DIFFER(ent) Kinds of Energy Re-cap (including NWO’s signing of the Declaration of Amsterdam)


22 November 2021

Every year, the Tech@WorkplacePride programme organises an event from a different city in the Netherlands. This year’s Tech@Workplace Pride online (formerly hybrid) event was streamed from Brainport Eindhoven, on the campus of the Eindhoven University of Technology on the 18th of November.

The guiding theme of this 2021 edition was sustainability and energy transition, and the importance of diversity for this mission. We had talks by leading scientists and industry staff about developments on sustainability and energy, suited for a lay audience, mixed with stories/reflections on diversity. There were both LGBTIQ+ and non-LGBTIQ+ speakers.

To ensure a sustainable energy transition in the coming years, it is necessary for organisations to be more innovative, build better strategies, and make courageous choices. Having employees representing diverse communities helps to better understand the environmental impact of the company’s operations, building more trust among the public, increasing cultural intelligence, and developing better strategies. Diverse companies are more innovative and more likely to outperform homogenous teams.

Leon Ouwerkerk, the LGBTIQ+ coordinator for the Dutch Research Council (NWO in Dutch) opened the event with Bianca Nijhof, Co-Chair of Workplace Pride giving an opening welcome speech.

The first presenter of the day was Richard van de Sanden, group leader and former director of DIFFER (Dutch Institute For Fundamental Energy Research). Richard’s presentation went into the details behind fusion energy and renewable energy-driven chemical conversion. 

To change up the pace, the next presentation was by given Ari Sibiescu and Ave Ottens, two students from Eindhoven University. Their presentation dug into LGBTIQ+ diversity and how it’s unfolded in recent times and how different generations share values that differ as times change around language for example. 

Next, Alfred Nijenhuis, a senior consultant at Arcadis gave an informative presentation on the need for the world and the Netherlands in particular to diversify energy systems that sustain our modern lifestyle and technological needs.

The next presentation came from Annelies Boerman, a lecturer/researcher at Saxion University of Applied Sciences whose presentation delved into Systems Integration.

Camille Burrer, Organizational Change Manager and Chair of Green ASML gave a presentation from ASML’s perspective on environmental sustainability and the impact individual employees can here therein.

Jeff Welser, Vice President, Exploratory Science and University Partnerships for IBM gave a presentation about five ways technology will change our lives within five years.

Finally, to close out a fascinating set of presentations, Margot Weijnen, Member of the Executive Board of the NWO (Dutch Research Council) gave an inspiring speech about the importance of diversity and the NWO’s commitment to LGBTIQ+ workplace inclusion by signing the Declaration of Amsterdam with Bianca Nijhof co-signing. 

To see the videos of the presentations, please subscribe to our Youtube channel to be notified when they’re online.