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Master's insert 'Shaping Responsible Futures' of the University of Twente wins the Dutch Higher Education Award


May 16, 2022

Master's insert 'Shaping Responsible Futures' of the University of Twente wins the Dutch Higher Education Award


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The Master's insert 'Shaping Responsible Futures' of the University of Twente has won the Dutch Higher Education Award. This was announced this afternoon during the Comenius Festival in Nieuwegein. The team received the prestigious award for educational innovation from Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf. The prize is also accompanied by a sum of EUR 1.2 million.

The study programme is an additional programme for students, in which master's students follow an in-depth programme in transdisciplinary working outside their regular study programme. The focus is always on a topical and complex societal relevant issue. The Master's Insert is initiated by the DesignLab and the Faculty of Engineering Technology of the University of Twente.

Students who follow the Master's Insert temporarily interrupt their regular Master's study to increase their knowledge and skills in the field of transdisciplinary work in a diverse group of students from different programmes. In the space of six months, various themes are explored, such as transdisciplinary ways of working, high-level critical & conceptual thinking, participatory & creative problem solving and future scenario building.


The jury found it powerful that students are challenged within the environment of the DesignLab and was impressed by the transdisciplinary aspect of the master's insert. The involvement of students with different backgrounds such as philosophy or technical studies gives the students a completely different view of the assignments given by the stakeholders.

Mascha van der Voort, founder of the Master's Insert and vice-dean of education at the ET faculty: "The Transdisciplinary Master's Insert is an entirely new educational programme, in terms of content, structure and educational approach. The fact that the Master's Insert has won the Dutch Higher Education Award 2022 is an enormous recognition for this educational innovation at the UT. I am extremely proud that we, as a highly committed, transdisciplinary team of students, lecturers and external stakeholders, have achieved this bottom-up and in a relatively short time. The impact of the learning community that has grown up around the Master-Insert will hopefully only increase with this recognition."

Klaasjan Visscher, programme director of the Master's Insert, adds: "The team of the Transdisciplinary Master's Insert 'Shaping Responsible Futures' is enormously proud. This proves that we have established a highly innovative educational concept that leads the way in the Netherlands in the way we manage to combine the personal and professional development of students with social impact. The premium will give a big boost to the 'Shaping Responsible Futures' programme and in a broader sense to transdisciplinary forms of student-driven and challenge-based education at UT."


The Dutch Higher Education Awards recognise educational innovation at universities and colleges of higher education and are also intended as an important token of appreciation for educational teams that deliver top performance. In addition, they are an incentive for lecturers to continue working on educational innovation and knowledge sharing. The Dutch Higher Education Awards were awarded for the first time last year. "I think it's important to highlight the top achievements of lecturers," says Minister Dijkgraaf. "Innovation and collaboration are just as important in education as they are in research. That's what I want to appreciate and stimulate with this award."

The Dutch Higher Education Awards gives a total of five million euros annually, divided between three education teams from universities of applied sciences and three education teams from universities. The six nominated teams receive €1.2 million, €800,000 or €500,000. Teams can use the money they have won to make a special contribution to the renewal and/or improvement of higher education with an exceptional project.

On the website of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science you can find more information about all prize winners and nominees (in Dutch).

Photo credits Melvin Tas - Frisse Focus

University of Twente

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