Netherlands eScience Center director Joris van Eijnatten has been appointed professor for Digital History at Utrecht University. The chair has been established in the Faculty of Humanities on behalf of the eScience Center and is the first in the Netherlands. Van Eijnatten will be showcasing digital-historical research as an indispensable aspect of the historical discipline.

The appointment is especially relevant for the Humanities, where the use of computers in research is still relatively limited. The special chair in Digital History reflects the urgent need for Humanities disciplines to embed computer-assisted methods in both research and teaching. The promise of the new digital approaches is huge, and Van Eijnatten plans to demonstrate their relevance by integrating computational techniques with more traditional research methods.

After a career as full professor of Cultural History at respectively VU Amsterdam and Utrecht University, Van Eijnatten left academia in January 2020 to become general director of the Netherlands eScience Center. His current position is geared towards stimulating computational (‘eScience’) research across all disciplines. Van Eijnatten’s part-time appointment at Utrecht University reflects the importance attached by universities to keeping in touch with society’s rapid digitalization.

“To preserve the relevance of the Humanities, universities need to invest heavily in computational capabilities and data science,” says Van Eijnatten. “At the very least they have the responsibility to train new generations of students as the digitally competent citizens of tomorrow. In my work at Utrecht University I hope to raise that awareness.”

About Joris van Eijnatten: https://www.uu.nl/staff/jvaneijnatten

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