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Inspirational speakers

Get your day off to an inspiring start by listening to one of our uplifting keynote speakers over breakfast. All fired up, you can then get started on the morning session of your course for the day.

Below you can find the keynote speakers for CuriousU 2021

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald

Dr. Barry Fitzgerald is a physicist, speaker, author, speaker trainer, and science communicator. Barry has extensive experience in the field of science communication and scientific outreach. He has given numerous talks at schools, universities, science festivals, and companies, and has spoken all around the world. For instance, in June 2019 he spoke at TEDxBerlin about "Being a Responsible Researcher". In December 2020, he launched his YouTube channel - The Superhero Scientist - where he shares videos on the science and engineering of superheroes, Star Wars, and other topics. He has seen the 2012 film The Avengers more than 80 times and his superpower will remain a closely guarded secret.

Check out his website!

Tuesday, August 3: How to Build a Superhero

Peter Joosten

Peter Joosten MSc. is a biohacker and future thinker. He investigates the impact of biohacking, human enhancement and transhumanism in his keynotes, articles and YouTube channel. He is a TEDx speaker and consultant at various companies and institutions. Peter gave talks at events like Biohacker Summit Stockholm (Sweden), University College London (United Kingdom) and more.

He is the curator of the platform Superhuman Talks where he writes and interviews experts about the coming era of upgraded humans. Peter is a guest lecturer at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven and the Hogeschool Utrecht. He wrote two (Dutch) books: Biohacking (2018) and Supermens (2020).

Peter was interviewed for a variety of international media outlets, for example The Biohacking Secrets Show podcast (United States), Breaking it down (United States), VC Earth (China), (Sweden), Decoding Superhuman (United States), How to live to 200 (United States) and The Bio Alchemy podcast (Australia). 

Wednesday, August 4: Our Cyborg Future

“Terminator, Alita and Ghost in the Shell. In science fiction the cyborg is a main character in many stories and films about the future.

Where did the term cyborg originate from? Are we becoming cyborgs in the future, merging with computers and machines? Or are we already cyborgs with our smartphones and connectedness with the internet? In his energetic talk Peter Joosten shares ideas from philosophers and creatives about our cyborg future!”

Dr. Rebecca Saive
Assistant Professor

Dr. Rebecca Saive investigates strategies to enhance the performance of solar panels and to use solar cells in nanotechnology applications. Rebecca was a finalist of the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2020, was awarded MIT’s European ‘Innovators under 35’ in 2019, and MIT’s global ‘Innovators Under 35’ in 2020 (a list that in previous years has boasted such names as Mark Zuckerberg) for the invention and commercialization of “effectively transparent contacts” which make solar panels more efficient and less expensive. She co-founded ETC Solar, a company which develops a micro 3D printing tool capable of printing micron metallic contact structures on large scale.

Thursday, August 5: Solar Energy

dr. ir. Edwin Dertien
Creative Roboticist, educator, performer, maker and tinkerer

Researcher, teacher, artist, musician, healthcare entrepreneur, and Jack-of-all-trades on robotics. Dr Edwin Dertien is all of these things. This versatility is reflected in his research and teaching at the University of Twente. "I’m a maker at heart."

Check out his very interesting website here.

Since 2006 his company 'Kunst- en Techniekwerk' (making art work) has been providing the technical backbone in art-projects, ranging from robot-arms for sci-fi movies to autonomous GPS track drawing robots, big moving sculptures, installations for festivals and expositions, android robots and animatronics.

Dertien graduated from the University of Twente in 2005 with an MSc in Mechatronics and obtained a PhD on the design of a pipe inspection robot in 2014. Since 2008 Edwin has been employed at the University of Twente as a researcher/teacher for the Creative Technology programme, developing and teaching courses in programming, physical computing, sensor technology, tinkering and explorative design. 

He also co-founded the ASSortiMENS foundation (in 2013), running a FabLab inspired workshop tailored to people with autism, including a children's FabLab project (het kinderfablab). 

Edwin has also been a participant at MediaMatic's award winning RFID hacker camps (2008,2009), regular contributor to the GogBot festival and other tech-fests, speaker at TEDx Amsterdam (2012), TEDx Zwolle (2013). Initiator and co-organizer of MakerFaire Twente (2013) and participated in 2021 as one of the inventors in the Dutch TV-show 'We gaan het maken' (format broadcasted in UK as 'the Big Life Fix). 

Friday, August 6: How to be an inventor

Daniël Poolen
Sustainability Researcher

Daniël Poolen is a sustainability researcher for energy transition and circular economy at RaboResearch.

