I grew up in the time of the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. Watching the first step on the moon with my father at our small black and white TV. Gazing upon in The Netherlands was the same moon on which American astronauts had just landed.
The path I’ve traveled side by side with so many other people inspired by science and technology has been enormously enlightening and rewarding. But there’s still far to go. The future looms. We will face daunting challenges in coming decades, and to overcome them we will need to summon up a shared ambition and shared commitment.
There all kinds of new possibilities that could save us from impending crises of too little energy, water, medicine, food, trespassing geobiophysical boundaries as we anticipate a global population of more than 9.5 billion by 2050.
Delivering on these exciting scientific and technological possibilities rest in the hands and minds of the next generation. My hope for the future rests with much confidence on the next generation as on the technologies themselves.
I feel privileged and inspired to work with the young people that understand with astonishing clarity the world’s pressing challenges and the passion to help find solutions to them. Working on projects with students from all over the world at the Delft University of Technology, Leiden University, Maastricht University and Wageningen University & Research that bring an incredible range of disciplinary expertise. Bringing people together around a shared ambition amplifies their impact.