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The Supervisory Board reappoints Victor van der Chijs as president of the University of Twente

Victor van der Chijs has been reappointed to the post of president by the Supervisory Board.

Mr Van der Chijs will start his second term on 1 October 2017 and he aims to further increase the university’s enterprising spirit and impact on society.

Prior to making the decision to reappoint Mr Van der Chijs, the Supervisory Board spoke with deans, scientific directors, service department directors and the University Council, all of whom supported the reappointment.

President of the Supervisory Board Anton Schaaf stated that he has been very impressed with Mr Van der Chijs’s leadership and how he has shaped university development over the last four years. “Victor van der Chijs is ambitious, enterprising, he has a decidedly international orientation and has demonstrated an ability to sense and interpret what the university community wants and needs. So far, Mr Van der Chijs has exceeded our high expectations. We are thrilled to keep him on at this university.”

Lofty ambitions

Under Victor van der Chijs’s leadership, the University of Twente has greatly increased its ambitions. He helped create Vision 2020, the University of Twente’s long term strategy, which he believes calls for an institution-wide culture shift. Victor van der Chijs created broad support for Vision 2020. “The University of Twente needs and intends to be truly different from the 'rest’, for example by developing our campus as an attractive, identifiable and vibrant working and living environment, by being active in niches where others do not operate, and by introducing design as an integrating concept across our disciplines.” Mr Van der Chijs has also been able to turn the spotlight back on the University of Twente as the leading entrepreneurial university. He has spent the past four years continuously interacting with industry, the government and knowledge institutions to generate new research. His efforts led to the opening of Fraunhofer’s first branch in the Netherlands: a project centre on the University of Twente campus. The university also joined forces with internationally renowned Planck Gesellschaft from Germany. Mr Van der Chijs also strengthened ties with large and small businesses, in the region and beyond. The Strategic Business Development (SBD) unit that he launched plays a big part in this. SBD provides more commercial knowledge transfer and has fostered cooperation between the University of Twente and the business community.

DesignLab

Mr Van der Chijs’s vision has also resulted in the opening of the University of Twente DesignLab by Minister Jet Bussemaker in 2014. The DesignLab completely changed the design process and provided a huge boost for multidisciplinary research and, again, cooperation with the business community. The DesignLab enables University of Twente students and researchers to find solutions to social issues faster and more efficiently.

Finally, Mr Van der Chijs also worked outside the University of Twente on enhancing the visibility and profile of higher education, scientific research and innovation. This included an appointment as president of the 4TU Federation, Speaker of the ECIU (the European Consortium of Innovative Universities) and a leading role in appealing to the government to draw up a Technology Agreement to boost and strengthen the country’s profile in technological education, innovation and research.

Looking ahead

Mr Van der Chijs wants the university to stay on the current course and speed up new developments in the next four years. “I will make every effort to enhance the University of Twente’s international profile, by attracting even more international and high-quality students. I plan on demonstrating that the University of Twente is the perfect place to train the global citizens of the future. I will also focus on expanding our reputation as a top entrepreneurial institution, by securing funding from indirect sources and by making absolutely sure that the Campus continues to be a wonderful place to work and study for our students and research scientists. The reorganization of our education and research (UT2020) plays a key role in this. We aspire to seize more opportunities and be more flexible in research activities. We must be seen and heard as an authority with a major impact on society. The University of Twente should be a university that continually surprises and that nobody can ignore! I am looking forward to my new term as president.”