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Delft University Fund recently launched Fast, a platform to help TU Delft students realise their ambitions by offering financial support. How does that work?
From left to right: Robert Veljacic, Guus Wiersma, Vera Sluijter and Job Knoop. (Photo: FAST)

Delft University Fund recently launched Fast, a platform to help TU Delft students realise their ambitions by offering financial support. How does that work?

Studying abroad, attending a conference or competing in an international competition. Study related experiences that enrich your time at TU Delft, but also cost a lot of money. Luckily there are funds that allow students to take these chances. But applying for funding may be difficult. Luckily the new student committee Fast (Funding Ambitious Students TU Delft) is here to help. We spoke to committee members Vera Sluijter and Guus Wiersma.
 

What is Fast?
Sluijter: “Fast is the student committee of Delft University Fund and it is committed to financially supporting talented students. We award grants to students who, for example, are planning to study abroad, want to present their research at a conference or have a great impactful idea. All these activities are structured in three categories: study & research, competition & conference and ambitious idea.” 

Was there a need for such a fund?
Sluijter: “The fund as such already existed, but it wasn’t well known among students. Before Fast, student grants were awarded only three times a year. Fast takes approximately one month. We took it upon ourselves to give student funding a face and to make the process easier, clearer and, well, faster.”

Hence the name?
Sluijter: “That’s actually a funny story! We started with the Dutch word gast, which can best be translated to ‘dude’. It stood for Grants for Ambitious Students TU Delft. But the thing was, all our communication is in English. So the word gast didn’t quite fit. We then came up with Fast (see video below), Funding Ambitious Students TU Delft which has a more open and international vibe.”

Is there a limit to the funding?
Wiersma: “Well, the money is donated by alumni, which means we are dependent on their goodwill.” 
Sluijter: “That’s why we’ve set a limit of funding per person. For the categories study & research and competition & conference, we offer grants of up to EUR 250 for activities within Europe and up to EUR 500 for non-EEU opportunities. The category ambitious idea might be the stranger in our midst.”

Why is that?
Sluijter: “Because it’s subject to all the approval of all the members of the Executive Grant Committee. They gather three times a year, which means funding takes a bit more time. Besides that, students also have to meet different requirements. The ambitious idea has to be innovative, related to technology at TU Delft and fully student-driven.”

Can you give an example of such an idea?
Sluijter: “Just recently we funded someone who wanted to take his project to the Dutch Design Week. A great opportunity for the student to show his work to the professional community, but also for TU Delft. We’re looking for students who are willing to go the extra mile. Ambitious students that represent our university well.” 

What do recipients have to do in return?
Wiersma: “They need to hand in their final budget and report. We also ask them to share two posts on their personal social media. One of their project and a promotional video of Fast. And because we fiercely believe in paying it forward, we ask recipients to become a student contributor to the University Fund. This means they will donate EUR 5 a year. Just to install a sense of how important it is that these financial means are available, and for them to realise how special it is to be receiving this money.”
 

How busy have you been since the launch?
Wiersma: “Quite busy! We already approved a few applications for funding in the first two weeks. But besides that, we also answered a lot of questions. Every Monday from 12:45-13:30 we hold a drop-in consultation in the main hall of the Aula (next to the reception). We’ve noticed people queuing up, so there’s a lot of interest.
Sluijter: “That was exactly our goal. Even though the Delft University Fund was already awarding grants, students didn’t know that it existed. We want to change that with Fast. And I believe we will. We are students ourselves, we know the struggles first hand and provide honest and tailored information.” 

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  • Fast is Robert Veljacic (Industrial Design Engineering), Job Knoop, Vera Sluijter and Guus Wiersma (all Civil Engineering & Geosciences).  You can contact the team via their websiteemailFacebookInstagram or their weekly drop-in consultation (every Monday from 12:45-13:30 in the main hall of the TU Aula).  

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