I am an associate professor of chemistry, and have been involved in employee participation since 2009. My specializations therein are finance and housing. These dossiers are notoriously complex, but the foundation of the institution.
Utrecht University has a budget of over a billion, more than a medium-sized city!
Funding for education and research
In the last few years, the university has received more money than it has spent. I think the board should do more to ensure that the money intended for education and research is actually used for that purpose.
That is my starting point, whenever we as the University Council have something to say about the financial frameworks, when we are asked to approve the budget, or are allowed to give an opinion about the financial accountability.
And where necessary I agitate against the proposals, and bring in alternatives.
One such alternative is an adjustment of the university budget allocation system. The current allocation key does not guarantee adequate resources for teaching and research for all departments.
We must also keep a sharp eye on the use of additional resources to achieve a clear career perspective for young employees in education and research.
Room for manoeuver for the Executive Board
Within the total budget, the Executive Board has several tens of millions of euros to work out its own policy vision, the ‘policy resources’. This is how, for example, the Strategic Themes were created.
Precisely because it concerns central policy, I believe that we as the University Council should have the right of consent on the distribution of that policy budget.
The university is going to be doing a lot of building and renovating in the coming years. I think those projects should be functional and sustainable.
Employees should have a say in the plans.
We must also make targeted investments in sustainable energy in order to be CO2 neutral by 2030.