Student levert 18 euro per maand in

Ook studenten voelen de crisis in hun portemonnee, meldt het Nibud. Een student met basisbeurs en bijbaan zal dit jaar ongeveer achttien euro minder per maand kunnen uitgeven.

Stijgende prijzen, belastingmaatregelen en hogere verzekeringspremies zorgen ervoor dat Nederlanders dit jaar minder te besteden hebben dan in 2011, zegt het Nibud, instituut voor budgetvoorlichting. Voor honderd soorten huishoudens, van tweeverdieners zonder kinderen tot alleenstaande bijstandsmoeders, heeft het Nibud berekend hoeveel ze erop achteruitgaan.

Ook de student met basisbeurs en een bijbaan van vijfduizend euro per jaar staat ertussen. Die verliest 2,4 procent aan koopkracht, oftewel 18 euro per maand. Dat is 216 euro per jaar. Ter vergelijking: de basisbeurs voor uitwonenden is maar vijftig euro hoger dan dat, namelijk 266 euro per maand.

Masterstudenten die in september hun basisbeurs verliezen, gaan er veel sterker in koopkracht op achteruit, maar naar zulke veranderingen heeft het Nibud niet gekeken.

Today Plamen Manoilov (55) soldiers on as best he can as an assistant professor at Ruse University (RU), in Ruse, Bulgaria, a city situated on the banks of the Danube river. Until recently, he worked in RU’s department of communication technique and technologies, but since January 2011, following internal strife within his previous department, he has moved to the department of informatics.
Back in 2005, Manoilov spent half a year as a Socrates exchange student in Delft, where he worked at the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science in a group, headed by Professor Leon Rothkrantz, which focused on Human Machine Interaction. At TU Delft Manoilov was particularly involved in research related to a Brain-Computing Interface project.

After leaving TU Delft in 2005, where did you go?
“I went back to my previous position of assistant professor, which could only be changed to associate professor after having a PhD diploma. As I was a PhD student at that time, in 2005, the most important thing for me was to first finish my PhD thesis. Following Professor Rothkrantz’s advice I continued my research on a Brain-Computing Interface and finished my PhD work in 2008.”

What have been the high or low points of your professional career since leaving TU Delft?
“After I’d received my PhD, the head of my department and the dean did their best to stop my career. And they did this very successfully: in comparison with my colleagues, who presented their PhD works after me, some of them are already associate professors while I’m still an assistant professor. Moreover, there were two books that I wrote – as co-author with colleagues – that were stopped from being
published, and there was one project that I applied for that they rejected, even breaking the normal procedure to do so. Every new academic term they’d schedule me to teach students different subjects – this way I’d lose my time in having to prepare for these new subjects. Last year I started some court cases against them. As a result, I had to change my department and faculty. These were the bad things.”

And the good things?
“Well, in 2009 I won a project from the internal fund for scientific research. The topic was about modeling DSP devices by VHDL. VHDL is a language for programming programmable hardware logic. I was invited to give a presentation of what I’d done on this project at an EU-sponsored meeting in Bucharest, which was attended by people from Ireland, Germany, France, Holland and Romania. There, some Romanian colleagues made me a proposal to take part in an international project from the Cross Border Cooperation program. I agreed.”

And this was successful?
“Yes, in December of last year that international project I wrote with the Romanian colleagues won and will be funded. The project itself is for 1 million euros. There are five partners in it. I’m a coordinator for Ruse University. Our part is funded for approximately 49,000 euros. I’m proud, because this is the first international project I’ve won.”

How did your experience at TU Delft in 2005 help you in your career back in Bulgaria?
“At TU Delft I saw many useful things that I tried to apply in my work. The most important thing I saw there were hard working people – both researchers and students. I think I too worked hard at TU Delft. This helped me most after returning to Bulgaria.”

Over the past five years, have you ever thought about returning to TU Delft to work again? Or have you worked someplace else outside of Bulgaria since?
“I didn’t try to work in another country outside Bulgaria, because I was busy finishing my PhD thesis. About TU Delft, I think I wasn’t invited back because of lack of funds.”

Is the reality for a country like Bulgaria in terms of technological education simply to serve as a source of brain drain for richer western countries, where Bulgaria’s best and brightest young students must go to develop to their full potential?
“Yes, it’s very sad but true. Looking to my own professional experience, I understand these young Bulgarians.”

In the interview with you published in Delta back in 2005, you were very positive about the Netherlands and TU Delft. Do you still feel that way?
“I will forever respect the Dutch people. About TU Delft I’m still very positive. I respect people that do their work professionally. I can say this for all the people that I worked with at TU Delft – starting with Professor Rothkrantz, colleagues, system administrators, the secretary….”

If you had to sum up your feelings about your post-TU Delft professional career in one word, what would it be?
“Fighting. Fighting against the ‘dark forces’.”

The interview with Plamen Manoilov published in Delta in 2005 can be read online at: delta.tudelft.nl/14540

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