We're celebrating science on the first TU/e Research Day

April 8, 2022

Put it in your calendar: the first TU/e Research Day will take place on May 12. During this festive event, we will celebrate science with a focus on meeting scientists and talking about science.

On the TU/e Research Day we will honor our honorary doctorates Klavs Jensen, Margot Gerritsen and David Mooney.

During the first TU/e Research Day on May 12, we will celebrate science together with the three honorary doctorates who were announced in our lustrum year. They will be center stage during a ‘college tour’ alongside Rector Frank Baaijens. TU/e researchers will also be in the spotlight on May 12, when the first TU/e Science Awards will be presented. There are three categories: the Young Researcher Award, the Groundbreaking Researcher Award and the Leadership in Excellence Award.

Honorary doctorates in the spotlight

In our lustrum year of 2021, three professors from prestigious American universities received honorary doctorates from TU/e: numerical mathematician Margot Gerritsen (Stanford University), chemical technologist Klavs Jensen (MIT) and biomedical engineer David Mooney (Harvard University). Due to the corona measures, we were unable to celebrate our honorary doctorates during the academic celebration of MomenTUm 2021. This was one of the motivations behind the creation of the TU/e Research Day.

A day for science

“The TU/e Research Day aims to put the university’s research and researchers in the spotlight. As a result, we will also award honorary doctorates on this day from now on. These scientists and academics have made a special contribution to science. In addition, we would like to use the three awards in different age categories to appreciate our own researchers who have made a special scientific contribution,” says Rector Frank Baaijens. “We aim to make the TU/e Research Day an annual event as well.”

Margot Gerritsen is a versatile mathematician with a fine nose for appealing topics, says her honorary supervisor Barry Koren, Professor of Scientific Computing in the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science. According to Koren, her academic work focusses on energy and earth sciences. “She calculates ocean currents and forest fires, as well as combustion processes in industry. In addition, she specializes in calculating fluid flows in porous media – important for the extraction of petroleum and drinking water,” says Koren. “Margot is very good at public outreach and teaching, and she’s also strong organizationally. You don’t often see mathematicians pulling in big projects, but Margot is an exception to that.”

In the field of porous media, TU/e also has a good reputation thanks to the Darcy Lab and – especially in the past – specialized mathematicians such as former Rector Hans van Duijn, with whom Gerritsen is still on the national STEM Sector Plan Committee. “This marks her out, because Margot is anything but a backroom scholar and is very involved in the Netherlands,” Koren says. As an honorary doctorate, he hopes that Gerritsen can play an ambassadorial role between TU/e and Stanford. “I think it would be great if we could exchange students with Stanford University, for example.”

Born in Zeeland, Margot Gerritsen graduated from Delft University of Technology under Professor Henk van der Vorst. She then moved out into the wider world and, following a PhD at Stanford University, worked in New Zealand for several years before returning to Stanford. She is now a Professor of Energy Resources Engineering there.

TU/e Science Awards 2022

This year, we are also presenting the TU/e Science Awards for the first time. With these awards, we want to recognize and appreciate our researchers at different stages of their careers. Three different awards have been created - each rewarded with 15,000 euros, to be spent on activities to develop the scientists' career:

  • Young Researcher Award - a promising young scientist with groundbreaking research ideas
  • Groundbreaking Researcher Award - a scientist with pioneering research results
  • Leadership in Excellence Award - a nationally or internationally prominent scientist

Each year, the different awards will be open to different research domains and departments. This year, the Young Researcher Award can be won by scientists in the engineering domain (the departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and the Built Environment). The Groundbreaking Researcher Award will be awarded in the science domain (Applied Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science, Chemical Engineering & Chemistry). Finally, this year’s Leadership in Excellence Award is for the design & management domain (Industrial Design, Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences). Built Environment will alternate between the engineering and design & management domains every three years.

The jury for each award consists of the rector magnificus and the deans of the departments not competing for the award.

The nomination of Klavs Jensen for an honorary doctorate is a collective decision by the scientific committee of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry (CE&C), says Fausto Gallucci, dean of the department. Together with his predecessor Emiel Hensen, he’s acting as an honorary supervisor of the Danish-born American.

Gallucci: “Jensen has an impressive resume with many publications, citations and patents across research areas in which we are also active. This includes microreactors for new reactions in the field of energy supply but also flow chemistry for drug production, for example.”

The dean also sees connections to Jensen’s work outside of his department. “He’s doing work on quantum dots, which is also happening here at Applied Physics, and he’s using machine learning. Collaboration with Jensen’s group could also be interesting for our EAISI and ICMS institutes.”

After his studies in his native country, Jensen left for the United States, where he received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1980. Since 1989, he has been a professor at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Don’t miss out

This year’s TU/e Research Day will be held on May 12. All students and staff are cordially invited to join in the celebration of science on this day. “We are finally able to meet each other again and talk about science. So, I say: grab this opportunity!” says Baaijens. You can find the program and register for the event here.


“A wonderful, inspiring researcher,” says Patricia Dankers, Professor of Biomedical Materials & Chemistry, of David Mooney. “And an amiable and pleasant colleague,” emphasizes Carlijn Bouten, Professor of Cell-Matrix Interactions in Cardiovascular Regeneration. “David is a leading scientist and, at the same time, very down to earth; truly, a role model for our field.” Dankers and Bouten are both acting as honorary supervisors for the American Mooney.

Mooney’s highly multidisciplinary work fits in well with the research of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS), says Bouten. She and Dankers know the American in part from his position as a member of the advisory board of the gravitation program Materials-Driven Regeneration, of which Bouten is the coordinator. “David knows our university well and has visited Eindhoven on several occasions, including in the form of a two-week mini-sabbatical. In guiding TU/e students who are doing external internships in his group, he has shown himself to be a highly dedicated educator and mentor. And we too are learning from him.”

Mooney is also special in that he connects fundamental research with clinical applications, Dankers highlights. “Among other things, he’s looking for materials for regenerative medicine, a field in which he has introduced immuno-engineering. David is very modest about this,” adds Bouten, “but he was the first to start making materials for this purpose.”

Both honorary supervisors hope that the honorary doctorate will contribute to more intensive collaboration between TU/e and Harvard University. “But the most important thing is that he really deserves this distinction,” says Bouten. “And by lauding him, we also want to show David as an academic exemplar to our students and PhDs.”

David Mooney studied chemical engineering in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, before earning his PhD from MIT. Since 2004, he has worked as a professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is also a co-founder of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at the same university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From our strategy: Talent

Excellence underpins all we do and what we stand for. It is what we strive for in our education and research, and what we ask of our students and employees. And so we are proud when our people gain recognition beyond the walls of our TU/e university for their excellent work. Whether this is for winning prizes, securing grants or gaining special appointments, it makes our scientists all the more excellent, and is something we are pleased to showcase.

Read more about our Strategy 2030.

Brigit Span
(Corporate Storyteller)

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