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22 September 2020

This year, SEFI awarded the Fellowship to one extraordinary member, Martin Echtells Vigild, SEFI President between 2015 and 2017, former Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs at Technical University of Denmark, and currently, chief advisor to the Danish Government at the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

SEFI Fellowship:

The SEFI Fellowship Award recognises meritorious service to engineering education in Europe. Award recipients may use the expression “Fellow of SEFI” (F.SEFI) as a postscript to their name. The nominees are individual members of SEFI who have worked in the field of engineering education for at least five years.

Martin Echtells Vigild

Martin Vigild has since March 2020 worked as a chief advisor to the Danish Government at the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. He began his academic career in 1998 as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA. In 2000, he was recruited to DTU – the Technical University of Denmark – where he worked for 19 years. He became a full professor in 2008 and served as Senior Vice President and Dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs for the last 10 years of his time at DTU. He was especially interested in continuously reforming engineering education to serve the needs of society and industry, and to give engineering students the best possible start to their professional careers in industry or academia. At DTU, he was devoted to develop the aesthetic, mental and physical dimensions of the study environment – for the benefit of both students and their teachers.

Martin did his graduate research at the Risoe National Laboratory and defended his Ph.D. thesis in 1997 at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He graduated in 1993 with a M.Sc. degree in Engineering from DTU.

Martin’s research has spiraled around structural-property relationship of polymeric systems and he has applied techniques ranging from anionic living polymerisation, transmission and scanning electron microscopy to neutron and x-ray scattering and reflectivity. As a university professor, he has developed new courses and new learning material at both undergraduate and graduate level engineering education. His h-index is 22 based on more than 50 articles in polymer science and education related topics. He holds two patents and has written one text book.

Martin is a member of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences and served as a member of the International Council for the CDIO Initiative for a number of years. He is a past president of SEFI. Martin now works pro-bono for a variety of organizations and mentors young people with finding career paths. He is the chairman of the board of governors for TeachFirst Denmark and an assessor for NOKUT – the Norwegian National Body for Quality in Higher Education. He carries the Knight’s Class Cross of the Order of Dannebrog.

Martin lives in the Frederiksberg municipality in Copenhagen with his wife and their little white dog. Two sons, a daughter in-law and a lovely little granddaughter live nearby.

Fellowship Award Ceremony

The ceremony took place as a part of the SEFI 2020 Annual Conference that was organised by TU4 and Saxion under the leadership of Twente University. Representing the SEFI Board of Directors, President Yolande Berbers awarded the title of SEFI Fellow with a moving laudatio speech. In his acceptance speech Martin Vigild, as a tireless visionary he is, called for action towards student mental health and well-being.

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