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Dave Blank appointed as Chief Scientific Ambassador

The Executive Board has appointed Professor Dave Blank as Chief Scientific Ambassador as of 1 September, 2015. With this appointment the Board follows the University of Twente’s strategic choices to gain a strong global reputation as a top-ranked university and to attract exceptional talent.  

As a leading scientist, Professor Dave Blank will represent the University of Twente while he focuses on strengthening the academic reputation and the scientific vision of the university on national and international levels. His task is also to interest international top talent for a scientific career or for attending a study programme at the university. Blank will advise the Executive Board on these topics. As chairman of the Fundraising Committee Blank will lead the UT fundraising campaigns, to further expand the financial foundation of UT research. The Executive Board considers it appropriate for Blank’s position as Chief Scientific Ambassador to appoint him as University Professor as of 1 September, 2015.  

Professor Dave Blank will continue his Board positions i.a. in ‘Topteam High Tech Systems and Materials,’ ‘The Advisory council for science, technology and innovation (AWTI),’  and NanoNextNL.

Victor van der Chijs on the appointment of Blank: “Under the direction of Dave Blank MESA+ has expanded to a world-leading research institute in nanotechnology, one of the focus areas of the UT. As Chief Scientific Ambassador we regard Dave Blank as the driving force  to gain a strong global reputation as a top-ranked university. Our international ambitions are high. Our goal is to attract more international talented staff and students and to establish strategic collaborations with international knowledge institutes and the industry. We are convinced that a top scientist as Dave Blank will increase the appeal of the UT for international talent.”   

Dave Blank on his appointment: “The past 9 years have been magnificent years for me as a Scientific Director of MESA+. I’m proud to be able to strengthen the scientific reputation of the whole University of Twente in the position of Chief Scientific Ambassador. To fulfill this challenge fits me well.” 

The tasks and responsibilities of Blank as Scientific Director of MESA+ will be succeeded by Professor Guus Rijnders and Professor Jeroen Cornelissen. As of 1 September, 2015 the Management Team of MESA+ consists of Rijnders, Cornelissen and Technical Commercial Director Janneke Hoedemaekers.


The research at MESA+ is excellent. The MESA+ staff exhibit outstanding quality and the researchers are world-leading in optics, fluidics, new materials and micro- and nano-electronics. The institute is very successful in collaboration with the industry. The number of spin-off companies originating at MESA+ is above average (50), thanks partly to the university’s strategy geared towards expanding entrepreneurship to instil an entrepreneurial attitude among staff. Due to multidisciplinary research and collaboration, an excellent infrastructure and entrepreneurship, MESA+ became one of the world-leading research institutes in nano- and microtechnology. Dave Blank’s expertise and dedication alongside the excellent results of the scientific staff of MESA+ led to the opening of the MESA+ NanoLab on the University of Twente five years ago.

Dave H.A. Blank was born in 1953 in Amsterdam. After his masters in Applied Physics, he received in 1991 his PhD in Physics from the University of Twente for his dissertation on High-Tc thin films prepared by laser ablation: an experimental study. In 1992 he became assistant professor. After a research fellowship at Stanford he was appointed as associate professor and programme director on the materials science of interfaces in the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente. Since October 2002 he is full professor in Inorganic Materials Science at the same university. As of 1 January, 2007 he is the Scientific Director of MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente. MESA+ host over 500 scientists with an annual budget over 50 MEuro.

Professor Blank received several scientific laureates. In 2002 he was awarded with the VICI laureate of the Dutch Science Foundation for his work on artificial materials for nanoscale devices. In 2010 Blank received the Royal decoration Knighthood of the Order of the Dutch Lion.  He was awarded in 2011 by STW to become Simon Stevin Meester 2011, for his achievements in technical sciences. He received the “Ten Hag” performance award 2012 for his activities for East Netherlands. In 2014 he was, together with professor Guus Rijnders, granted with the FOM Valorisation Award.

Besides all this, Blank is member of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences, Gothenburg. He is member (Captain of Science) of TopTeam “High Tech Systems and Materials” appointed by the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands. He is member of AcTI, Dutch Academy of Technology and Innovation and he is a member Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (AWTI) that advises the Dutch government and parliament on policy in the areas of scientific research, technological development and innovation. From 2010 he is chairman of NanoNextNl.

Find here more information about Dave Blank.       

drs. B.G. Lankhaar (Bertyl)
Spokesperson Executive Board (EB) (Available Mon-Fri)