The FFNT (Female Faculty Network Twente) is the professional network of female academic staff members at the University of Twente. Our vision is to establish and maintain current the culture and the practices of diversity in our university. Our mission is to promote female academic leadership and help shape policies that increase gender diversity at our university.


Academic workplaces and academic careers are supposed to be gender-neutral. However, even today, less than 20% of female researchers are promoted to professors in Dutch academic institutions. At the same time, the number of female doctoral candidates in different faculties as well as female postdocs is quite comparable to the numbers of male colleagues. The leaky pipeline is an alarming reality in Dutch academia. If talent walks away, in the long run this often translates in sub-optimally used opportunities for growth and for innovation. An inclusive work environment is a key factor to retaining and leveraging female researchers’ talent and assuring long-term benefits and growth. To address the ‘leaky pipeline’ issue at the University of Twente, a number of enthusiastic female academic established the FFNT in 2005. Since then, this organization has grown to 220 members at all academic levels. It engages with and for its members, with UT managers and administrators to keep up the dialogue about equity, diversity and inclusiveness. We are actively involved in building the business case for gender diversity at various levels of the university, in human resources departments, as well as in teaching and research. FFNT also offers a lot of training sessions to train its members in professional academic skills and leadership qualities, effectively tuned for women.

FFNT collaborates with other UT organizations, such as OBP-VN, the UT’s Human Resources Department, the UT’s Ambassadors Network, PNUT, the Twente Graduate School, and Studium Generale.

Objectives and activities

In line with its 2015-2020 strategy, the Female Faculty Network Twente has three main goals:

  • To contribute to FFNT members professional development
  • To increase attractiveness of FFNT
  • To contribute to the UT as an inclusive organization

We do so through a number of activities, such as yearly conferences, lunch discussions and workshops on various topics relating to gender in academic workplaces. We meet and discuss with UT management as well as our members to address gender and related issues faced by our members, such as transparency of hiring and promotion criteria and family-friendly policies. We also encourage the pro-active engagement of our members in shaping their own careers and promoting their leadership at different levels of the UT.

Our events are free of charge for the FFNT members. We encourage you to contact us with your suggestions for future events - you can help shaping our annual program of activities based on your needs!


The network is run by the FFNT Board, which is responsible for the long-term vision, strategic planning, organization of the events, and finances. The FFNT Board consists of academic staff members from all faculties, with administrative support by a secretary. The aim of the Board is to cover the needs and interests of all female academics at the UT and therefore, the Board welcomes professors, associate professors, lecturers, researchers and PhD candidates.


Female academics, including full, associate and assistant professors, post-docs, and PhD candidates, are welcome to become a member of the FFNT. Membership is free of charge. To learn about the membership benefits, please click on our Membership

Further information

For more information about us and our activities, please send us an email at ffnt@utwente.nl and visit our website www.utwente.nl/ffnt


The Board of the Female Faculty Network Twente (FFNT) consists of 6 female academic staff members from all the faculties of the University of Twente. The FFNT Board members ensure the equal representation of the UT faculties at board level, in order to cover the needs and interests of the whole community of academic female employees. Therefore, the Board welcomes professors, associate professors, lecturers, researchers and PhD students. In this academic year, the FFNT Board consists of one full professor, one associate professor, two assistant professors, and one PhD researcher. Administrative assistance to the Board is provided by Mrs. Edith van Eijk. You can reach her at ffnt@utwente.nl.
If you are interested in FFNT membership or would like to contact one of the Board members, please approach anyone of the Board members directly or send an e-mail to FFNT. We would be happy to consult you on FFNT-related matters and to provide any information that helps your needs as a female academic staff.


Vanessa Magnanimo (053 4895363)

Group: MultiScale Mechanics (CTW)
Position: Assistant Professor
Area of research: solid mechanics, soil mechanics.
PhD from where: Politecnico di Bari, Bari (IT)
Most important achievement: The development (and industrial funding) of my independent research line on Solid-Soil micromechanics.

Board members

Sonia M. García-Blanco (06 48462545)

Group: Optical Sciences (TNW)
Position: Assistant Professor, Tenure Track
Area of research: Integrated Nanophotonics
PhD from where: University of Glasgow, UK
Most important achievement: The formation of the IOS (Integrated Optical Sciences) subgroup, which I am currently leading.

Maya Daneva (053 4892889)

Group: Services, Cybersecurity and Safety (EWI)
Position: Assistant Professor
Area of research: Empirical Software Engineering, Software Analytics, Requirements Engineering
PhD from where: St Clement Ochridsky University of Sofia
Most important achievement: Led four PhD students who successfully defended their PhD theses in the period of 2009-2014.

Diana Reckien (053 4874525)

Group: Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management (PGM),
Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)
Position: tenure-track Assistant Professor
Area of research: Climate change impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation options in urban areas to inform climate change policy and practice in intercultural comparisons
PhD from where: University of Marburg, Germany
Most important achievement: 2 years Post-Doc at Earth Institute, Columbia University in the City of New York, USA.

Justyna Chromik

(053 4893737)

Group: Design and Analysis of Communication Systems (EWI)

Position: PhD Student

Area of research: intrusion detection systems in industrial networks

Most important achievement: graduated cum laude from the University of Twente, in February 2015.

Liudvika Leisyte (053 4893337)

Group: Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (BMS)
Position: Professor
Area of research: Research governance and management and Academic work
PhD from where: University of Twente
Most important achievement: Nine month’s fellowship at Harvard University.

Edith van Eijk (053 4893965)

Position: Secretary at Laser Physics and Non Linear Optics and Female Faculty Network Twente

Jose Wolters - Boers (053-4893901)

Position: Secretary at Human Resources and support of Edith van Eijk the secretary of the Female Faculty Network Twente