The Board

The Chairman and other members of the Board are formally appointed by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), at the nomination of the sitting members of the Board.

Gerdi Verbeet  – chair (b. 1951) was president of the House of Representatives from 2006 to 2012. She now uses her experience in national politics to the benefit of other organisations. From 2001 she was a political adviser, and from 2001 to 2006 a member of the House of Representatives, where she was concerned mainly with sport, policy on the elderly, and the state pension. Gerdi Verbeet was deputy chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and the committee for policy on the elderly. In 2006 she was elected president of the House of Representatives, as only the second woman to hold this office. Besides her role in the House of Representatives (for two terms, 2006-2012) Gerdi Verbeet also took on a range of new roles, some of them board positions, including the chairmanship of the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Patient and Consumer Federation and chairmanship of the Board of the Rathenau Institute. She is also chair of the Supervisory Board of charity lottery organisation Novamedia and a non-executive director at Siemens. On 1 June 2015 she became chair of the National 4 and 5 May Committee, which organises the national remembrance of the war dead and the commemoration of liberation day.

Professor Emile Aarts (b. 1955) is rector of Tilburg University. From 2012 to June 2015 Aarts was Professor of Computer Science and Deputy Dean at TU/Eindhoven. He was also director of TU/Eindhoven’s Intelligent Lighting Institute. Aarts studied physics, and worked for Philips Research for 30 years including, in the final few years, as chief scientific officer. From 1991-2012 he was a part-time professor at TU/e, from 1991 to 2007 at the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science and from 2007 to 2012 at the Faculty of Industrial Design. He is a member of numerous scientific government advisory bodies, in both the Netherlands and in Europe. Since 2014 he has been a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.

Professor Wiebe Bijker (b. 1951) is Professor of Technology and Society at Maastricht University and a part-time professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. He is also a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands, and chair of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development. Bijker studied physics and philosophy. He was president of the Society for Social Studies of Science, and director and chair of the Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC). Bijker was also a member of the Board of the Society for the History of Technology, and he helped establish the Society, Science and Technology (ESST) European Master’s programme, as well as the Research Master’s in Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST).

Professor Roshan Cools (b. 1975) was appointed Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry t the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Since 2007 she has been a senior researcher at Radboud University’s Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. Cools studied experimental psychology and neuropsychology in Groningen and completed a Master’s in experimental psychology at the University of Cambridge, where she was awarded a doctorate in 2003. Before returning to the Netherlands Cools worked as a post-doctorate researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. She received a Vici award from NWO in 2015. Cools has been a member of the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation since 2014.

Dr. Hans Dröge (b. 1956) worked at Unilever Nederland until December 2013. He currently advises organisations and companies (including start-ups) on technology, innovation and sustainability. Dröge is also a member of the Supervisory Board of the Brabant Development Agency. After graduating with a degree in pharmacy Dröge took a job at Unilever Research Laboratory, held various supply chain positions, then returned to R&D in 2009. He was responsible for the global R&D infrastructure and for operationalising the company’s current R&D strategy. Dröge was also responsible for Unilever’s relations with politicians, the government and the business world in the Netherlands.

Edwin van Huis (b. 1958) has been director of Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden since 2011. Prior to that he was director of the XPEX agency, which he also founded; the agency develops experiential concepts for profit and non-profit organisations. From 1996 to 2008 Van Huis was managing director of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, and commercial director of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Van Huis is a biologist and a specialist in business administration.

Professor Rianne Letschert (b. 1976) is Rector Magnificus of Maastricht University. She was previously director of the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT) and professor of victimology and international law at the University of Tilburg (UvT). Professor Letschert is a member of the KNAW’s Young Academy. In 2005 she was awarded a PhD for her controversial thesis ‘The impact of minority rights mechanisms’, in which she concluded that international bodies are unable to do enough for national minorities.

Professor Peter-Paul Verbeek (b. 1970) is professor of the philosophy of humans and technology and co-director of the DesignLab at the University of Twente, where he is also vice-dean of the Behavioural Management and Social Sciences Faculty. He is a member of the Dutch Council for the Humanities and the Commission for Ethics and Health. From 2011 to 2013 he was chair of the Young Academy (part of KNAW), and from 2013 to 2015 he was president of the Society for Philosophy and Technology. His research focuses on relationships between humans, technology and society. He has written a number of popular books, including ‘What Things Do’, ‘Moralizing Technology’ and ‘De grens van de mens’.

Professor Marijk van der Wende (b. 1960) is a guest researcher at Harvard University in the United States, working on a project on higher education in China in the age of globalisation. From 2009 to 2015 she was Dean of Amsterdam University College (University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Van der Wende was appointed Dean of Graduate Studies by the Board of Utrecht University on 1 September 2015. Van der Wende has extensive experience of educational innovation.

Dr. Melanie Peters – secretary (1965) was appointed director of the Rathenau Institute on 1 February 2015. Dr. Peters has a broad background in science, industry and the public sector, combined with ample experience of national and international politics and social relations. She studied food technology at Wageningen University, and became a certified toxicologist at Imperial College, London, where she was also awarded a PhD in biochemistry. Dr. Peters worked as a scientific researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, and led a research team at Shell Research and Technology Centre Amsterdam. She has held various positions combining science, policy, politics and social issues at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Dutch Consumer Association, and as director of Utrecht University’s Studium Generale scientific discussion platform.

If you have any questions for (or about) the Board, please email Diana Trimpert (executive secretary)