He focuses on developments in the area of the green EU taxonomy, energy transition and circular economy with a special interest in plastics.

Daniël has a background in sustainability engineering and journalism.
He has worked on the topic of plastic pollution with (inter)national environmental organizations. Before Rabobank, he worked for two years at the Royal Dutch Society of Engineers where he managed projects on various topics concerning sustainability and circular economy. He was a presenter and journalist for several Dutch television programs on sustainability at the Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting (NPO).

Daniël studied Industrial Design Engineering with a focus on Sustainable Technologies for Product Development at the University of Twente.

Friday, August 13: To be announced.

Nancy Beers
Founder Happy Game Changers

From her home-base of the stage, Nancy draws people into her seriously playful philosophies and empowering views on teamwork, creativity, emotions, and work-life balance. 

 If this sounds dry, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. 

 Humor, laughter, movement and energy are the hooks with which she charms and engages her audiences. Using her intrinsic energy and people power, Nancy deploys the power of games to show (not tell) her audiences why play and playfulness are an absolutely essential tool in changing the world, one game at a time.

 It is no surprise that Nancy was once called a ‘unicorn’ by a conference organizer. Her events have a dash of the magical to them, in the way they foster engagement and connection and encourage creativity, divergent thinking and growth in the audience. 

“I am here to change the world one game at a time.”

Have a look at her website:

Monday, August 9: Serious Play D. Fernandez Rivas
Associate Professor

David is the Winner of the 2021 Prince Friso Engineering Award (the best engineer in the Netherlands). He enjoys scientific research and ensuring its deployment into society on three topics: cavitation, renewable energy, and process intensification through microfluidics. Besides teaching and performing academic activities, he is a strong promotor of valorization and commercialization. He has controlled and utilized cavitation, or the appearance and collapse of bubbles with acoustics, electrochemistry, and microfluidics, for industrial applications such as water remediation, and materials modification.

Getting your corona vaccine without the need for needles, that will not happen yet. Still, David Fernandez Rivas is working hard on injection technology ( that does not make use of needles anymore. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s  Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 851630). 

"My ultimate goal is to become an independent scientist, leading motivated professionals into exciting research at the interface of physics and biomedicine."

Have a look at his website:

Tuesday, August 10: How can you get an injection without a needle?

dr. K.P. Truong (Khiet)
Associate Professor

How people talk and understand each other has always fascinated dr. Khiet Truong. The big question for her is how to develop technology that understands spoken language: how can we make automatic speech recognition more intelligent? Besides what is said, there is also a lot of information in how something is said: aspects of physical, emotional, and mental states resonate in the voice, both consciously and unconsciously. Khiet is particularly interested in the automatic interpretation of this implicit information, with the aim of, for example, enabling conversational agents (such as Siri) to respond more appropriately to children or older adults, or to develop apps that offer remote support to people suffering from depression.

After studying Linguistics (specialisation Language and Speech Technology) in Utrecht, dr. Khiet Truong ended up at TNO where she investigated automatic emotion recognition in speech. Then she went to the University of Twente, Human Media Interaction where she is still working on the automatic analysis of nonverbal aspects in speech communication (e.g. laughing, backchanneling) in human-human, and human-machine interaction. Besides doing research she also teaches speech processing, affective computing, and interaction technology.

"The ultimate goal is to have a normal conversation with a machine. As if talking to a human being”

Thursday, August 12: Human Media Interaction

Rik Stamhuis

Rik Stamhuis is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Jiro-Ve.
 a social enterprise that, through a network of franchisees, rents out rechargeable solar lights to the people in Madagascar, with the aim of eradicating expensive and dangerous candles and kerosene lights. To date over 75.000 people have benefitted from this service and more than 150 new jobs were created covering 11 different areas in Madagascar.

It was after having worked in East-Africa for two years that Rik realized that despite the fact that a lot of great solar products had been developed for the BOP, many remained inaccessible to this group due to; limited purchasing power, insufficient training or products not being available at the right time. It was for this reason that Rik co-founded Jiro-Ve with an inclusive franchise business model aiming to eliminate all those barriers.

The efforts of Jiro-Ve have been internationally recognized by Bid network, EY, SOCAP,  GSBI and more recently Jiro-Ve became part of the Start-up Energy Transition top 100 and won the Solar impulse label for its new smart powerbank charger.
Most importantly though Jiro-Ve has created a positive impact on some of the financially least fortunate providing evidence of what can be achieved but also serving as a humble reminder of what is yet to be done.

Friday, August 13: Malagasy for: Do you want light? We got light!