Six TU/e researchers appointed fellows of the new Netherlands Academy of Engineering

November 2, 2023

The academy wants to ensure that new technological developments are employed to address critical societal issues such as sustainability, access to healthcare, and energy production.

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In May, the Netherlands Academy of Engineering (NAE) was founded with the mission of ensuring that new technological developments are employed to address critical societal issues such as sustainability, access to healthcare, and energy production. Today, 62 fellows were formally appointed to the NAE, with six high-profile professors from TU/e: Maarten Steinbuch, Jaap den Toonder, Regina Luttge, Willem Mulder, Floor Alkemade and Frank Baaijens. Given their diverse background, the knowledge and expertise of TU/e is broadly represented in the establishment of this new Netherlands Academy of Engineering. 

The Netherlands Academy of Engineering (NAE) brings together top experts active in the fields of engineering sciences, human-centered design, applied research, and development. The experts come from knowledge institutions – such as TU/e, industry, and start-ups.

Rector magnificus Silvia Lenaerts will speak at the inauguration coming Monday and fully supports the mission of NAE. “More than ever, engineers are needed to realize inclusive, responsible, and impactful technology-based innovation. Collaboration with others is necessary to arrive at innovative solutions to major social issues.

I look forward with great interest to the impact that these 62 fellows can make on the Dutch knowledge and innovation system. In particular, I congratulate our own six TU/e fellows on their appointment, who also strongly represent the breadth of our research.”

Representing the Netherlands

A selection of other countries already have their own established national Academy of Engineering, such as the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech).

Along with these organizations, the NAE is a member of European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering and the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences. As a result, NAE represents the Netherlands on the international state, bringing Dutch contexts to key societal issues.

Applying their expertise

Importantly, the experts appointed as NAE fellows share a passion for engineering-based innovation as a way to overcome many of our societal challenges. Their expertise in technological innovations can be applied to ensure that the latest breakthroughs can have the greatest impact on society in relation to the provision of excellent healthcare, food, clean water, housing, and sustainable energy sources. In addition, this expertise can help maintain and enhance our country’s earning capacity within the European and international context.

NAE brings together a group of fellows from diverse backgrounds who have been chosen for their prestigious track records with regards to impactful engineering-based innovation, their motivation and ability to make a difference in societal transitions, and for their objective, cross-sector and integrity. These fellows will share their expertise and skills via the NAE forum, translate insights into practical advice, and work to remove obstacles and stimulate concrete innovation initiatives.

Central topics

The central topics to be addressed by the NAE include systemic improvements to the knowledge and innovation ecosystem such as strengthening and recognizing basic engineering sciences and related human capital, valorization and attracting venture capital for startups and scaleups, effective public-private partnerships and financing.

Read more on the six TU/e NAE fellows for 2023 below.

Maarten Steinbuch

Maarten Steinbuch is a Distinguished University Professor in Systems and Control and Chair of Control Systems Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His research ranges from automotive engineering (with a focus on connected cars and clean vehicles) to mechatronics, motion control, and fusion plasma control.

He is primarily known for his work in the field of advanced motion control, as well as in robotics for high-precision surgery. Steinbuch is a prolific blogger, and a key opinion leader on the influence of new technologies on society, and a well-known advocate of electric vehicles. He has developed new techniques to accommodate reference and disturbance-induced errors, based on repetitive control, iterative learning, and motion feedback control. Steinbuch's research has also resulted in the improvement of robots for precision surgery.

Jaap den Toonder

Jaap den Toonder is full professor and Chair of the Microsystems research Section at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His group focuses its research on the investigation and development of innovative technological concepts, fabrication methods, and interactive polymer materials for microsystems for a wide range of applications. The application focus is on microfluidic chips, biomedical microdevices, and soft microrobotics. The group’s research approaches are often biologically inspired, translating principles from nature into technological innovations.

Den Toonder’s main personal research interests are microfluidics, nature-inspired micro-actuators, smart medical microdevices, and organs-on-chips to understand cancer. Den Toonder teaches courses on microfabrication methods, microfluidics, and heat and flow in microsystems, in which hands-on learning is a key element. He received an ERC Advanced Grant in 2019.

Regina Luttge

Regina Luttge is an Associate Professor in the Microsystems section and Chair of Neuro-Nanoscale Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Her research line investigates and develops microsystems for medicine and biology with integrated bio-inspired functionality mediated by shrinking structural dimensions and controlling material properties at the nanoscale applying emerging and established micro-nanofabrication methods.

The specific goal is to combine microfluidics with tissue engineering to create a realistic in vitro model of the brain, which can provide insights into both normal and disease-state functions. In her previous research (ERC-StG, 2011-2016), she mainly used a soft-lithography approach for the rational design of miniaturized 3D culture experiments and the generation of artificial micro-environments of physiological relevance working with primary neurons. With the results of her ERC research, Luttge and her team aim to forward-engineer a living brain-on-chip from neuronal stem cells.


Willem Mulder is a professor of Precision Medicine at both Radboudumc / Radboud University and the TU/e Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research focuses on precision immunotherapy and innovative molecular imaging approaches.

He develops nanotechnology for immunotherapy against cancer, inflammation, infectious and cardiovascular diseases, as well as to manage organ transplantation. Through the exploration of biological, chemical, and experimental knowledge, Mulder and his teams interconnect nanotechnology, imaging, and immunology with the overarching goal of developing nanomedicine strategies for detrimental immune-mediated diseases.


Floor Alkemade is a Full Professor and Chair of Economics and Governance of Technological Innovation at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Her key areas of expertise include innovation, cleantech, and sustainability. Alkemade’s research goal is to identify the general and location-specific mechanisms that lead to successful innovations for sustainability.

Together with a group of PhD students, Alkemade uses data-driven and simulation approaches to analyze innovation for sustainability at different scales. Examples are the behavior of electric vehicle owners in smart grids and, the eco-innovation capacities of countries.

Frank Baaijens

Frank Baaijens is a full Soft Tissue Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His expertise includes computational (bio)mechanics, rheology, and regenerative medicine.

From April 2015 - May 2023, Baaijens served as Rector Magnificus at TU/e. He focused on strengthening the university’s education and research and working on finding solutions to societal challenges. He fostered cross-disciplinary research and continued innovating the educational methods of the university.

Media contact

Barry Fitzgerald
(Science Information Officer)

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