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On TNO Insights you can read in-depth interviews and articles. Get inspired by TNO’s innovations!
Nina Beschoor Plug is a junior innovator in the Electronic Defence department of TNO. Through her research, she contributes to ways in which the country can arm itself against electronic threats. She currently works one day a week at TNO while completing her Master’s programme. She already has her next challenge in sight: doing her PhD at TNO.
“At Electronic Defence, we’re working on everything on the electromagnetic spectrum – especially its use and abuse thereof. Among other things, we look at electromagnetic signatures, such as those from a frigate of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Are these signatures detectable or not? Besides that, many of my colleagues are working on electronic warfare, a theme which is attracting increasing attention. At the moment our department determines the risks that will arise with 5G.
I’m quite unique here because I’m still studying! After my internship at TNO, I’ve continued to work here for one day a week. I don’t have a big role yet: I work on measurements and do theoretical research. In the meantime, I’m completing my Master’s degree in Microelectronics at TU Delft.”
“I didn’t have an affinity for technology from an early age. But I loved mathematics and visited the TU Delft to take a look at what they had to offer. Up to that point, I didn’t even know that Electrical Engineering was a separate degree! I started the Bachelor’s programme and it turned out to be a great success. The curriculum continues to adapt with what’s going on in the world, which is what makes the degree so interesting. The themes of my Master’s programme are also constantly changing in line with developments. Everything which is now changing at the university is also changing at TNO. This is hardly surprising, as TU Delft and TNO work very closely together.
It was a logical choice for me to go work at TNO. There are plenty of career opportunities when studying Electrical Engineering, but I’ve always been fascinated by defence and aerospace. TNO has some very cool and exciting projects in this area of which I heard positive stories during my bachelor. The work is also very topical: your results are applied immediately. That also puts on the pressure.”
“During my internship, I worked on the optimization of antennas. How can you use impedance, the type of control network and other parameters to determine the optimal matching network for the best possible power transfer? After my internship, I was asked if I wanted to stay – a big compliment that I accepted with great pleasure. This is really a great department that even our partners view as world-leading.
But I did want to finish my Master’s degree first. TNO supports this: the more knowledge you gain, the better. Initially, I continued with the subject of my internship. When that was done, it became part of a larger project. It’s really cool that the product from my internship is still being used! Since then, I’ve worked on several other projects.”
“What strikes me about TNO is that everyone likes to help out with your problem. There’s a huge drive to know as much as possible and to become as good as possible – and that's highly contagious. There’s a very free atmosphere. The working hours are flexible: it’s more important that you finish your work on time so that others can build on it.
If you’re just starting out at TNO, you’ll get good guidance. You always have a mentor, but you can actually knock on anyone’s door. In addition, TNO offers lectures and courses for you to develop yourself. This could be on a technical level, but also broader – for example, an explanation of the exact way in which the army is organised.”
“My day is going well when I’ve solved a big problem or finished something. This is not just satisfying for myself; it’s also nice that I’ve produced something that others can continue to use. I already know what I’m going to do after my Master’s degree: I would absolutely love to do my PhD at TNO. I would then work full-time at TNO with supervision from TU Delft. Both TNO and the university are highly enthusiastic about this. We are currently discussing possible topics. Will this be in the same department? I think so, because I really feel at home here.”