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Kees Boersma appointed professor

11 October 2021
Kees Boersma has been appointed professor 'Organisational and Technological Innovation and Societal Resilience'. This chair is a collaboration between the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Organisation Sciences and the Faculty of Science, Division of Science, Business & Innovation (SBI).

In a unique partnership, this chair will create a bridge between social sciences and exact sciences. It will generate knowledge into how organisations can effectively mobilize entrepreneurship and innovation to establish organisational and technological innovation and create societal resilience. This chair will be established at the Faculty of Social Sciences. 

Kees Boersma: "I am very proud of this appointment. This chair brings together different research and education topics that I have been working on in recent years." Boersma has a background in technical innovation from his studies and PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology. In recent years he has been working on societal resilience at the Institute for Societal Resilience at VU Amsterdam.   

"With technological innovation, you need a lot of knowledge of the social context and who will be using the technology. In recent years, I have applied this particularly in the field of disaster relief and crisis management, but you see it in many other fields," Boersma explains. "For example, major social issues such as energy transition and climate change."   

A combination of social and exact sciences are therefore an ideal approach for these subjects. Boersma: "These fields need each other to provide answers to today's major social and societal issues. I am looking forward to bridging the gap between the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science in this position."   

Professor Bart Bossink, chairman of the selection committee of this chair and head of the division SBI: “With the appointment of dr. Kees Boersma, the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Social Sciences are continuing the collaboration they entered into since 2007 and which has led to the development of two successful interdisciplinary study programmes: the Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in Science, Business & Innovation and an interdisciplinary research program with the same name. The collaboration focuses on the development of new knowledge and a better understanding of the way in which science-based and technology-driven innovation processes in universities and companies can be organized. Themes that are central are innovations in sustainability, but also for example personalized medicine and smart cities.” 

Bossink: “Kees Boersma is a widely recognized leading expert in this field, with a particular focus on resilience, innovative capabilities and the forward drive of technologically innovative organisations. He is therefore the ideal person for this bridging position that connects the Faculty of Social Sciences, department Organisational Sciences and the Faculty of Science, division Science Business & Innovation, whereby social and technical aspects come together.” 

Professor and Associate Professor Sierk Ybema, Chairman of the Department of Organisation Sciences: "Innovation is complex, because it is both a technical and a social matter and those two worlds do not always understand each other. In his research and teaching, Kees Boersma knows how people organize innovations and how innovation organizes people. He makes the connection between the social and the technical. The cooperation with the SBI section therefore also fits in perfectly with the profile of the Organisation Studies department."  

Boersma will succeed the first holder of this chair, prof. Peter van der Sijde. He will retire in the second half of 2021.