Tim van der Hagen

Tim van der Hagen is President of the Board and Rector Magnificus of TU Delft.


“The most important task of TU Delft lies in making a contribution towards a better society. Our greatest contribution are of course the engineers who graduate from our institution. TU Delft students and alumni are characterised by their can-do mentality: the enthusiasm with which they rise to the challenge. At times, I am amazed at what they manage to achieve.

We are also increasingly working together with other institutions, companies and government bodies to create a better society. An important international development is the so-called convergence of scientific fields, the in-depth integration of traditionally independent disciplines to form new scientific fields. With Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Erasmus MC and others, we are investigating what this means for us, for example in the field of medicine and healthcare, where technology is playing an ever-growing role. The way we collaborate with businesses is also evolving, from an innovation chain to an innovation ecosystem. Less and less, universities will develop something which is then taken up by the business sector. In a university 4.0, businesses have a greater presence on campus and are involved in research at a far earlier stage. An example of this is QuTech, a public-private partnership between Microsoft and TU Delft.  Of course, this means we need to make agreements to safeguard academic independence. And besides this, I feel it is important to address ethical aspects of innovation: just because we can do something, does not mean we should do it.”


Tim van der Hagen (born 1959) studied Applied Physics at Eindhoven University of Technology. After taking his doctorate in 1989 at TU Delft, he stayed on at the Reactor Institute Delft, which conducts radiation-related research into energy, materials and health. He was director of the Institute between 2005 and 2012. In 1999 he was appointed professor of Reactor Physics. Between September 2010 and his appointment in May 2016 as chair of the Executive Board, he was dean of the Applied Sciences faculty at TU Delft. Since 1 January 2018 he combines that role with the one of Rector Magnificus. In 2020 he was reappointed, for another period of four years.

Van der Hagen is President of the de Taakgroep Innovatie van het Klimaatakkoord (Taskforse Innovation of the Climate Agreement of the Dutch Government) that published the IKIA (Integral Knowledge and Innovation Agenda for climate and energy) early 2019. The agenda describes the knowledge and innovation that are needed to reach the goals of the Climate Agreement. It aids knowledge institutions, government and industry in translating the innovation goals to their own programmes.

In April 2019 Van der Hagen was involved in the creation of the Klimaatvisie (Climate vision paper) by which TU Delft wants to offer a scientific  substantiation for the discussion about the climate action. In 2015, he was one of the instigators of the Delft Plan, published in 2015, which set out TU Delft’s vision on how the Netherlands could play a leading role in the European energy market. That same year, he was also the co-author of an advisory report produced by the Raad voor de leefomgeving en infrastructuur (Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure, Rli), Rijk zonder CO2 – naar een duurzame energievoorziening in 2050 (A prosperous nation without CO2: Towards a sustainable energy supply by 2050).

The Council found that Dutch climate policy to date had failed to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions from power supplies. The Council therefore proposed that the discussion on the energy transition should cover broader issues than specific sources and sectors alone. The advisory report introduced an approach focusing on four energy needs: low-temperature heating (the heating of buildings, warm water), high-temperature heating (for industry), transport and mobility, and energy for light and appliances.

Van der Hagen has broad managerial experience in the field of energy, including as a former member of the Algemene Energieraad (Dutch Energy Council) and the Topteam Energie (Top team of the Top Sector Energy). Both bodies advise the government on the implementation of energy policy. He is also a member of the Supervisory Board of COVRA.

He is a member of the nationale Adviesraad voor Wetenschap, Technologie en Innovatie (Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, AWTI). This council was established by the Dutch government to advise the government and parliament on policy in the areas of scientific research, technological development and innovation. He chaired the AWTI project group that, with the publication Oppakken en doorpakken in late 2016, advised the Minister of Economic Affairs to increase the focus on innovation in energy policy. The latter should promote and steer innovation, as well as release additional funding to achieve a number of breakthroughs.One example of the latter is the direct production of fuels with the aid of sunlight (solar fuels).

He is a member of the board of NERA, the Netherlands Energy Research Alliance and of GROW (Growth through Research, Development and Demonstration in Offshore Wind), member of the Supervisory Board  of COVRA and ECN, the TNO Strategic Advisory Board on Energy and  the Supervisory Board of  Advanced Dutch Energy Materials (ADEM). He also holds a chair in the General board of the 4TU.Federation, the VSNU and the Steering Committee of Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Alliance (LDE).

In addition, between May 2014 and May 2016 he was chair of the Supervisory Board of HollandPTC (Holland Particle Therapy Centre). This is the first treatment centre for proton therapy in the Netherlands, built in Delft by the Erasmus MC and LUMC medical centres and TU Delft. From 2018, HollandPTC will be treating around 600 cancer patients a year. In addition to patient care, HollandPTC will provide education and offer scope for groundbreaking scientific research.

In May 2016, Tim van der Hagen was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

In his free time, he plays in a pop cover band and he enjoys going to jazz concerts, the theatre and museums.

Rector Magnificus / President Executive Board Tim van der Hagen