Universiteit Leiden

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Jasper's Day

Jasper Knoester is the dean of the Faculty of Science. How is he doing? What kinds of things is he doing and what does his day look like? In each newsletter Jasper gives a peek into his life as dean.

Thursday, 29 February

'Leap Day, a day that doesn't exist three years out of four. But today it counts well! A glance at the diary shows a string of no less than 10 appointments and consultations. I am used to some, but this is more than usual. I set off early and am at the meeting table well before 9:00 hrs.

I first conduct a telephone consultation. This is followed by three consultations with scientific directors, with very different topics passing by. This variety is one of the aspects that make my job a lot of fun. Then I have the fortnightly consultation with Monique Leemkuil on appointments and promotions of academic staff and applications for promotion rights. We have a large faculty and the number of files that pass through our hands digitally every fortnight is considerable.

Around lunch, we have the monthly meeting of academic directors. The agenda is full, including a focus on a review of the faculty knowledge security policy, as it has been in place for several months now. It is not easy to develop and implement this policy. We are learning as we go, and in doing so, we as faculty have also been able to contribute significantly to the university's knowledge safety policy, which is in the final stage of development. It is expected to come into effect in the autumn. At the end of the meeting, we pay attention to the fact that today was the last consultation attended by Jan Aarts, scientific director of the LION. He receives heartfelt and justified applause from the meeting for all his contributions over the past years. From tomorrow, he will be succeeded by Sense Jan van der Molen. A special moment for me too, as I have known both of them for years.

After this meeting, I have a final one-to-one consultation with Jan Aarts and a consultation with Yun Tian on internationalisation. All this in my room, which is becoming increasingly dishevelled. In preparation for the move to the new building, more and more is being packed and things are looking increasingly bare. Another week and then everything will be brought to the new space! A good prospect, although I will quite miss the view of the horses across the Wassenaarseweg and the periodic fire-fighting exercises in the car park.

This is followed by two more major meetings in the academy building: the University Research Council and the Council of Deans. At 7PM we finish and I rush to the railway station. The journey is to Groningen, where I have a festive occasion tomorrow and otherwise plan to clean up firmly for two days. Coincidentally, the faculty in Groningen is also moving into a new building these weeks, the Feringa Building, named after the 2016 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Ben Feringa. Next week, the group I am still part of will move. Naturally, my space will be considerably reduced; I have resolved to throw away at least ninety per cent of the scientific papers I have collected over almost three decades. I'm curious to see what I'll find, but I don't give myself much time to look at it all. At 20:45 hrs. I arrive in Groningen, where I cycle to my accommodation with friends. We chat pleasantly until well past midnight. This makes the most of an intensive and beautiful leap day.'

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