With this step the three institutions agreed to continue their successful cooperation at the European Medical School Oldenburg-Groningen (EMS). The renewal of the cooperation agreement signed in 2012 was also necessary because as of the next winter semester 80 students will begin their studies of human medicine in Oldenburg instead of the 40 that had previously started the programme each year.
Lower Saxony’s Minister for Science and Culture Björn Thümler commented saying: „The European Medical School Oldenburg-Groningen continues on its successful path. With the cooperation agreement the profitable collaboration on Europe’s first internationally oriented medical programme will be renewed. Next winter semester the EMS will for the first time be able to offer 80 places, representing a major step forward towards the goal of offering up to 200 places and educating the urgently needed general practitioners.“
On the occasion of the signing of the agreement the two university presidents Piper and de Vries underlined their common objective of regional cooperation. They explained that the cooperation is to extend beyond cross-border networks and medical care infrastructures to the areas of medical research, public health and the regional economy. The upcoming INTERREG VI Programme with which the European Union will renew its support for transnational collaborations between regions and cities will be of key importance for this, the presidents affirmed.
With its transnational profile, the German-Dutch cooperation project EMS is unique in Europe: the medical programme at the University of Oldenburg includes a one-year stay in Groningen during which the focus of the students‘ lives is transferred to the Dutch city. In addition, during their first three years of study students absolve their anatomy courses at the UMCG. At a later stage some of the students also have the option of writing their final paper in Groningen, or doing an internship there. In return, students from Groningen complete a twelve-month internship at a university hospital or general practitioners‘ practice in Oldenburg.
The new contract stipulates that in the coming years all medical students from Oldenburg will continue to acquire their knowledge of anatomy in Groningen. In addition, the number of final papers supervised in Groningen will also double and all other exchange options will be maintained. From 2021 the Oldenburg and Groningen partners plan to intensify their teaching cooperation with the introduction of a new programme encompassing joint workshops, summer schools and research projects.
Exchange in research will also intensify, for example through projects such as the Research Training Group „From Pathological Mechanisms to Therapy“, which was launched in 2018. The young researchers in the programme will spend half of their research period in Oldenburg and half in Groningen and will be jointly supervised by academics from Oldenburg and Groningen. Participants will receive a joint doctoral degree from the two universities.
To mark today’s signing of the agreement, a scientific symposium attended by experts from Groningen and Oldenburg took place. The symposium dealt with new developments in medical education and joint cross-border activities in healthcare.
The University of Oldenburg and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen have had a cooperation agreement since 1980 – it was the University of Oldenburg’s first agreement with a university outside Germany. Since then the two universities have realised numerous scientific projects together. Since the establishment of Oldenburg’s medical school in 2012 the universities have also pooled their cross-border research activities in the field of medicine and health sciences.