Following last week’s Delft Women in Science expose, Merle de Kreuk, a newly appointed TU Delft assistant professor, talks about networking, gender balance and first jobs.

TU Delft may have instituted the new Dewis Fellowship to make it easier for women to enter academia, but some women are still using the traditional route to get a foot in the door. Merle de Kreuk, a recently appointed assistant professor in sanitary engineering at the faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, is one such woman.

So, what did it take to earn her title? “I was in the right place, at the right moment,” she says. “During a conversation with Professor Jules van Lier during a break between two lectures, I found out about joint interest and possibilities in his group.”
At the time, De Kreuk was content with her then position at Hollandse Delta, a regional water authority, so was not actively searching for a new job. “It was a job advertisement I certainly would have missed,” she notes.
Prior to her position at Hollandse Delta, De Kreuk spent nine years as a researcher in TU Delft’s biotechnology department, where, she says, she ‘earned her credits’. Her experience in biotechnology and water treatment eventually led a formal interview with the university’s vaste loopbaan commissie (permanent position committee). “I had to make a presentation about my views on the organization, education and research,” she says. De Kreuk was appointed to the university on September 1, 2011.

On the whole, TU Delft has a relatively low percentage of female faculty staff compared to other European universities. Dewis (Delft Women in Science) aims to strengthen this small network of women, however, and De Kreuk has been a Dewis member for years, having attended various master classes and events, but she now aims to leave her mark: “I think I can bring some nice experiences from the networking group, WaterWegen, which I joined while at Hollandse Delta.”

Attracting new, female talent has recently become a university-wide issue. The university’s Dewis Fellowship aims to open ten positions for female faculty in 2012 and 2014, and speed up recruitment. De Kreuk however succeeded at TU Delft without this boon. “Somehow, for me, gender hasn’t been such an issue, since I’ve worked in good, balanced places, like biotechnology and now sanitary engineering,” she says, of TU departments where the assistant professor staff is mainly female.
But outside the university she experienced something else: “In my first job, when I worked at a shipyard as an engineer, the company physician filled in paperwork stating that I was employed as an administrator, without asking my occupation.” Such assumptions about her position never occurred at the TU, where she believes a gender-mixed organization will grow. De Kreuk applauds the Dewis Fellowship: “There’s a great awareness that an imbalance has grown, and now a lot of opportunity has been created for female researchers.” 

Dat staat in het wetsvoorstel ‘normering bezoldiging topfunctionarissenpublieke en semipublieke sector’ dat minister Donner van binnenlandse zaken vrijdag naar de Tweede Kamer heeft gestuurd. Hoogleraren vallen niet onder de regeling.

OnkostenVolgens de wet mogen bestuurders bovenop de maximaal 187.340 euro (130 procent van het ministerssalaris) per jaar nog een onkostenvergoeding van 7559 euro ontvangen (de onkostenvergoeding van de minister-president), en maximaal 28.767 euro aan pensioenpremie. Een ontslagvergoeding mag niet meer dan 75 duizend euro bedragen.

Publieke en semipublieke sectorDe maximumbedragen worden jaarlijks vastgesteld door de minister en stijgt mee met het percentage loonsverhoging van rijksambtenaren. De regeling geldt voor de pubieke en semipublieke sector, waar behalve het onderwijs onder meer de publieke omroep en woningcorporaties onder vallen. Voor de zorgsector en de academische ziekenhuizen gaan andere regels gelden.

OpenbaarmakingTot nu toe gold er alleen een openbaarmakingsnorm voor salarissen in de semipublieke sector die boven de 188 duizend euro uitstegen. In 2009 verdienden 55 bestuurders in het hoger onderwijs meer dan 188 duizend euro.