"We know what society needs, both now and in the future"

Medior research scientist Kallol Das likes to look ahead. What will the world look like in ten or fifteen years’ time, when intelligent wireless networks are in seamless contact with people and environments?

"Self-driving cars, wireless robots in factories, doctors performing surgical procedures remotely: these still sounds like science-fiction but it’s really going to happen. In the Networks research group, we’re developing the wireless networks of the future together with our partners at home and abroad. These technologies have to be not only robust and secure but also able to react faster than a human can think. Thanks to advances in AI, machine learning technology and computing power, we are well on our way to achieving these challenging goals."

Societal impact

"At TNO, we focus on today’s challenges as well as do a lot of research for the world of tomorrow. This is different from the academic world in which research does not usually revolve around practical applicability. It’s also different from industry, which is much more guided by product portfolios and the day-to-day reality. TNO builds a bridge between these two worlds by giving scientists the opportunity to work on issues that matter. Through our work in public-private partnerships with our academic and industrial partners, we know what society needs both now and in the future."

Innovation that matters

"During my PhD and postdoc at the University of Twente, I dealt with fundamental research questions regarding the challenges of tomorrow. There was always the question in the background of whether my findings would actually work in practice and what role they would play in the life of the end user. This is much more in focus at TNO. Here, I work on projects that vary from research with a low technology readiness level (resulting in patents) to contract research for clients. This is always with the ambition not only to make technology a little better but to really innovate with impact for people and society."

Diversity

"My projects almost always have an international and multidisciplinary character. Because I’ve lived and studied in various countries, I’m convinced that you’re more creative and innovative within a diverse team. I’m keen to be challenged and like to look at things from different perspectives because I think that this is essential to excellent research. In the Networks research group, I get every opportunity for this alongside talented and friendly colleagues from five continents, which is less the case TNO-wide. TNO is an appealing and interesting employer for talented people from all over the world, but it is not always easy to attract these people. I became a member of the International Diversity Group of TNO because I want to contribute to this. I look forward to TNO becoming a true home base for talent with an inclusive working environment."

The future

"TNO has a wide variety of projects – you can go in any direction. In some projects, I’m more of an advisor than a scientist; sometimes, I take part in standardisation meetings in which strategic decisions are taken. In this way, you naturally discover which role suits you best. TNO has an open culture in which you can show what you have to offer and grow in the direction you have in mind. For the time being, I would like to work on content. Who knows what the future will bring?”

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