Paul van Gerven
27 May

NWO has appointed Marco de Baar director of fundamental energy research institute Differ. He’ll succeed Richard van de Sanden, who’s going to lead the soon-to-be-founded Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES), in which Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) will consolidate its sustainable energy research activities. Van de Sanden will continue to work at Differ as group leader Solar Fuels.

Differ’s new director Marco de Baar. Credit: Bart van Overbeeke

Marco de Baar knows Differ extremely well. Since 2007, he’s been active in the institute as a group leader and since 2014 as theme leader Fusion Energy and a member of the management team. He’ll mainly focus on the positioning of Differ in national and international energy research. De Baar: “Differ has an incredible amount to offer in terms of research and research infrastructure. The challenge is to strengthen our national role in the highly diverse landscape of energy research.”

De Baar studied experimental physics at Utrecht University and obtained his doctorate in 1999 from TUE for his thesis entitled “Electron transport barriers in tokamak plasmas.” From 2004-2007, he led the operational section of Europe’s largest nuclear fusion experiment Jet, where he was responsible for the operation and development of the reactor.

Besides his position at Differ, De Baar is a professor in the Control Systems Technology group of TUE’s Mechanical Engineering department. As the theme leader at Differ, he was the Dutch representative in Eurofusion, the European consortium for the development of nuclear fusion by operating the Iter reactor and preparing for the demonstration reactor Demo.