Reyer GerlaghProfessor of Environment and Economics and Vice-Dean Research
‘I want to keep TiSEM’s strong research profile and I want to develop research that crosses borders between fields and disciplines, departments, and schools’
Apart from being Vice-Dean for Research, you are also Professor of Economics. What is your field of research?
My field of research: Climate policy and economic growth. It addresses questions as these: can the EU’s economy afford to take drastic measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (the Green Deal, and Fit for 55), and are unilateral (EU) measures effective (as we see that other world regions are slow to follow)? I also have various studies on the peculiarities of the EU emission trading system.
What are your spearheads in your term of office as Vice-Dean? What in particular do you want to work towards realizing?
There are a few research management topics that have my interest. First I want to emphasize I do not only want to change things: I want to keep TiSEM’s strong research profile. Jointly with the other MT members I hope to develop a working environment where we, as a TiSEM team of professionals, value teaching, research, and admin tasks as contributing to our common goals. Our environment should be supportive to teach insights from state-of-the-art research, and to disseminate our research to both students and lay people. A challenge is to develop research that crosses borders between fields and disciplines, departments, and schools. Another challenge is to help and reward researchers finding external funding for research, but also protect researchers who need first-money-streams for their topics. To provide opportunities and budget for the best researchers, yet also make clear that education is also a primary process and our main source of funding.
What is your main motivation?
My main motivation is that I am grateful for the opportunities Tilburg University offered me. I’m so glad to be in this school with very good colleagues who teach me when I attend seminars and who help out when I need support for e.g. teaching. I am happy I can return the favor by contributing to the internal organization.
Who is your role model?
I don’t do role models. There are famous people that impress me, from Feynman, to Mandela and Merkel, but then these are so far beyond my capacities that I’m not sure whether thinking in terms of role models is useful to me.
Is there anything else you would like to say, any questions you would like to ask your colleagues, anything you would like to urge them to do?
Urge the reader to do? Universities in the Netherlands are budget constrained, and Tilburg is no exception. We have seen decades of decreasing money per student, which means more students per faculty member, and that means tough working conditions. We have kept our aim to excel in research, which increases the work pressure. In that context, it is easy to become frustrated with suboptimal working conditions, and I sometimes see that this frustration is directed to ‘management above’, which can be department, or school, or university management. I want to ask my colleagues to become involved. Try it yourself to be chair of a committee, head of an educational program, head of department, dean of the school. Become part of the solution.