Student aan het studeren in Huygensgebouw
Student aan het studeren in Huygensgebouw

Pilot 'A smarter academic year'

2024 until 2026
Project type

Radboud University is participating in the national pilot 'A smarter academic year', in which universities and colleges are examining the study load and workload of their academic years. The national pilot is an initiative following a study by The Young Academy. That study showed that an academi year in the Netherlands lasts on average up to 9 weeks longer than in other countries within the European Union. As a result, the work and study load is relatively high and time for educational innovation and research is limited.   

The national pilot is designed to reduce faculty and student workload and increase studyability. The pilots will create space for other activities and provide more rest during the academic year. Teachers can thus focus more on research and innovating teaching, and taking training and courses. Students are given more flexibility regarding the timing and pace of their studies and assessments. Moreover, more time is available for extra curricular activities, internships, exchange programmes and a better balance between study, (secondary) job and private life.  

Between 2023 and 2026, institutions can participate in the pilot with a maximum of three programs and/or organizational units. Each faculty or institution has the freedom to decide for themselves what measures can reduce workload.  

Praatplaat Slimmer collegejaar

Pilot projects at Radboud University   

Radboud University is participating in three pilot projects with different programs. The pilot projects carried out by the university fall within the objective of the national pilot. However, the framework has been given to maintain the current annual cycle, including the number of teaching weeks.  

Pilot Project 1: Reflection and practice with curriculum conversion  

The programs of Linguistics, Business Administration and Economics are starting with the redevelopment of their curricula. During that process they will reflect on what information is available for this purpose and how it can be shared in an insightful way. The goal is to achieve a more aligned curriculum, in which curriculum information is presented in a clear manner.  

Pilot project 3: Programmatic testing and resit weeks  

The Faculty of Social Sciences is initiating a faculty-wide project to reduce the study pressuer of testing through more formative (midterm) testing.  

Pilot project 5: Integrated pilot(s).  

The master's programme of Public Administration will redevelop the curriculum. In this way, the program wants to offer an attractive master's program for groups for whom the program is normally too intensive (e.g., family caregivers, chronically ill, young parents). They also want to offer more opportunities for individually tailored programs.  

 The International Law learning line wants to develop an interactive learning module that helps students keep their legal knowledge up to date. In this way courses can be designed more efficiently across multiple years. This will create a more efficient curriculum with less overlap and more depth.  

Understanding curriculum information  

In addition to participating in the pilots, Radboud University is starting a study on what information is needed for curriculum development and whether this information can be shared and stored more efficiently. This constitutes preparation for a tender for a Curriculum Information System.    


In total, Minister Dijkgraaf is making €10 million available for the national pilots. Of this, the pilots at Radboud University will receive €75,000 per year per pilot. Two years after implementation, the initial results of the pilots will be evaluated and possible scaling up will be considered.  


If you would like to know more about the pilot 'A smarter academic year' please contact project leader Dianne Akkerhuis (dianne.akkerhuis [at]