[Column] Ode to the Dream Teams

TU Delft should celebrate winning Dream Teams, says student columnist Bas Rooijakkers. “The teams help to put Delft on the world map as the place for innovation.”

Bas Rooijakkers: “Until a new Cabinet takes office, I’m holding my breath.” (Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

I still remember visiting TU Delft as a secondary school pupil. Just like many others, I was debating where I would study: TU Delft or TU Eindhoven. In the end, I opted for the entrepreneurial and innovative TU Delft instead of the casual TU Eindhoven.

Another reason that I chose TU Delft was the Dream Teams. The open day was the first time I saw them at work in the Dream Hall. I had seen them once on TV, but now saw them for real! The students were working on their solar car, hydrogen racing car or rocket. It was unimaginable for me as a young pupil that students at TU Delft would be building such impressive things. It made me start dreaming that I too could be part of a team like that, or that I could start my own team and create something amazing. There are Dream Teams at other technical universities in the Netherlands, but I had the feeling that TU Delft had the best ones.

My dream turned into reality and I became part of a Dream Team (AeroDelft, red.). Only then did I realise the amount of work involved. The team needed millions of euros which it had to raise itself, the engineers underwent a year’s training to work with highly complicated equipment and the strongest materials. And there is the management team that oversees the whole project. The Dream Teams do this all themselves.

‘The team itself celebrates and then the members simply continue their studies’

It was great to be part of the solar team, but what I missed was appreciation from TU Delft. The Dream Teams are very significant for TU Delft: they inspire young people to study technical subjects and attract them to TU Delft. They put TU Delft on the map as the number one place in the world for innovation.

I know that TU Delft already helps the Dream Teams. It has made the Dream Hall and the equipment available for the teams to create their dream machines. And it often sponsors a substantial part of the project. That is all wonderful. It’s just that I miss a ceremony if a Dream Team earns a place on the stage or if their project is a world first.

To give an example, when the Hyperloop or the Solar Team earn a place on the stage, you see them featured and praised on TV. Ingenious TU Delft is shown in a positive light on national TV. But at TU Delft itself there is no ceremony to celebrate the team creating a world first. The team itself celebrates and then the members simply continue with their studies.

At the time of writing this column, the Vattenfall Solar Team is testing the Nuna 11 in Morocco and will race other universities there at the end of October. Should they win, it would be great if a big party is thrown for them when they return. After all, we can party again now.

Bas Rooijakkers is a master’s student in Applied Physics. He was born in Brabant and spent part of his youth on Curaçao. He enjoys jogging and since the corona pandemic has also picked up cycling. He is also always in for a coffee or a craft beer.

Bas Rooijakkers / Columnist

Columnist Bas Rooijakkers

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