For more than a year now, our lives have been dominated by Covid-19. I am constantly pleasantly surprised by the resilient way so many people at TU Delft have managed to cope, each in their own way. Our researchers often draw strength from their work, even under trying circumstances. People such as Professor Neelke Doorn, who is studying how to make our Delta system flexible, or Alexandru Stefanof, who wants to make our electricity grid resistant to cyberattacks. They are working on resilience, particularly focused on the post-Covid-19 age, which we are slowly daring to hope will come.

But for many that is still too far off – it’s lasted so long! Who can you look to when your mental resilience has fallen to nil? So let’s not just focus on the ‘heroes’ of this period. As Fares al Hasan puts it: “There must be space for resilience.” Studying was difficult when he came to Wageningen from

Syria, with his head full of war. We are living in peace here, but I am still very concerned for our students. We see that they are increasingly suffering from a lack of personal contact. Their limit has been reached.

Alumna Patricia Parlevliet also knows this: as a mentor and business coach, she offers students a listening ear. Meanwhile, with our VSNU colleagues, we are pushing for more face-to-face teaching as soon as possible. And we are testing how to do this safely on campus.

Once this is all over, we can look at the suggestion from alumnus Tonie Mudde, who would like to see an extra endorsement on the degree certificates of ‘corona students’: ‘Showed extreme perseverance and resilience, survived the lockdown of 2020-2021.’ I can’t wait!

Prof. Tim van der Hagen,
President Executive Board TU Delft