Faculty of Applied Sciences

10 November 2023

Talieh Ghiasi wins Minerva Prize 2023

Talieh Ghiasi (Harvard and TU Delft) wins the Minerva Prize 2023. The Minerva Prize is intended for young, promising female or non-binary physicists in the Netherlands, who excel in a field of physics, experimental and/or theoretical. Talieh excels in experimental research and is at the forefront of her field, making her the rightful winner this year. Talieh Ghiasi’s groundbreaking research in spintronics has led to significant advances in spin-related functionalities of nanodevices with potential applications in future memory and computing systems. By tailoring graphene properties, she developed a new generation of two-dimensional spin-logic devices where the graphene itself converts electrical and thermal signals into spin information. Her pioneering research, as a PhD candidate at the University of Groningen and postdoc at TU Delft, involves various experimental techniques and has made a high impact in the field. She recently started working as a postdoc at Harvard University with a Rubicon grant. She is also affiliated with TU Delft as a visiting researcher, at the Quantum Nanoscience department of the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Talieh has a strong passion for teaching and outreach. In addition to her research, she taught and supervised students at the University of Groningen and Delft University of Technology. In the field of outreach, she has conducted a large number of interviews, written several blog posts, and communicated her research on various scientific platforms. Talieh is very adept at going off the beaten track and at successfully collaborating with other groups in the Netherlands and abroad. All in all, Talieh Ghiasi is a wonderful winner of the Minerva Prize 2023. The Minerva Prize is a joint initiative of the Dutch Physics Society (NNV) and the Dutch Physics Council (DPC). With the Minerva Prize, both institutions want to make a positive contribution to increasing gender diversity within the Dutch physics field. The prize comes with a cash prize of € 5,000. The NNV/DPC Minerva Prize award ceremony will take place during NWO Physics 2024 23 to 24 January 2024, where Talieh will also give a lecture about her work. Source: Dutch Physics Council

09 November 2023

Is Safety Culture a Matter for the Workplace, Not Science?

With the goal of ensuring the safety and well-being of employees, safety culture is certainly a matter for organisations. But developing a strong safety culture is a complex process that requires an integrated approach. Two safety experts from different fields agree that collaboration between science and the workplace is essential. text Heather Montague Behaviour and risk assessment As someone who deals with safety in the workplace, Marcel Vervoort , Safety Engineer & Occupational Hygienist at TU Delft’s Reactor Institute, sees a strong connection between safety culture and behaviour. “Yet we don’t really have a good grip on how personal and group behaviour and the psychological mind can be influenced in recognising and anticipating risks. For example, what has a negative or positive influence on safety behaviour within a group? I think research into such questions can have a very important role in safety culture development.” Doing science at a high level means not always being aware of the risks entailed. “With scientific projects, one of the most important safety issues is that researchers often use and develop new and unexplored techniques or substances,” says Vervoort. He notes that doing risk assessments at the beginning of a project, even as part of a scientific proposal, is valuable. “In my experience, the implementation of risk assessment for scientific setups has a positive influence on safety behaviour. If risk assessment is thoroughly implemented and supported by the management, the safety culture develops in a positive manner.” Evidence-based cooperation An adequate safety culture is much more than the absence of having accidents, explains Karolien van Nunen , Assistant Professor in Safety & Security Science at TU Delft. “It's about how safe people feel themselves, their perceptions, their attitudes towards safety. Furthermore, individual behaviour is an important aspect of safety culture, but safety culture entails much more. Also the specific characteristics of an organisation and the context in which this behaviour takes place play an important role. Acknowledging the complexity of safety culture is needed.” There are many tools, methods, and approaches being used by practitioners to assess and improve organisational safety culture, but often they are not evidence-based. It is the role of academia to guarantee that they become evidence based, she says. But that’s not the only issue, according to her. “There is too much academic research that remains too abstract or too high-level. It is the role of the people in the field to safeguard that research output is valuable and usable in the workplace. In my research on safety culture, I advocate the importance of very close cooperation between scientists and practitioners. Understanding, assessing, and improving safety culture is not something that can be done by isolated stakeholders. Cooperation between scientists and organisations is key. Download article Download article

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