Royal Honours for three TU Delft professors

News - 26 April 2019 - Communication

Professor Jan Dirk Jansen

Jan Dirk Jansen, Dean and Professor of Reservoir Systems and Control in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG), was made a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in Delft

Professor Jansen received the honour for his contributions to geoscientific research in the Netherlands and his talent for bringing together science and society.

In his research, Jansen specialises in developing techniques for managing subsurface fluid flows that can be used in oil and gas extraction, geothermal energy applications and induced earthquakes. He is an expert in reservoir management and production optimisation and has been instrumental in the integration of geoscientific research, which was traditionally very fragmented. 

Examples of his social engagement include membership of the Mining Council, the body that advises the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, for instance on strengthening the structural integrity of buildings in the province of Groningen in the light of the decision to discontinue gas extraction by 2030. Jansen is also a firm advocate of the initiative to realise a geothermal source on TU Delft campus – a project in which the scientific challenge is inextricably linked with the interests of wider society. 

Jan Dirk Jansen studied Civil Engineering at TU Delft. After graduating, he worked for Shell in the Netherlands and abroad, while at the same time completing his doctorate at TU Delft in 1993. Between 1999 and 2010, he combined his job at Shell with an appointment at the university. In 2005, he was appointed Professor of Reservoir Systems and Control. In 2011, he became Director of the Geoscience & Engineering department; since 2018, he has been Dean of the Faculty of CEG. 

Professor Miro Zeman

Miro Zeman, Professor of Photovoltaic Materials and Devices in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS), was also made a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in Delft

Professor Zeman received the honour for his major scientific contribution to a renewable energy supply, a theme of huge importance for society. Acknowledged at home and abroad as an expert in renewable energy, Zeman has done pioneering work in the optical and electrical modelling of solar cells. He develops new technologies to optimise the efficiency of solar cells and also conducts research into the system integration required for a stable electricity grid that can handle energy generated from renewable and fluctuating sources. He is the driving force behind the new Electrical Sustainable Power Lab, a research facility that focuses on the electricity system of the future.

Zeman’s contribution to education and valorisation is equally important. For their final projects, Master's students are able to make use of his extensive network within industry and knowledge institutions. He has supervised dozens of doctoral candidates and also shares his knowledge about solar energy with the entire world in his Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In 2006, he set up the Slovakian Renewable Energy Agency, a non-profit organisation that promotes the use of solar energy in Slovakia. He was also involved in establishing two Delft start-ups in solar energy, Eternal Sun and Delft Spectral Technologies.

Miro Zeman studied Materials Science at the Slovakian University of Technology in Bratislava, where he also completed his doctorate. He has been working at TU Delft since 1989. In 2009, he was appointed to the position of Professor of Photovoltaic Materials and Devices; he is also the Director of the Electrical Sustainable Energy (ESE) department. 

Professor Lucas van Vliet

Lucas van Vliet, Dean and Professor of Quantitative Imaging in the Faculty of Applied Sciences (AS), was made an Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau in Schiedam.

Professor Van Vliet was singled out for this honour for his outstanding services to education and science at the interface between physics and clinical technology. Van Vliet is a leading name in the field of optics, the area of physics that explores the properties of light. He specialises in pattern and image recognition, especially image analysis in microscopy, for use in healthcare. His research results have been applied in a clinical setting, partly because of his pioneering work in bringing together technology and clinical research. He was one of the initiators of Medical Delta, the medical-technological consortium in which Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Erasmus MC and the Leiden University Medical Centre collaborate with government bodies and businesses.

His wide experience of teaching – he has supervised more than 100 graduates and 40 doctoral candidates – has given him a nuanced view of education. He knows from experience how science and education complement and challenge each other and endeavours to encourage this interaction between the University's core tasks. He achieves this in two ways: by ensuring that leading researchers remain involved in education and by giving leading lecturers the opportunity to excel while still remaining in touch with science. 

Lucas van Vliet studied Applied Physics at TU Delft and was awarded his doctorate cum laude in 1993, specialising in the development of image analysis methods. He subsequently joined what was then the Faculty of Applied Physics at TU Delft. In 1999, he was appointed to the position of Professor of Medical Imaging; since 2009 he has been the Director of the Imaging Science & Technology department. He has been Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences (AS) since 2016.