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Thom Palstra appointed as Rector Magnificus of the University of Twente

05 September 2016

As of 25 November 2016 professor Thom Palstra will be appointed as the new Rector Magnificus of the University of Twente. He will succeed professor Ed Brinksma, whose appointment period as a Rector will end.

Zernike Institute Director Thom Palstra becomes Rector Magnificus at the University of Twente
Zernike Institute Director Thom Palstra becomes Rector Magnificus at the University of Twente

Professor Palstra has an impressive track record as a scientist. His research is focused on the interface of Chemistry, Physics and Nanotechnology, the main research theme is electron transport. In addition to his numerous publications and citations throughout his scientific career, Palstra received several academic awards, honors and grants. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW), elected as of 2010. There, he is chair of the section Chemistry, member of the TWINS-board and advisory member of the section Physics and Astronomy. Since 1998 Palstra is also a Member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) . In 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the leading US organization for physicists, in the division Material Physics.

After his Master Degree Palstra received his PhD at the University of Leiden. For 10 years he has been working as a staff member at Bell Laboratories. Since 1996 he is affiliated with the University of Groningen . He holds the chair Solid State Chemistry. Additionally he fulfilled several management positions since 2006. He has been an associate director of the Chemistry educational programme in Groningen. He held the position of Vice Dean and later on Acting Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (formerly known as the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences). Currently Palstra is Director of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials in Groningen, an institute with a top-20 position in the world measured by citations per article in the Thompson Reuters rankings.

Palstra has various additional activities. He is an editor of the journal Solid State Communications, he is Board Member of the NanolabNL foundation, he is a member of the COMOP section of the FOM foundation and he is a member of the scientific advisory board PEARL, University of Luxembourg. Besides he is an ESRF Council advisor for the NWO and reviewer of National and International Grant proposals.

The Supervisory Board and the Executive Board of the UT are delighted with the appointment of professor Thom Palstra. Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Anton Schaaf, on his appointment: “Thom Palstra has an excellent track record. He has a large national and international network. He is proven successful in teaching, research and in valorization. The Supervisory Board expects that the successor of professor Brinksma will continue on the initiated policy developments in education and research of the UT. Key elements include the development of research infrastructure, enhancing the international position of the UT and continuing the development of the Twente Educational Model. Thom Palstra's experiences raise high expectations of how he will lead and connect students and staff of the UT in an inspiring way.”

Professor Palstra stated: “I see the UT as a young, vibrant university with a strong international reputation. The High Tech, Human Touch approach is distinctive, nationally and internationally. The campus embodies the sense of a community for staff and students and is unique in the Netherlands. As a future rector I am looking forward to work together with the students and staff to the further development of this university."

Palstra addresses his colleagues at the University of Groningen: "I have worked with enormous pleasure for the last 20 years at our university. The university has always offered more to me than I requested. I started with a poorly negotiated start-up package, which was without much effort expanded to give me the opportunity to thrive. The university has also later always lived up to its promises. In this spirit I have tried to contribute myself as staff member, vice-dean and now as director to identify opportunities that are enriching our community. I have felt continuous energy from the talented students, fantastic staff members and the collaborative spirit to focus on exciting new science. The people in our institute are warm and committed. I have felt strong support for my activities and it was a pleasure to work with our board, the faculty board, many of you individually and various committees. Now I am up to a new challenge."

The rectorship handover ceremonie will take place during the 55th Dies Natalis of the UT, 25 November 2016.

Last modified:09 February 2017 1.19 p.m.

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