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Pieter Swinkels TU Delft awarded the 4TU.SAI Stan Ackermans Medal

Monday, 3 July 2023

Pieter Swinkels TU Delft was presented with the 4TU.SAI Stan Ackermans Medal by Paulien Herder, dean of the faculty of Applied Sciences, during the symposium for Engineering Doctorate (EngD) trainees on 9 June 2023. Pieter Swinkels is managing director of the post-MSc EngD designer programmes in Chemical Product Design and Process and Equipment Design (CPD and PED) at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). He is also TU Delft’s coordinator within the 4TU.SAI (Stan Ackermans Institute) representing all EngD programmes in the Netherlands. There was a double cause for celebration, as the programme also celebrated the 500th EngD graduate.

Pieter Swinkels
Drawing upon his prior 15 years of industrial experience in product and process development and design, Pieter has excellently and happily fulfilled his role as EngD CPD and PED director in Delft for 20 years. He played a pivotal role in the establishment and further development of these programmes, turning them into significant educational and valorisation tools at TU Delft.

Over the past 20 years, he has developed, formalised and taught (bio)chemical product/process design methodologies. Pieter applied these methodologies in MSc and EngD design projects in collaboration with industrial partners and knowledge institutions within his extensive industrial network spanning the entire breadth of the process industry, including energy, food, fuels, health, and specialty chemicals.

This collaboration embodies the "innovation through design" approach that links the university's fundamental research programmes with the implementation of new products and processes in the industry. This approach is also documented in the book Product and Process Design: Driving Innovation published in 2018, which he co-authored with colleagues André de Haan and Jan Harmsen. Pieter's contribution to this book, particularly the core of Chapter 4 "Designing for Innovation", forms the foundation of the EngD programme.

Within TU Delft, Pieter plays a coordinating role for the  EngD programmes at the Chemical Engineering Department and is the driving force behind collaboration and the standardisation of the programmes. His vision of the EngD programme, which emphasises both coursework and project work, is quite attractive to potential trainees. He receives numerous applications every year, allowing him to maintain a high level of participant quality through rigorous selection. Finally, Pieter has a keen eye for quality assurance within and around the EngD programmes.

The Medal
The medal is awarded by the 4TU.Stan Ackermans Institute’s board to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the post-master’s designer programmes at the 4 Technical Universities. The medal is named in honour of Stan Ackermans, the former rector magnificus at Eindhoven Technical University who initiated and promoted the designer programmes from 1988 until his untimely death in 1995.

Traineeships engineering design - EngD programmes 
The design-traineeships of Delft University of Technology train students to translate academic developments in Life Sciences, (Bio)Chemical Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering to real-life applications and industrial products, working to meet the industry’s demand for new technologies. A design-traineeship (EngD position) offers an application-focused alternative to a PhD position and provides you with a solid basis for an accelerated start in an industrial career. The programmes are a joint initiative of and are sponsored by the Dutch Life Sciences and (Bio)Chemical industry and the Dutch government.

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