On Monday afternoon, 8 November 2021, the 108th Dies Natalis of Erasmus University Rotterdam was celebrated. The theme of the festive meeting: Health Technology & Society.
The inspiring afternoon featured contributions from, among others, our new Rector Magnificus Annelien Bredenoord and Jan Kimpen (Chief Medical Officer at Philips). Two honorary doctorates and the FAME Athena Award were also presented. The musical entertainment was provided by the Rotterdam singer Froukje Veenstra.
Ethics and impactful innovations
In her graduation speech, Prof. Bredenoord spoke about her discipline, ethics in biomedical innovation. What can our university do to ensure that health technology has a positive impact on society? Bredenoord stressed the importance for the EUR community to build bridges and actively cooperate with social partners; after all, innovation does not happen in isolation.
Jan Kimpen, Chief Medical Officer at Royal Philips, outlined a business perspective on the theme, with challenges and opportunities - in close cooperation with universities and end-users - to achieve high-impact technological innovations in healthcare for individuals and society. Frans van Houten (EUR alumnus, chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Erasmus Trust Fund, and CEO of Royal Philips) also made a remote contribution to the cooperation between EUR and Philips.
Honorary doctorates and FAME Athena Award
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh (University of Oxford) and Professor Karl Deisseroth (Stanford University) received honorary doctorates from their supervisors at the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management and Erasmus MC respectively.
Professor Greenhalgh was praised by Professor Roland Bal for her talent to involve social science in medical innovations, which are often insufficiently tested against social reality. She is also an example because of her focus on the interests of healthcare employees. Professor Deisseroth was called 'the greatest neuroscientist of this century' by honorary doctoral candidate Professor Chris de Zeeuw. Deisseroth is seen as the founder of optogenetics, a technique that is now used in almost all neuroscience labs in the world, and in the future may help to treat serious brain diseases such as Parkinson's and ALS.
Prof. Hanneke Takkenberg was presented with the FAME Athena Award 2021 during the celebration, for her active promotion of female leadership. Female Academics Moving to Equity (FAME) praised Professor Takkenberg for her numerous efforts and initiatives to combat gender inequality, such as founding VENA (the Erasmus MC network for academic women) and the Diversity & Inclusion Office of the EUR.