The entrance to the TU Delft auditorium.
Frans Timmermans will receive the honorary doctorate during the Dies celebration on Friday 14 January in the auditorium. (Photo: Dalia Madi)

European Commissioner Frans Timmermans deserves an honorary doctorate from TU Delft, argues the Student Council, though the petition against it was not such a bad thing.

Lees in het Nederlands

The time has finally arrived. We can blow out 180 candles on 14 January to applaud the 36th lustrum of TU Delft. To celebrate, TU Delft will devote 180 days to the theme of the energy transition and the Student Council is overjoyed to support this.

As a student, it is great to see how committed TU Delft is to todays society and our everyday challenges. The title given to our strategic framework (2018-2024) was Impact for a better society, and to this day TU Delft has lived up to this title.

With its lustrum theme of Speeding up the Energy Transition, TU Delft is once again demonstrating that it is aware of its social responsibility and role, and as an educational institute it is setting a precedent for an entirely new generation of engineers. Looking away is no longer an option, taking action is.

‘Timmermans has put the climate problem on the European agenda’

Fortunately, this mindset is increasingly being given a platform, which is exactly what TU Delft is doing by awarding an honorary social doctorate to Frans Timmermans. This is not because his ideas have provided solutions to global warming, but because his enthusiasm has stimulated others to think. It is therefore essential that we engineers follow up on this.

Let us follow his example, as befits science, by approaching the climate problem from different angles, conducting research and discussing it with one other for a better, greener tomorrow. Frans Timmermans has put it on the agenda. We engineers can work on the substance.

Perhaps the petition against Frans Timmermans honorary doctorate was not such a bad thing. This is not because we are against him receiving the honour – we believe he well deserves it with his pioneering contributions to the climate debate – but because it has sparked several discussions and insights on issues like nuclear energy, biomass and wind turbines. There is probably no single issue that will in itself combat global warming, but by putting the problem on the agenda and discussing it, we are putting the cards on the table. It is now time to see how this will be progressed in 180 days.

This article was written on behalf of the Student Council by Chairman Maarten de Nooijer.

The Dies on 14 January 2022 will be celebrated without a live audience, due to corona, and can be followed online. More information can be found on the lustrum website.