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Volume 4, 2015

Close Harmony

Janneke Hoedemaekers started as new technical commercial director of MESA+ in August 2014. She obtained her degree in Twente and has a strong network in The Hague and Brussels. In the years to come, she aims to intensify industrial connections to MESA+ and to set up large, international collaboration projects.

When meeting her in her NanoLab office, Janneke Hoedemaekers apologizes for her hoarseness. ‘It’s a bummer I have problems with my voice right now, as there are quite a few performances of my choir here in Twente coming up in the next few days.’ Hoedemaekers has had a good first few months at MESA+. She was already familiar with MESA+ from her days studying applied physics and from her time working at NL Agency, when she could be found in Brussels regularly as a representative to the Dutch nanotechnology players sometimes accompanied by Dave Blank.

What will you do so you can surpass your predecessor, Miriam Luizink, or even make us forget about her?

“Miriam was co-founder of MESA+, NanoLab and the High Tech Fund as it is today. It will be my task to continue her work. In European programs MESA+ is doing pretty all right, especially considering the individual research grants that MESA+ researchers receive. In collaboration with our researchers, I would like to draft a joint European strategy and action plan on long-term international collaboration.”

Such a broad, long-term strategy probably involves looking beyond MESA+.

“Yes. And many opportunities for collaboration are already to be found within the University of Twente. For instance, the UT is home to multiple leading groups in humanities and social sciences. Involving them is important, as nanotechnology, ethics and regulation require equal pace, especially at the European level.”

How will you ensure business sector support?

“Businesses can play a role at various stages of research. I want to explore if we can set up broad, international programmes with both large and small enterprises. Within the framework of the European programme Horizon2020, for example. Next, there are roadmaps and fundamental research to consider. An example of MESA+ research in collaboration with industry is BP (see pp. 20 21), but this collaboration involves only one research group.”

All right, so we have broad, international joint programmes with companies. But what’s next?

“I want to raise even more awareness of the High Tech Fund and NanoLab. Companies from the Twente area are pretty familiar with us by now, but the High Tech Fund is available for applicants from anywhere, and the NanoLab facilities are open for foreign users and companies. The

whole world is to know that nanotechnology is a Dutch flagship in Twente.”

And finally. What role do you foresee for yourself?

“I think of myself as a mediator, connecting people and activities. In dialogue with researchers, I try to get the right people work with one another. Success in research requires balance. I sometimes compare it to singing in a choir. A gathering of single clear and good voices alone does not make a harmonious song. People working at a university are all choir members, and excellent performance is only realised through working together, as close harmony.’

Name: Janneke Hoedemaekers (1983)

Position: technical-commercial Director at MESA +

Previously: Previously: Hoedemaekers studied Applied Physics and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society at the UT . In 2011, in San Francisco/ Silicon Valley, she wrote a report on nanotechnology in the United States and in the Netherlands for the benefit of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In 2012 and 2013, working for NL Agency (presently the Netherlands Enterprise Agency), she supported researchers and entrepreneurs in finding European opportunities in the field of nanotechnology, materials and new production technology. She acted as an adviser to the Amsterdam Economic Board. Since August 2014, Hoedemaekers is Technical-Commercial director of MESA + and director of the High Tech Fund, a fund established to help high-tech companies lease and purchase equipment.

MESA +... “Should be less modest.”