Andrea Ramirez Ramirez


Professor of Low Carbon Systems and Technologies at the ESS department

Tell us about your personal life

I am from Colombia and came to the Netherlands to pursue my PhD at Utrecht University in the topic of energy efficiency. I still live in Utrecht with my Dutch husband and two children. I am a curious person by nature and enjoy travelling and meeting people. When at home I enjoy spending time with my family.

What is your favourite pastime?

I enjoy reading, especially Norwegian psychological thrillers and biographies that are written like stories. During the car ride to work and back home I often listen to podcasts, such as ‘This American Life’ and one of my favourites: ‘Radiolab’ in which science is made easily accessible by pouring it in a story format.

What has been the highlight of your career?

A defining moment in my life was the opportunity to do my Masters in human ecology in Belgium after finishing my BSc degree in chemical engineering and working in a research group in Colombia. This really broadened my horizon. I am very passionate about beta-science, but this masters allowed me to look at things from other people’s perspective, which I found very valuable. Obtaining my PhD position was another highlight and last but not least the female fellowship at professor level here at TU Delft which gives me the chance to shape my own research. What keeps me going is not only the ‘great achievements’, but more so the smaller moments in my career. It also makes me proud when other people you work with or whom you have trained do well.

What is your greatest challenge at the moment?

I am in the process of finding out how to integrate my research in the Delft agenda, giving it a Delft flavour and finding connections.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Having the opportunity to make a difference and putting my work in a broader context. I enjoy reflecting on what I am doing . Technology and context influence each other, it is a system that is constantly in motion. I like to contribute to a more sustainable world, by transforming the power and industry systems, by also involving students who can bring the knowledge further. This job brings responsibility but also freedom to work in beta-science, something I am very passionate about. 

Why Delft?

TU Delft fits in the type of research I would like to do, the faculty of TPM especially, which has a multidisciplinary approach, with an engineering core. It’s about technology that puts industry in motion.  Of course it is also very attractive that I have been given the freedom to choose my own research topic.

What is your best character trait?

I am a committed person and loyal to people. Furthermore I am a web-thinker, seeing connections and possibilities is my second nature.

What is your worst character trait?

I am sometimes a bit too enthusiastic in my web-thinking. I can find it hard to set boundaries and get involved into too many interesting leads. Every now and then it would be better to say no, bring in focus and conserve my energy.

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

Climate change. It has so many consequences and is interrelated with so many aspects of life. Think of food production, climate refugees, etc. It is going to affect us and future generations immensely. Having a functional ecosystem is essential. I feel it is therefore essential for politicians to set boundaries and put climate change on top of the agenda.

Your source of inspiration?

People inspire me, especially children and students, by questioning what I am doing. It brings me back to the essence of what I feel is important. I also get inspired by colleagues who are committed to their work and I find inspiration in small moments, like getting invited as a keynote on a conference or a colleague who is successful. Even negative things can inspire me. They motivate me to do things differently.

Your life philosophy?

It maybe sounds a bit corny but I really believe in the slogan ‘ Yes, we can’.  It has a positive vibe to it: Look what you can do and let’s do it. It motivates to come into action.

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