Universiteit Leiden

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Jasper's Day

Jasper Knoester is the dean of the Faculty of Science. How is he doing, what exactly does he do and what does his day look like? In each newsletter, Jasper gives an insight into his life.

'Cycling to the Zernike Campus, I regret that my gloves are still at home.'


Friday, 20 January

‘The morning is still dark, and very wet, when I cycle to the railway station. The longer the move to The Hague is behind me, the greater the distance to Groningen feels, proving that I am fast becoming a Randstad resident. At the same time, it is a delight to sit quietly on the train for 3 hours, hardly disturbed by the phone and able to read pieces and even write something. On the way, the rain turns to snow and I pass through a beautifully white polder. North of Zwolle it is dry, green and cold. Cycling to the Zernike Campus, I regret leaving my gloves at home.

In the morning, I meet with three PhD students and my colleague and fellow supervisor Thomas Jansen. It is always a welcome break and inspiration to take some time for research and scientific discussions in addition to board affairs. A paper by PhD student Kai was accepted last week, so the mood is great. After these discussions, Thomas and I discuss new research directions and a PhD track we want to advertise. We are not quite there yet, but there is a nice perspective, partly because one of our experimental partners in Germany is developing a new optical technique, of which the data would be very interesting for us to model.

'Again, the necessary discussion points prior to submission. It will be good when everything will have been submitted soon.'

In the afternoon, I continue board activities online. First, a meeting with our Board Secretary Floris van Kampen to prepare the board agenda for next week, then a discussion on a personnel matter and I end the afternoon working on the Sector Plans. Together with the National Sector Plans Committee, we discuss spending tables, KPIs and some important details. The 1 February deadline is fast approaching and there is still some work to be done, so we do our best to get the final discussion points as clear as possible. Immediately following is a discussion with the national sector plan leaders in the five disciplines: Earth and Environmental Sciences, Astronomy, Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Computer Science. Here, again, the necessary discussion points so soon before submission. It will be good when everything will have been submitted soon.

Around 5.30, I leave for the city, where I catch up with friends at their house and have a delicious dinner. We haven't seen each other for months and are running out of time. By eight o'clock, I am back on the train and spend the travel time to The Hague reading a draft report on Maths and Physics skills among secondary school students, a relevant topic for us.

On the bike ride back to The Hague, I have to go around all kinds of barriers on the Koningskade. There appears to have been a serious accident earlier this evening, two completely destroyed cars are on the road and clean-up services are busy. It looks terrible and I wonder about the occupants. Upon returning home, Jasmijn turns out to have cycled past the accident as well and until bedtime, the conversation is dominated by the event. Headaches about sector plans and other academic matters are once again put into a different perspective.’

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