Marijn Janssen


Professor of ICT & Governance and head of the ICT section.

Tell us about your personal life

I am married and have two fantastic children, a son and a daughter.

What is your favourite pastime?

Doing things with my family. Swimming, chess, going to my children's football training and matches. I also enjoy going to dancing lessons. But as a professor you're also married to your work, at least to a certain extent. That means I spend quite a lot of my spare time on my research.

What has been the highlight of your career?

The highlights have also been the occasions that were the most nerve-wracking: my wedding day, the birth of my children, as well as my PhD conferral ceremony and inaugural address.

What is your greatest challenge at the moment?

We expect ICT to help our society to advance, but on the other hand it frequently disappoints. This is precisely the area to which my research can contribute. At the same time, we are in the midst of a data explosion. We have more and more sensors for collecting data, we are making data accessible, and we can combine data to help achieve positive objectives. This not only makes cost savings possible, but can also give rise to innovations and make government more transparent. ICT infrastructures for energy and mobility, in which public as well as private parties operate, must contribute to this. My research is about how these infrastructures look and how they can be developed. Improving society in this way is what drives me.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Working with motivated students and researchers. I enjoy seeing students graduate or receiving their doctorate, marking the fact that they have been prepared for their post-university career. I also enjoy it every time my research takes a step forward - especially when others build on my work. I regularly receive questions from researchers abroad who want to discuss my research.

Why Delft?

The interconnectedness of technology and governance requires in-depth knowledge of technology and of the empirical knowledge that we have at the University of Delft's faculty of Technology, Policy and Management and the Department of Engineering Systems and Service. My research involves the linking of all manner of aspects. In addition, in the field of information science we have an excellent collaborative relationship with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science and with other faculties, in order to advance this type of research.

What is your best character trait?

Enthusiasm and the ability to imagine myself in problems. You have to be able to immerse yourself  into a socio-tech problem in order to understand it properly and being able to link aspects with each other.

What is your worst character trait?

Because I'm so enthusiastic I tend to take on too much, and immediately delve into the details. I like to think along with people, and I tend to get carried away. It doesn't dawn on me until later that I don't have the time.

What subject do you think should be high on the political agenda?

Safety and security, health and education. Safety, security and health enable us to live as we choose, and education gives people opportunities and the ability to make use of them.

Your source of inspiration?

My family is my greatest source of inspiration. Here at Delft we have an incredible number of inspiring people. Outside the university, too, there are many people who take the initiative to improve society.

Your life philosophy?

Do good, and good will come to you.

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