Piersma’s godwit research saved

Theunis Piersma’s godwits have been saved. The money needed to keep his research in Friesland afloat is coming.

The professor of migratory birds is relieved. Last month he sounded the alarm when it looked like the province of Friesland did not want to continue to fund his long-running research into woodland birds. He confessed to have hooked up his research to the ‘intravenous drip’ of the Spinoza Prize, because ‘you can only pull the plug once’. But the end was in sight.

Word of honour

The province of Friesland has now promised to supplement the deficit of 120,000 euros needed for the research for this year at least. The province also wants to support the research for the next four years. ‘None of that has been put in writing’, says Piersma, ‘but MP Johannes Kramer said he would do anything he could. He gave me his word of honour.’

Of the 5 million euros needed for the research in the next four years, the university will pay 3.6 and the province of Friesland will cough up 1.4 million. Piersma is happy. It is a real boon to his research, he says, but also to the relationship between Friesland and the RUG. ‘And it has strengthened my faith in politics’, he says.