Max Mulder receives Professor of Excellence Award 2021

News - 06 September 2021

On Monday 6 September, Delft University Fund awarded Max Mulder the title of Professor of Excellence 2021. Mulder is Professor of Control & Simulation in the Department of Control & Operations at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering (AE). The prestigious Professor of Excellence Award has been awarded annually by Delft University Fund since 1994.  Max Mulder was nominated by Prof. Henri Werij (Dean of the Faculty of AE), colleagues from his field, the study association VSV ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ and former Master's students and doctoral candidates.

The fact that I am now a Professor of Excellence also reflects on the people I work with. Their efforts brought me in this position and made me receive this particular prize.

Prof. Max Mulder
From left to right: Cindy de Visser, Executive Director Delft University Fund, Prof. Fred van Keulen, Chairman Selection Committee Professor of Excellence Award, Ir. Michael Wisbrun, Chairman Board Delft University Fund, Prof. Max Mulder, Professor of Excellence 2021 and Prof. Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus/Chairman Executive Board TU Delft.

Professor Mulder receives the Professor of Excellence Award for his remarkable contribution to teaching, research and the university. The jury considers Professor Mulder to be a true Professor of Excellence, a consummate professional with outstanding research qualities who also excels in every aspect of coaching students, doctoral candidates and colleagues.

Prof. Van Keulen, Chair of the Professor of Excellence 2021 jury

Take-home message

Prof. dr. Mulder closes his speech during the ceremony with a special take-home message for everyone: "I believe it’s all about caring for the things that you do. The care you put into your subject. So that people can see that you really love the topic that you teach. And that the students feel that he/she is taken care for in the journey that they are taking in this university. And the same goes for everyone you work with in your team. So being a Professor of Excellence is not only about the mind and the matter, the things that we see. But it’s truly only about the heart and soul you put in everything that you do!"

About Max Mulder

Professor Mulder joined the Faculty of AE at TU Delft in December 1999 as an assistant professor, and was awarded a Vidi grant in 2005. After ten years, in 2009, he was appointed to the chair of Aerospace Human Machine Systems by the Executive Board as full-time professor. In the past 12 years as a professor, Prof. Mulder has supervised the graduation of some 300 students. He was named the Faculty of AE ‘Lecturer of the Year’ on a number of occasions. In the role of supervisor and promotor, Mulder has now supervised more than 40 doctoral candidates in the successful completion of their PhD research.

Professor Mulder has built up a name amongst students for his excellent teaching and his exceptional commitment to them, both in and outside of the classroom. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he invested a great deal in his subject. Alongside the usual lectures, he took the time to make additional video materials. And when teaching went online, he was still able to convey his enthusiasm to the students. In recent years, Professor Mulder has often played a role in the study association’s extracurricular activities, such as supervising the Study Tour and speaking at the VSV Symposium. If you ask anyone what they think of Professor Mulder, you are almost certain to get a positive response, as well as a memorable story, both in and outside of the classroom

Jaime Aalders President VSV ‘Leonardo da Vinci’

Max motivates and gives his team credit. His professional knowledge is immense, which is evident when he speaks with his peers, in his consistently high-quality output, and in the many awards he has won for his research.

Prof. D.A. Abbink (TU Delft)

Max is an exceedingly friendly and approachable professor. He is highly committed to his students and colleagues, not only interested in the work that is presented, but in the person behind it. He encourages his students and gives them freedom where possible, offering reassurance and guidance when required

Dr Joost Venrooij, former doctoral candidate supervised by Prof. Mulder

Like all good lecturers, Professor Mulder focuses on providing his students with more than just technological expertise. And that is why I will remember him as the person who made me realise the role that an engineer can play in society. Professor Mulder inspires, is highly skilled, and is himself also constantly seeking new knowledge. He helps his research and students to flourish, but is not solely focused on progress, and has a born talent for doing the right thing. That is what makes Professor Mulder unique, which is why I believe he deserves the Professor of Excellence Award.

Annemarie van den Hoed, former MSc student supervised by Prof. Mulder

All of Professor Mulder's activities, from teaching and the supervision of graduating students and doctoral candidates to research and management, are invariably of absolute top quality. He combines a critical eye with a highly people-oriented approach. For those under his supervision, Mulder is a mentor in heart and soul. Facilitating collaboration is another of his priorities. When teaching, supervising graduating students and doctoral candidates, and in his dealings with others, including external parties, Mulder always strives for consensus and cohesion. With his approach and focus on people and their environment, he successfully inspires countless people in their activities.

― Pof. H.G.C. Werij

Best of TU Delft

Delft University Fund has awarded the prestigious Professor of Excellence Award (in Dutch: Leermeesterprijs) since 1994. A Professor of Excellence is someone who excels in both research and education, and who knows how to inspire and motivate the next generation of Delft engineers. Recipients of the award are reckoned among the top of TU Delft.  Professors of Excellence are not elected on the basis of yield figures or impact scores, nor are they selected top-down. You can only receive this honorary title on the recommendation of your colleagues and your students, who consider you to be their ‘Leermeester’.

The prize

The Professor of Excellence receives the silver Leermeester medal and a check for € 15,000. Also, KLM bestows two tickets for a destination of choice.