On Wednesday 18 May 2011, Prof. Koos Duppen, member of the Board of the University of Groningen, has been presented with a major Royal Honour. He became an Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau. The honour was presented by Ms Yvonne van Mastrigt, Mayor of Hoogezand-Sappemeer, in his home town of Kropswolde.
Koos Duppen held the University on a steady course, with a firm eye on the future, during turbulent times. His managerial involvement in numerous valorization projects illustrates his commitment to cooperation between the University of Groningen and the outside world. He has powerful ties with the business sector and government bodies in the northern Netherlands. As a member of the University management team, he has played a large part in raising the international profile of the University of Groningen. His work promoting cooperation in the area of energy with countries such as Russia, and regarding IT with African countries, demonstrates his broad view of the role and function of universities.
Prof. Koos Duppen (Winterswijk, 1953) studied chemistry at the University of Groningen (doctoraal 1980, cum laude) and was awarded a PhD in Groningen as well (1985, cum laude). After working for Shell Research for a short period, he returned to the university in 1987 as a member of academic staff of the Department of Physical Chemistry. He was soon a rising academic star: his work on femtosecond laser spectroscopy attracted considerable international attention. Koos Duppen also proved himself to be a gifted teacher. The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences elected him Lecturer of the Year twice in ten years, and he was appointed professor Professor of Initial Education in Mathematics and Natural Sciences in 1999.
In 2001, Duppen changed course and opted for a somewhat more managerial career. After having worked as project leader for educational change in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Duppen joined the Faculty Board, and his teaching duties were extended to include Professor of Physical Chemistry.
In 2002, Duppen was made overall head of the University IT centre. While occupying this post, he became directly involved in the start of the Lofar radio telescope and the advent of the Blue Gene supercomputer in Groningen. He also initiated a successful reorganization of the IT services within the University of Groningen.
In 2006, the Supervisory Board appointed Prof. Duppen to its numbers and he later became Vice President of the Board of the University. He is responsible for the Resources portfolio. His concerted efforts have given extra impetus to the University’s valorization policy. In his capacity as a manager, he is always keen to mediate with the city and the northern regions. He is a firm supporter of any initiatives seeking to link education, science and society, as demonstrated by his managerial commitment to the North-Netherlands Technology Centre, the Business Generator Groningen Foundation, the Energy Delta Institute, Sensor Universe and Groningen Internet Exchange. In all these initiatives, science goes hand-in-hand with the enhancement of the regional economy. In addition, Duppen applied his knowledge of information technology and education to head a large-scale IT project with the Makerere University and other public universities in Uganda. As a result of the project, a staggering 20 of the country’s students were awarded a PhD and Uganda was able to adopt a larger role in the promotion of information technology in Africa.
The presentation of this Royal Honour coincides with Prof. Duppen deciding to resign his managerial duties at the University of Groningen for health reasons.
More information: Piet Bouma, Head of Communication at the University of Groningen, tel. +31 (0)50 363 4444, e-mail: p.bouma rug.nl or communicatie rug.nl
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