On Thursday 3 March, Prof. Jasper Knoester was awarded a royal decoration on the recommendation of the UG. The decoration was presented to him by Mayor of the Municipality of Groningen, K.F. Schuiling, during his farewell event. Knoester has been appointed as Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
For many years, Jasper Knoester (Hoensbroek, 1958) was Professor of Theory of Condensed Matter, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), and deputy rector at the UG. Since his appointment as Dean in 2010, he played an extraordinarily important role in the development of the University in general, and his Faculty in particular. On 1 January 2022, he became Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Leiden University.
As a multi-talented pioneer and a visionary and unifying administrator, Knoester’s exceptional leadership raised the Faculty of Science and Engineering to a world-class level. Under his leadership, the Faculty grew into a modern and diverse organization with many English-taught programmes and an open, inclusive atmosphere.
Knoester created a climate within which high-level science can flourish, he was able to attract major scientific talents from all over the world to Groningen, and the Faculty received important awards and successes under his leadership, including Spinoza Prizes and even a Nobel Prize. The Faculty currently comprises students and staff with over 70 nationalities, and the number of students has doubled from 3,500 in 2010 to 7,000 in 2021.
Knoester was always successful in combining his administrative work with his scientific work because, in the scientific field as well, Knoester had more than earned his stripes with high-quality research and remarkable discoveries. He started his career at the UG in 1989 and rapidly developed into a successful and creative scientist.
In 1993, he was appointed Professor of Theory of Condensed Matter. In addition, he was a founder of the current top research school Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials (ZIAM), where he was the scientific director from 2003 to 2009. His own theoretical research concerns the electronic and optical properties of molecular materials, which are used in cameras, TV screens, and solar panels, for example. He has authored or co-authored around 195 peer-reviewed articles, and he is a highly sought-after speaker at international conferences and colloquia at other institutions.
In addition to being praised for his exceptional scientific and administrative qualities, Knoester is lauded for his personal qualities and the respectful way in which he treats people. He is a good listener and he is calm, modest, empathetic, and approachable. He combines these qualities with vision and managerial courage, and he knows how to bring people and interests together for a common goal.
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