Marina van Damme grant now accepting applications

New female graduates often choose to take the beaten path instead of the road less traveled in order to avoid risk, especially in a field that is typically dominated by males. However, a TU Delft alumna has been helping Delft women expand their professional horizons.


The Marina van Damme grant, named for the grant’s creator and administered by the Universiteitsfonds Delft, will again award €9,000 to one female, TU Delft alumna this year. The grant will help her undertake an experience of her own choice. That said, the undertaking must be outside of her Delft specialization and culminate in a certificate, diploma, or degree. Complete applications,which consist of a motivation letter, proposal with an implementation scheme and budget breakdown and curriculum vitae are due May 6, 2013. 

The aim of the grant is to encourage the winner to step out of her area of specialization and, even better, by going abroad. If you have spent the last six years studying and working on, say, the materials science of ceramics in the Netherlands, but in your first job you find out that it would help your career to be able to create classical ceramic art in Italy, this may be an opportunity for you.

Ir. Susanne van Engelen, a former Marina van Damme grant recipient and one if its current jury members, decided to cross over into another field after finishing her MSc in industrial design engineering in Delft. Always having wanted to develop prostheses and surgical instruments, she felt she did not get the necessary background for it in her industrial design program.

After completing an MSc in human movement science at the VU Amsterdamwith the funds, she stayed there to do a PhD in lumbar biomechanics. She defends her dissertation this springand credits the Marina van Damme grant with her success in moving from industrial design to the more interdisciplinary field of biomechanics. “It [was] really worth it,” she says.

Another past winner, Ir. Zamorah Getrouw, used her grant to complement her Delft architecture degree with a real estate certificate. Yet another recipient, Ir. Jenny de Boer, plans to study social sciences to complement her background in product design but will continue working in industry for an interim period before using the funds.

Last year, applications were sparse, so the grant organizers are promoting the program this year with gusto. Van Engelen says, “I would encourage all the ladies to think what they want to do. You have dreams, write down those dreams, and make a good plan.”

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