Modules of the science track

great scientists

You will be acquainted with some “Great Scientists” that made history and made our world what it is today. They are builders that allow you to delve deeper into the mysteries of science and who will guide you to a deeper understanding of not only your own, but to your colleague’s, understanding of science. They come from different periods and disciplines so every aspect of science is covered. These quartile’s choices are Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Niccolò Machiavelli and Sigmund Freud .
Of each of them, you will study a relevant text, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Newton’s Principia, Machiavelli’s The Prince and Freud’s Die Traumdeutung . Besides, you will study the historic contexts and question how relevant the ideas are today. Moreover, you will ask yourself: “why was this scientist great?” and “is he great, anyway?” However, no matter what you ask yourself, at the basis of this module lies the idea of creativity, and it is up to you to make that work out fine.

General information

This course will take place in the third and fourth quartile of your first year(takes 2 quartiles).


Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis studied applied mathematics and philosophy of science, technology, and society, and graduated in 1992 on a scientific-historical study on the Traite de la Lumiere from Christiaan Huygens. Afterwards, he obtained his qualification to teach senior secondary pupils in both mathematics and social studies, and for a while worked in secondary education.
Later, he became assistant research fellow at the research group of history at the University of Twente, where he promoted in 1999 on his thesis on 'Christiaan Huygens and the mathematical science of optics in the seventeenth century'. Besides working on his promotion, he co-authored a teaching method in mathematics for the higher secondary education. Moreover, for a while he worked as research employee at the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, where he organized an exposition on robots and automatons. Afterwards, he was appointed lecturer in the history of science at the University of Twente, for which he lectures on the history of technology and science, and was responsible for the establishment of a minor in history. In addition, he was responsible for the retraining of teachers in secondary education for the newly introduced course of Algemene Natuurwetenschappen.
In 2006, he obtained a VIDI grant for a project on 'The Uses of Mathematics in the Dutch Republic', for which he co-operates with two PhD students on research towards the way in which mathematics and mathematicians in science and technology where trend-setting in the seventeenth century. He does so from a culture historical perspective, whereby he makes use of the developments in the (then) Dutch Republic. His professional interests goes to the development and meaning of mathematical science in the genesis of modern society, where he combines his knowledge of history with insights from philosophy and science studies.

philosophy of science

In this module, we ask ourselves how “science” is made. We do so with the help of cases regarding human, nature, and society. You will choose a theme from a technological research at the University of Twente. From different angles you will try to find out what questions are being asked, which methods and sources of knowledge can (and are) being used, how questions are asked and what the criteria for good answers are. You will be handed a method that allows you to check every scientific publication for its reliability, a method that may prove to be very fruitful for the next module.

General information

This course will take place in the first quartile of your second year.


Mieke Boon studied chemical technology at the University of Twente and passed her studies cum laude in 1987. She then promoted cum laude, on the topic of Theoretical and experimental methods in the modelling of bio-oxidation of sulphide minerals (1996) at the Technical University of Delft. Her articles on this subject still belong to the most cited in this area of research.
Between 1996 and 2000, she worked as a postdoc in Delft, as coordinator for an interdisciplinary research project focussed on technologies in bacterial sulphur removal. From 1984, she started studying philosophy, first at the University of Twente, and later at the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, with a special interest in the History of Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Technology. Between 1988 and 1992, she was head of a working group of the KIVI on the issue of Technics and Ethics. Between 1996 and 2003 she was chair of the animal experimentation committee (DEC) at the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam. In 1998, she won the essay award of the University of Delft for her book “Filosofie: Beelden in Wetenschap”.
Since 2001, she works as a lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente, where she lectures on the Ethics of Technology, Philosophy of Science, and responsibility of the engineer. In 2002, she obtained a VIDI-subsidy for five years on the theme of Philosophy of the Technical Science, and works on a book on this topic named
Engineering Philosophy of Science. Her research has been embedded into MESA+ by the potential SEPA-NST. Since 2005, she, together with journalist Peter Henk Steenhuis, wrote a ‘course’ called ‘The Philosophy of Looking’, which is published in the daily newspaper Trouw. In 2007, this series appeared as a book by Lemniscaat.

individual project

For this module, you will choose a topic from your regular study that catches your interest and you will try to identify an unsolved problem related to it. The result will be a research proposal in the way a professor would set it up. You will have guidance of both the professor of your choice and the teachers of this module. The first one will give you specific information on the subject, while the others will tell and teach how to write such a proposal and how to do decent research work on your own. The meetings during this period are used to exchange ideas and to present your most recent findings. Moreover, with the aid of several case studies, you will learn the do’s and don’ts of research on your own area of interest and of science in general. Overall, this module serves not only to get you acquainted with your own area of research, but also to show you how to “create” new knowledge.

General information

This course will take place in the second and third quartile of your second year (takes 2 quartiles).


Kim Schildkamp graduated in 2003 at the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and completed her research towards leadership in schools at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in Toronto, Canada. She promoted in 2007 at the University of Twente on the topic of self-evaluation in primary education, and now works there as a lecturer at the research group Curriculum Design & Education Innovation.
Her research is focussed on the use of data (for example, data on exams, surveys, and reports of the inspection on education) by schools, for which she looked both towards the Netherlands and towards other countries. The latter was possible due to a Fulbright grant, which allowed her to work for a few months at the Louisiana State University, where she worked with the Louisiana Department of Education on research towards the use of performance feedback by schools.
Now, she focuses on supporting schools in the use of data. One of her research projects, for example, focuses on the functioning of so-called data teams in secondary education. In these data teams, teachers and members of the school management work together according to a pre-structured systematic plan to improve the use of different sources of data. Another, European, research project focuses on the same use of data in different countries, among which are England, Germany, Poland, and Lithuania (see also Moreover, she is a member of the board of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement (ICSEI) and is founder and chair of the ICSEI data use network (see She is author of a significant number of international publications and is much sought after as speaker on (inter)national conferences.

