UTFacultiesTNWNewsDr Sissi de Beer is the new programme director of Applied Physics

Dr Sissi de Beer is the new programme director of Applied Physics

As of 1 April 2022, Sissi de Beer will be the new Programme Director for Applied Physics. ‘The appointment as a programme director is a great opportunity to develop myself further whilst doing the things that I enjoy most: education and research.’

After obtaining her Bachelor's degree in Applied Physics in Eindhoven in 2003, Sissi came to Twente to pursue her Master’s degree. In 2011, she obtained her doctorate in the chair group of Physics of Complex Fluids. After postdoc positions in Jülich and Toronto, among other places, Sissi returned to Twente. ‘The connection with UT has always remained. During my postdoc in Jülich, I was involved in simulations. I wanted to test these simulations in the lab, and for that, I came back to Enschede regularly.’ Her returning to UT completely in 2016 was, therefore, no surprise.

‘I started as an assistant professor in the Materials Science and Technology of Polymers group in 2016, and I also started teaching within the programmes of Applied Physics (TN/AP) and Chemical Science & Technology (CSE). Whereas at AP my role was mainly supporting others, at CSE I had the space to set up my own courses.’ Therefore, since 2018 her focus was mainly on teaching at CSE. Sissi has been an associate professor in Functional Polymer Surfaces within the chair group of Sustainable Polymer Chemistry in the Department of Molecules and Materials since February 2022. From now on, she will also be the programme director of Applied Physics.

We are thrilled with Sissi’s appointment as the new programme director of TN/AP. While the committee relished in the opportunity to bring her back to applied physics, the faculty values her interdisciplinarity and her perspectives coming from chemistry. Her strong commitment in combining education and research resonates with the Faculty’s ambitions to aim for an optimal balance in all academic aspects.

The Faculty Board of S&T

Educating talent

‘I find fulfilling the position of programme director at AP incredibly exciting. It is a position in which I can develop myself further while doing the things I enjoy most: education and research. What I like most about education is that we use our own subjects to train students to be talented. We see students come in at a young age and develop into talented adults, ready to take the next step. When I see students like Leon Smook, who published no less than three papers during his master's graduation research, and Rens Horst and Rick Cohen, who won the Holland Chemistry Student Award, I can only feel extremely proud.’

Last year, Applied Physics became a top-rated study programme for the tenth time in a row. And if it is up to Sissi, it will stay that way. ‘The upcoming period will be all about getting to know each other: students, teachers and colleagues. Where do they see opportunities to improve the programme even more?’ Sissi herself sees opportunities externally. ‘You often see students from Delft in the news, for example, while our students also deserve that attention. How can we get our students on a bigger stage? I also see opportunities to investigate the extent to which sustainability is a theme within the study programme and how we can integrate it more so that the new generation of AP graduates can also contribute to finding solutions for societal challenges in the area of sustainability.’

ReCoVR consortium

The new challenge of being a programme director certainly will not mean the end of Sissi's research career. ‘I feel responsible for the master students and PhD candidates whose work I am currently supervising. Of course, I will continue to be their supervisor. In addition, the ReCoVR consortium was launched recently: a large consortium in which about thirty parties participate (4TUs and companies). As the programme manager of this consortium, I have been busy preparing things for years, and in 2021, we received an allocation of 5 million euros for the next six years within the Perspective programme of the Dutch Research Council. Earlier this year, the first PhD candidate started working on this project. I will continue to lead this wonderful project with great pleasure and passion.’

Sissi de Beer has been appointed for five years for 0.6 FTE. Sissi is the successor of Stefan Kooij, who started his work as the vice dean of Education at the Faculty of S&T on 1 January 2022.