A first of many for the Graduate School

On October 1, Rodrigo Valladares Linares became the first doctoral candidate to obtain a PhD from the Graduate School of TU Delft. While most candidates of the first batch that started their PhDs under the university’s new Graduate School programme will only start defending their work around September 2015, Linares made it to the finish line so soon thanks to his unique circumstances.

While working in Saudi Arabia, Linares came in contact with a professor from TU Delft who encouraged him to take his research further. Starting in 2012, he completed work on his research and took enough courses to complete the credits he needed within the school. Despite the work load, he is all praises for the Graduate School.

“I really enjoyed the programme, especially taking different courses and meeting different people, because it helped me learn about areas of research outside my subject as well,” he said. To him, the courses that focussed on life skills were of great value as they helped one prepare for the real world.

Despite being the first candidate to go through the Graduate School, Linares didn’t face any major complications. “There were some moments when people weren’t sure what the next step was because it hadn’t been done before, but everyone was helpful and responsive.”

His defence ceremony was special for him and for the Graduate School. Not only were representatives of the Graduate School present at the ceremony, the Rector Magnificus of the university, Professor Karel Luyben, presented Linares with his degree. “Rodrigo is definitely special for the Graduate School. Not just because of the joint nature of his PhD but also because he did so well. He adjusted so quickly into the new system. He didn’t ask for an extension and even managed a number of publications,” said Maddy Lansbergen, the Doctoral Education Programme Manager. “He sets a really high bar for the Graduate School,” she adds.

For now, Linares is wrapping up some work at the university before he has to head back to Saudi Arabia to finish an official contract. “After that I would really like to be back here for some time,” he said. 

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