After 25 years at WUR, Noelle Aarts is leaving to become a professor in Nijmegen.
Aarts is currently a professor holding a personal chair at Strategic Communications in Wageningen. As of 1 September she will be a professor of Socio-ecological Interactions at the Science Faculty of Radboud University in Nijmegen. ‘I’ll study the interactions between scientists and social actors in dealing with social problems and developing innovations. I’ve been doing that sort of research for years in Wageningen.’
Aarts will also become the co-director of the Institute for Science, Innovation & Society (ISIS), where her chair has been established. ‘At ISIS philosophers, anthropologists, biologists and communication scientists work together with beta scientists to study and try to resolve social problems in living labs,’ she explained.
The plus point of Nijmegen is that she will be the holder of a personal chair there and will direct the ISIS institute together with her colleague Hub Zwart. 'I’ve been given a very attractive, challenging position.’ There is no equivalent position in Wageningen, Aarts said. ‘My partner is Cees Leeuwis, a professor at Knowledge, Technology and Innovation, a group that is closely related to Strategic Communications. Although I can work as a scientist in Wageningen, I see no managerial positions for me here.’
Aarts is very sad about leaving Wageningen. ‘This feels like a divorce. I’ve worked with passion and pleasure at this university for 25 years. Wageningen is really a great university. In comparison to the University of Amsterdam, where I also work one day a week, I think that the social issues that we study in Wageningen are more exciting and more international. I’ll certain continue to work with my colleagues in Wageningen. I’ve made a positive choice. I’ve been given the opportunity to work for another 10 years in a tremendous institute in Nijmegen.’
In 2015 Aarts was chosen as the Teacher of the Year in Wageningen. Now she’ll be teaching in Nijmegen. ‘Everything is taught in Dutch there. That will take some getting used to.’