary thinking and action within the faculty and beyond.