OUR NEW PROFESSOR ARRIVED : PROFESSOR ROBERT MALINA.
Affiliated at MIT… Associate Director… German… Yes, we were nervous to meet our new head.
We arranged a 2 day meeting in April 2016. A firm handshake, a big smile, and an openness that gave away a long stay in the US, we had to admit, he made a good first impression. During the rest of those days we got to know each other better: he got to know our research group with all its strengths and opportunities but also weaknesses and threats. We got to know him as an enthusiastic, straightforward and experienced group manager. After this first meeting, we were confident that our group would continue to evolve and grow in a positive and sustainable way.
Now, two months after his official start in August, we already experienced how his presence will direct us the way forward: we have a new meeting room in which we can actually all sit comfortably and he introduced “Flemish Friday” (a complete lunch hour of suffering for the non-native speakers). He is a man with a vision, emphasizing the need to communicate effectively beyond the borders of our field, addressing the challenges that are relevant not only to research but to society as a whole. He is undoubtedly stressing the most important question a researcher can ask him/herself: “Why, why, why does my research matter?” (Heilmeier anyone?).
As for Robert: He has some allergies from the new climatic conditions and from his dusty office (that he has to walk in on the same shoes everyday, as the other ones are still in boxes somewhere), but he is happy to lead us the way forward.
“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely+ daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.” – Nelson Mandela-