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Bart Sander, team leader in the Guarding, Security & Counter-terrorism (BBT) team

As a child, Bart could already be found studying security systems in shops. He’s now working for both the police and TNO as an adviser who helps protect society from wide-ranging security risks.

Guarding, Security & Counter-terrorism

‘Together with my colleagues of the Networked Organisations (NO) expertise group, one of my areas of focus is improving the networks vital to the physical safety of our society. Think of the police, the Netherlands’ military police (Royal Netherlands Marechaussee), municipalities, intelligence and safety services, and ministries. I came to work here as a consultant in 2019. Since then, I’ve also become a work package leader in one of NO’s four work fields, Guarding, Security & Counter-terrorism (BBT).’


‘I’ve always felt interested to contribute to a safe and secure society. As such, I’m constantly looking for ways to increase my impact. At the same time I started my bachelor’s degree in criminology, I also started training to become a part-time police officer. So in addition to working for TNO, I’m also a trained police officer.

Whenever I spot something suspicious occurring in a public space, such as an act of violence or theft, I intervene. I recently arrested someone in the act of stealing a laptop in a shop, for example. Combined with my role at TNO, this work gives me a unique perspective on society and the workplace, which helps me to connect the world of research and practice.’

What does society need?

‘Making an impact comes first in my work. Things should never end with a report or advice; we want our work to be of practical use to the client. We guide our employees in the department on this. When, for example, we’re creating a threat analysis for an airport, we combine our own expertise with that of our colleagues specialised in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. This helps us to offer a comprehensive advice.

And this is only a small part of the knowledge we have available to us. This is what truly makes TNO unique. Of course, our clients profit from this. Within the Guarding, Security & Counter-terrorism (BBT) team, we link the knowledge of TNO colleagues regarding explosives, image analysis, and simulation to the specific needs of the security domain, in which we are the experts.

As a result, innovations are better able to land with our clients. These organisations have a lot of responsibilities and face many challenges. TNO’s challenge is to ensure they are able to proactively move forward with the results of our research.’

Team leader

‘At TNO, you are given ample freedom to decide what you want to do. There’s always space for new initiatives, and an entrepreneurial mindset is appreciated. Partly because of this, but mostly thanks to the trust my colleagues had in me, I was able to become a team leader relatively quickly. Working together with highly experienced colleagues, in this role I am part of a robust team focused on the implementation of innovations and the wider sharing of successful projects.

Everything starts with having the right people, who enjoy their work, on the projects. At present, I’ve been doing this role for nine months and am constantly growing in my role with the support of the colleagues who founded the team.’


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