DIFFER ANNUAL REPORT 2020

June 21st 2021

DIFFER is proud to present its Annual Report 2020. Download the report and read the highlights about our people, research, user facilities and events.

Read these interviews online
Director Marco de Baar
Head Solar fuels Anja Bieberle-Hütter
Head Fusion research Egbert Westerhof
Head Finance & Control René Schoonen
Hora est! Rifat Kamarudheen
Hora est! Artur Perek

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Preface by director Marco de Baar

"The year 2020 was a special year for DIFFER. We can now reflect on the drastic measures we had to take in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The rapid developments forced us to close our institute within a fortnight after the first infection cases emerged in the Netherlands. The whole organization had to work from home, with hardly any time to prepare for the transition. Later we had to switch to hybrid forms, with limited attendance of key personnel only. These extreme measures, taxing as they may have been on our staff, have not been reflected in our scientific output. I want to thank our staff for the flexibility they have shown. The resilience of the DIFFER staff in adapting to this situation is truly impressive.

2020 was also the year in which Richard van de Sanden completed his second term as director of the institute. During the 10 years of his leadership, Richard strategically repositioned the institute, initiated a completely new department for a new field of research, and realized the relocation. The institute moved to Eindhoven five years ago, and we have celebrated the first generation of PhD researchers that has fully carried-out and concluded their work at our new institute in Eindhoven.
We are happy that Richard remains connected to DIFFER as group leader, in addition to his directorship of the Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems (EIRES). We celebrated his achievements in an online talkshow in November. I want to thank Richard for all the great work he did for our institute.

The development and operation of world leading research infrastructure is in DIFFER’s DNA. In 2020, we decided to extend our facilities with unique equipment for the precise synthesis and in-situ and operando analysis of active materials for conversion and storage of renewable energy. This entails a major programme, that will take years to complete in close partnership with academia and private companies.

An accident in 2019 in one of our laboratories in December 2019 led to a broad investigation. The outcome was that the right procedures were in place, but that we needed to improve our safety culture. We started working on a more proactive safety culture; a culture in which every single person at DIFFER is actively responsible for safety.

This year, the DIFFER people showed optimism. They showed they care for each other. I am very proud of all of them."