MemberBert van der Zwaan

Professor Dr. Bert van der Zwaan (born 1952) is chair of the Board of Trustees of NUFFIC, the Dutch organization for internationalisation in education, and chair of the National  Dutch Research Agenda. Before he was the Rector Magnificus of Utrecht University from 2011 to 2018, and was awarded emeritus status in 2019.

Bert van der Zwaan studied Geology at VU University Amsterdam, gained a PhD from Utrecht University and was appointed professor of Biogeology at Radboud University in Nijmegen in 1991. This was followed by his appointment to the position of full professor of Biogeology at Utrecht University. He became the first scientific director of the national Darwin Center for Biogeology and served later as dean of the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University.

Trained as a paleontologist, his main research interest involved the impact of climate change on the extinction of marine faunas. Already early in his career Bert van der Zwaan initiated many interdisciplinary research programs. Through this work he became interested in the (regional) impact of universities on innovation. He has been lead-PI and first CEO of Climate KIC, one of the first  Knowledge and Innovation Communities of the EU, dealing with adaptation to climate change. He also has been active in many international organizations, has been member of the Board of Directors of LERU and later served as its president of LERU from 2015–2018.

In addition to his present functions Bert van der Zwaan holds ancillary positions, amongst others as member of Quality Evaluation Panel Universities of Singapore, as independent chair moderating the energy transition in the province of Utrecht, and as member of the International Advisory Board of Studyportals.

Bert van der Zwaan has held numerous positions inside and outside of the academia and (co-)authored many research papers, since his rectorate increasingly also papers on Higher Education. He is author of the book “Higher Education in 2040” (2017). In 2018 he was knighted by King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands for his many services to (inter)-national Higher Education.

Bert van der Zwaan is married and has two sons.

He has been a member of Heidelberg University’s Academic Advisory Council since 2020.

Bert van der Zwaan