Women in Photonics in NL workshop

wednesday Oct 28th, 2015

It is increasingly recognized that diversity is critical for knowledge and innovation, both in industry and academia. Photonics is one of the key emerging technologies that can become the technology of the 21st century. Women represent far less than 10% of the workforce in photonics in most countries in Northern Europe, including the Netherlands. This figure drops even lower when looking at leadership positions.

PhotonicsNL, in collaboration with the Optical Sciences group, University of Twente, the IEEE Photonics Society Benelux Chapter, the FOM and the Female Faculty Network Twente (FFNT) and the MESA+ institute, University of Twente organize, for the first time, this "Women in Photonics in NL" workshop. The main objectives of the workshop are to provide role models to young female physicists and engineers that are starting to work in the field, increase awareness on the gender gap and to provide the opportunity for female scientists to increase their professional network.

The workshop counts with several scientific presentations delivered by successful women at different stages of their academic and industrial careers. A panel discussion will follow, in which the panelists will share their career experiences and in which important topics such as how to attract and retain female talent in photonics, mind bugs and life-work balance will be discussed. A networking lunch and end-of-the-day borrel will give ample opportunity to meet new colleagues and increase the professional network.


wednesday oct. 28th, 2015

10:30Registration with coffee.
10:55Opening words
 Sonia Garcia Blanco, workshop chair
 Janneke Hoedemaekers, commercial director MESA+
11:00Session one
11:00Prof. Jennifer Herek, University of Twente
11:30Dr. Silvania Pereira, TU Delft
11:50Dr. Patty Stabile, TU Eindhoven
12:10Dr. Nienke Bosschaart, University of Twente
12:30Networking lunch
13:30Session two
13:30Dr. Inge Peters, Teledyne Dalsa
13:50Floor van de Pavert, M.Sc., entrepeneur
14:10Dr. ir. Merel Leistikow, Philips Research
14:30Coffee break
15:00Panel discussion
Moderator: Esther Mollema, MBA
16:30-17:30Networking borrel

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion will be hosted by Esther Mollema, founder and director of Direction Europe BV. She is a sought after public speaker. With her enthusiasm about diversity, inclusion, and female leadership, Esther has acquainted many men and women with ways to increase and foster diversity, and female leadership.

Why are there so few women in leadership positions in our field? Do women lack the ambition? Is the glass ceiling holding them back? Are men blocking women’s way to the top? In a vivid discussion we will zoom in on the role that women play, and the underrepresentation of them in leadership positions, within the field of photonic science. Main topics during the panel discussion are:

  • How is ‘success’ formulated and perceived in our field?
  • What determines whether your work is high-quality?
  • What determines whether you are perceived as successful in our field?
  • What determines whether you get promoted or not?

  • What causes the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in our field?
  • Do women lack the ambition to be leaders?
  • What obstacles do women in particular encounter in our field that prevents them from reaching the top?
  • Do women and men deal with the work-life balance differently? How does it affect them?


  • Dr. Nienke Bosschaart, TT Assistant Prof., U Twente
  • Dr. Ronald Dekker, CTO of Xio Photonics
  • Prof. Jennifer Herek, full prof, U Twente
  • Dr. ir. Merel Leistikow, senior scientist, Philips Research
  • Dr. Floor de Pavert, High Tech Entrepreneur
  • Dr. Silvania Pereira, Associate Prof, TU Delft
  • Dr. Inge Peters, Program Manager Research, Teledyne Dalsa
  • Dr. Patty Stabile, Assistant Prof., TU Eindhoven

  • the University building "De Ravelijn", location of the conference lectures


    Located between the towns of Enschede and Hengelo, the University of Twente is situated on a beautiful former estate "Driene". "Twente" is a middle sized university with a strong emphasis on technology.

    Enschede can be reached within 2 hours by train from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It lies at the border with Germany, in the region of Twente, which is famous for its landscape, friendly people, and of course the Grolsch beer. The town has a many shops, theaters, museums, galleries, restaurants, pubs and sunny terraced cafes all within walking distance from the train station.


    University of Twente
    Drienerlolaan 5
    7522 NB Enschede

    "Ravelijn", lecture hall 1501
    building 10 on the campus map
    cars can be parked at P2


    Travel information

    by car:
    From the A1 motorway, take the A35 motorway in the direction of Enschede
    Take exit 26: Enschede - West / Universiteit
    Follow the signs ‘Universiteit’

    by public transport:
    plan your route at journeyplanner.9292.nl

    directions in google maps
    University Twente campus map


    Registration is free of charge, please email ostnw@utwente.nl with:

  • your name
  • job position
  • company/institute
  • phone number

  • Free daycare facilities are offered by the Kinderopvang Smallsteps De Vlinder. If you would like to use the service, please, send an email to ostnw@utwente.nl before the 21st of October.