Royal honours for three TU Delft professors

News - 26 April 2018 - Communication

TU Delft professors Isabel Arends, Jenny Dankelman and Andy van den Dobbelsteen each received a royal honour this year.

Professor Isabel Arends, Professor of Biotechnology in the faculty of Applied Sciences was made an Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau in Naaldwijk in the municipality of Westland.

Professor Arends received the honour for her pioneering academic work of great social relevance, her contribution to science in general and to women in science in particular.

Social relevance has always been at the heart of Professor Arends’ research and teaching. In her research, she works on new techniques for making chemical processes more sustainable, such as the use of biocatalysts. In her Green Chemistry lectures, she taught students all aspects of sustainability. She did this using the didactic concepts she had developed in which students had to do a lot of their own research – concepts that are now being applied internationally. Arends also developed the Faculty of Applied Sciences’ first ever MOOC (massive open online course) on industrial biotechnology. 

As a member of the management team in the public/private BE-Basic consortium, Professor Arends plays an important role in the development of technologies that will prove essential in the transition to a sustainable, circular economy. Her engagement with society is also demonstrated

by her commitment to women in science. She was active for DEWIS (Delft Women in Science) for many years, liaising closely with the Netherlands Network of Women Professors.  As vice-chair of the former STW Technology Foundation (now: NWO-TTW), she was instrumental in developing a balanced incentive policy to boost women’s participation in science.


Isabel Arends studied Physical Organic Chemistry at Leiden University and was awarded a doctorate cum laude in 1993. After a year as a post-doc in Canada, she joined TU Delft, becoming a professor in 2007. Since 2013, Arends has been director of the Biotechnology Department and she founded the TU Delft Bioengineering Institute in 2016. She is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and vice-chair of the Applied and Engineering Sciences domain of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Professor Jenny Dankelman, Professor of Minimally-Invasive Surgery and Intervention Techniques in the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE) was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in a ceremony in Pijnacker.

Professor Dankelman received the honour for her work in the development of innovative medical instruments for minimally-invasive surgery and for achieving a major advance in care by combining the engineering and clinical fields.  

In her research, Professor Dankelman focuses on the development of medical instruments that enable operations to be conducted with minimal damage to healthy tissue, known as keyhole surgery. She also works to improve processes in the operating theatre. In addition, she works selflessly on the development of safe and affordable surgical instruments for use in developing countries. Through new operating techniques that no longer require sterile conditions, safe surgical care could soon become available for the five billion people worldwide who currently have no way of accessing it.

Professor Dankelman is also actively involved in education, not only lecturing, but also developing new curricula. She is closely involved in the Medical Instruments and Medical Safety specialisations in the Biomedical Engineering Master's degree programme and the Biologically Inspired Design specialisation in the Mechanical Engineering Master's degree programme. She also makes a valuable contribution to the transfer of knowledge to surgeons in various hospitals, in part by setting up training modules for doctors in the use of newly-developed techniques.

Jenny Dankelman studied Mathematics in Groningen and was awarded her doctorate at TU Delft in 1989. After two years of post-doctoral research at Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Centre, she returned to Delft in 1992. In 2001, she was appointed Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor and has been the head of the Biomechanical Engineering department since 2010. In 2012, she was appointed Medical Delta Professor in the Leiden University Medical Centre. In 2006, Dankelman was closely involved in the establishment of Delft Women in Science, the network of women scientists at TU Delft, which she chaired from 2008 to 2010.

Professor Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Professor of Climate Design & Sustainability in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment was made a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in a ceremony in Delft.

Professor Van den Dobbelsteen received this honour for his research which makes a major contribution to maintaining quality of life in our living environment in these times of climate change.

Professor Andy van den Dobbelsteen's research focuses on sustainable energy systems and climate adaptation. His knowledge is being applied across the world and he is very much in demand as a speaker in the Netherlands and internationally.  Van den Dobbelsteen is passionate about his subject. In addition to his academic work, he is also committed to supporting sustainability outside the University, in part through his role as chair of NL Greenlabel, the platform for sustainable products and services in Dutch outdoor areas.

Professor Van den Dobbelsteen is also a highly enthusiastic lecturer and teacher. He motivates his students, sparking their interest in sustainable construction. This enables him to contribute

to the education of future generations who take a critical perspective on the world and aim to help maintain and even improve the current living environment. Van den Dobbelsteen, in turn, also likes to take inspiration from the ideas and views of his many students.

Andy van den Dobbelsteen studied Civil Engineering at TU Delft. Since graduating in 1993, he has worked in the Climate Design & Sustainability group in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. In 2004, he received a doctorate on the subject of sustainable office accommodation and was appointed as Professor of Climate Design & Sustainability in 2009. Since 2013, he has been director of the Architectural Engineering and Technology department. His other roles include being Principal Investigator in the field of buildings & circularity at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), and a board member of the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC).