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Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen new Secretary of 4TU

Monday, 1 March 2021

With effect from 1 March 2021, Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen is the new Secretary of 4TU, the federation in which the four universities of technology in the Netherlands have joined forces. She succeeds IJsbrand Haagsma (University of Twente) who held the position for eight years.

Louise O. Fresco, Chair of 4TU, is very pleased with the appointment of Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen. She explains: ‘With Marjolein's experience as managing director of the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering and her ability to unite people, her appointment as Secretary will enable us to intensify collaboration both within 4TU and with external partners, and to communicate the importance of technology even further.’

Dohmen-Janssen's tasks include developing strategy, maintaining external relationships and coordinating 4TU activities in research, teaching and valorisation (4TU.IMPACT). 

“You can only solve the social challenges that we face today with the best combination of people.”
Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen

The brand-new Secretary is looking forward to her introductory meetings and plans to set plenty of time aside for these. ‘I feel it is important as Secretary to have a good knowledge of who does what, so that I can quickly connect the right people and organisations’ says Marjolein.

As former managing director of the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering she knows how important it is to join forces. ‘We are a small country, so we shouldn’t try to do everything separately. And this approach also works well towards the government and the business community. They appreciate having a single point of contact rather than having to approach each university of technology individually.’

She is looking forward to the substantive aspects of her new position. ‘Nano, photonics, as yet I know very little about these. I am very curious about the most important developments there, what is happening right now.’

Marjolein thinks the position of Secretary is an interesting one. ‘Switching between being invisible and visible. Pushing a chair or professor to the front when necessary, and stepping forwards yourself when required to do so by the world outside, and being the face of 4TU.’

Her ambition is to be even more visible in Brussels as 4TU, to be able to take part in the talks on the research agenda and to know what is going on in similar alliances such as the Nordic Five Tech and TU9 - German Universities of Technology.

She sees plenty of potential in the area of communication, such as open-source sharing of teaching materials that have been developed. 4TU.RE is already doing this in the field of urban resilience, and the Centre for Engineering Education shares teaching expertise via an innovation map. ‘This fits seamlessly with the ideal of lifelong learning and this coronavirus period in which online knowledge sharing is becoming more and more the norm.’

Marjolein feels the added value of a federation like 4TU lies in its contribution to current social challenges. ‘You can only solve the challenges that we face today with the best combination of people. This has really taken off in the High Tech for a Sustainable Future research programme, in which talented young scientists are working on such social challenges as agro-food, healthcare and the resilience of systems. Seeing these kinds of networks being built, and creating the conditions for them to grow further is something that really motivates me and I am keen to contribute to!’

Marjolein Dohmen-Janssen is a civil engineer. She studied at Delft University of Technology and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (London). She obtained her PhD at Delft on the behaviour of sediments due to waves and currents at the coast, which enables us to predict coastal erosion.

She started as a researcher at the University of Twente (UT), and progressed to the post of Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor. She discovered the teaching aspect in her position as programme director of Civil Engineering, also at UT. From September 2017 to 1 March 2021 she combined the role of Vice-Dean of Education in the Faculty of Engineering Technology at UT with the position of managing director of the 4TU Centre for Resilience Engineering.