Monday, 16 November 2015

Thursday 12th November (Day 3): Delft

Warning: this blogpost was written by a STEM person, expect some geeking out...

Day three and the intercity train was only 20 minutes - we are now in Delft, known for its historic town centre with canals, Delft Blue pottery, the Delft University of Technology, painter Johannes Vermeer and scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek.

It is of course the university we are here for...

The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), is the largest and oldest Dutch public technical university established in 1842 as a Royal Academy to train civil servants for the Dutch East Indies. The school rapidly expanded its research and education activity, becoming first a Polytechnic School in 1864, Institute of Technology in 1905, gaining full university rights, and finally changing its name to Delft University of Technology in 1986. TU Delft boasts connections with Dutch Nobel laureates Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and Simon van der Meer.

This was a whole day visit. We started with a number of meetings with staff who worked in the areas of the themes of the tour. After an excellent lunch we started to move around the campus and its facilities, including an absolutely fabulous library building.

Librarian AUA members - wish you were here!

After that we visited the 'D:Dream' building where student teams in their own time build cars, boats, robots and enter them in competitions. They do very well and had lots of impressive machines to show us...

The students get some support and a building from the university but have to raise most of the money from external sponsors. As I was a massive geek I loved it. The other tour members were also impressed.

We then went for a meeting with a member of the senior management team. Afterwards we had the pleasure of visiting TU Delft's startup hub: a purpĆ¼ose built building to encourage commercialisation, both for current students, but especially for their alumni.

We came into contact with a lot of students today. All were a credit to the university.

As before, here are the three most interesting findings of the day...
  • Dutch universities have in play significant programmes to promote start ups and student entreprenurship
  • The professional tier of their HE system (Hogschul/Universities of Applied Technology) engages in signficant industrial placement activities.
  • Internationalisation though concentrated in masters programmes is picking up pace with some impressive recent recruitment growth.

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