Cindy Poortman graduated in 2001 at the University of Twente on a research towards guidelines for a teaching project on ‘Educational Design’, which she carried out at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique. After working for a year as scientific employee in education and research, she worked from 2002 to 2007 on her promotion research on the topic of apprenticeships in technical and vocational training for 16-18 year olds. Since the completion of her promotion, she worked as an adviser and researcher on projects for lower and higher education institutes, on the field of the shaping and guiding of the studying of students, and the communication between schools and businesses. Moreover, she was involved with different research projects at the University of Twente, such as a review study on the efficiency of combinations of learning and working, executed at the request of PROO-NWO. She also teaches education marketing, HRD-theory, and introduction to education and training science at the UT, worked as a guest lecturer at the Stoas Hogeschool, and did various workshops and presentations for employees of higher and lower secondary education institutes. Due to the growing need of schools in different sectors for yield-focussed working, her interest in this topic has grown lately, especially towards ‘yield-focussed working in data teams’ ( For this project, she works as a post-doc on the question of the effects of data teams with regard to the improvement of the school.

Hajo Broersma obtained his MSc and PhD degrees in 1984 and 1988 from the department of Applied Mathematics of the University of Twente. Since then he has been an assistant, associate and full professor at the UT until he moved to Durham University (UK) in 2004 to take up a professorship in theoretical computer science. There he has built up one of the strongest European research groups in algorithmic and structural graph theory and computational complexity. He returned to the UT in 2010 as a professor in programmable nanosystems, from a joint initiative supported by the UT research institutes CTIT and MESA+. In 2012 he obtained a large European grant of 2.9M€ to work on a challenging project concerning evolvable nanostructures within the `future and emerging technologies' program, with a multidisciplinary team from the UT and universities in Durham, York, Lugano and Trondheim. Hajo published over 150 scientific papers in internationally refereed journals, is an editorial board member of six international journals, and participated in program committees of thirteen international conferences. He holds visiting professorships at three universities in China.

Dr. Janneke Alers studied Biology at Utrecht University with majors in Experimental Embryology and Immunopathology. She obtained her PhD degree in Medicine at the Department of Pathology of the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Cancer Cytogenetics in 1997. She continued working at the Erasmus MC as a postdoc in translational cancer research. In 2001 she accepted a position at the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding) as senior policy maker and secretary of the Dutch Cancer Society Signaling Committee on Cancer (SCK). She conducted, amongst others, a Delphi study on imaging techniques for cancer patients in the Netherlands. From 2006 onwards, she worked as senior research coordinator and secretary of the Scientific Counsel of the Dutch Cancer Society for which she was responsible for the processing of grant applications for scientific research, training and education. In 2008 she became program manager of the Biomedical Engineering program at Twente University and coordinator of the minor Medical Sports Physiology. She combined her coordinating tasks with developing and teaching courses related to academic skills and introduction to medicine . She was involved in the design of new TOM modules in the BMT Bachelor curriculum. Within the BME program she was a strong advocate of the honours program.
In 2011 she became full time lecturer in Cell Biology related courses and practicals in the Bachelor programs of Biomedical Engineering, Technical Medicine and Health Sciences. Currently she is coordinator of BMT modules 2, 5 and 11 and is embedded as full time lecturer at the Developmental BioEngineering group of the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine.

science synthesis

The aim of this concluding course is twofold: to reflect on what you have accomplished during the honours programme and to produce a publication (a book, a journal or anything like this) related to you own progress.
Working on the publication has proven to be a challenging and exciting endeavor. This is in particular the result of the fact that the publication is in essence an outcome of the effort of the whole group. You have to decide on the form of the publication and on the contents: the subject. Obviously the subject has to have an exciting element, and your first task will be to find and select a suitable theme. You have to go through all aspects of the publication yourself: find the subject, fit in your own interpretation. Then you will create texts and visual material. To make something great out of it you read, comment on and correct each other’s texts, make the layout, and get the manuscript ready for production.
Take a look at to see what earlier generations have done with this task. The reward is your own, wonderful product, a worthy conclusion of the honours programme!

General information

This course will take place in the fourth quartile of your second year.


Miko Elwenspoek studied physics at the Freie Universität Berlin and completed his studies there with a research on the physics of fluids in 1978. After two years’ work on biophysics, he promoted on the dynamics of fluid metals and alloys at the same university in 1983. He then moved to the Netherlands to do research on the growth of organic cristals from a solution at the (then) Catholic University of Nijmegen.
In 1987, he became a lecturer at the University of Twente and in 1996, a full professor of Transduction Technics as the department of Electrical Engineering. At the moment, he holds the chair of Transducers Science and Technology and is connected to both the MESA+ and IMPACT institute. His research towards microsystems recieved the Simon Steving Meesterschap award in 1997. He is (co)auteur of more than 200 articles in international scientific journals and two books. In 2002, he received the award for best teacher in Electrical Engineering, and later was, among others, responsible for the establishment of the study of Advanced Technology at the UT. Besides, he was one of the founders of the Honours programme and will act as the head of the Excellence programme of the UT for the coming years.