Professor Wolf Ketter aims to maximise business impact of research

Dr Wolf Ketter’s nomination as Professor of Next Generation Information Systems at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) was officially recognised with his inaugural address on 20 June. He stated his mission was to play a role in shaping education at RSM and helping young scholars to achieve, and to maximise the impact of research through encouraging collaborations between academia and industry.

Prof. Ketter’s inaugural address was held at the conclusion of the hugely successful two-day Erasmus Energy Forum. The Forum devoted a day each to the business of future energy and its science, and featured speakers from the top echelons of politics, business and academia.

Prof. Ketter is Scientific Director and a founder of the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business (ECFEB), which is organiser of the annual Erasmus Energy Forum. His chair has been made possible by the endowment fund of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), the Vereniging Trustfonds Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, which promotes by advancing scientific research and education, and by establishing special professorial chairs. Ketter has already received a large number of grants to fund his research into business intelligence, future energy business, and learning agents.

As he welcomed him, rector magnificus of EUR, Professor Huibert Pols said the university was pleased to have someone of Ketter’s level of expertise as a member of its faculty.

Professor Ketter’s ceremonial address, Envisioning Sustainable Smart Markets and Enabling Sustainable Smart Markets was presented to an international audience of members of the public, his family, colleagues and students. It took into account business, society and academic viewpoints in the search for more sustainable ways of living. Ketter described the world as facing pressing challenges – access to water, food, pollution, and a lack of skills. What separates current challenges from those faced in earlier times is the global scale of them. “It’s all about us and the next generations,” he said. He described the role of markets and the possibility of using digital ‘big data’ to address large scale societal problems, disruptive technologies and a fast-paced, information-rich environment, as well as the need for carbon free energy generation.

“We must design markets that take sustainability and future generations into account,” he said. His three research streams are

  • Market and learning agent design
  • Market evaluation using autonomous learning agents
  • Real time decision support using interactive learning agents.

His aim is to maximise the impact of research through encouraging collaborations between academia and industry. “[This]… cannot be solved by one discipline alone,” said the professor, and said he wanted to bring in the right people to work together on grand challenges.

The demands of the energy business are capital-intensive, and it has a ‘long horizon’, but it is being forced to make fast changes that leave politicians and industry leaders looking for answers. He also spoke of the need for a new understanding of the consequences of novel regulatory schemes and policy guidelines in the energy industry, and of his mission with regard to education, ‘to bring research into the classroom’, he said.

“I want to continue to play a role in shaping education at RSM, and more generally helping young scholars to achieve,” he concluded. “This is, after all, why we are at a university.”

Professor Ketter said he had felt humbled by the events during the two-day Erasmus Energy Forum. There had been much talk about energy and technology, “but in reality it’s all about people,” he said as he thanked the Board of EUR and the Erasmus Trustfonds, the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) and Jan Christan Koenders from BMW, who was instrumental in setting up the ECFEB advisory board. Professor Ketter also acknowledged the late Professor Jo van Nunen, an engineer, management consultant, and expert in the field of logistics who, he said, encouraged him to bring his research into the sights of business, and was researching the challenges of sustainability ‘long before I was’.

The full transcript of the address can be found here.

The Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business develops the business foundation for tomorrow’s energy markets. Its research enables the robust, intelligent, efficient, and sustainable energy networks of the future.

The Erasmus Energy Forum

During Erasmus Energy Forum’s Business Day at Rotterdam’s Wereldmuseum and Science Day at EUR, politicians, business leaders and academics called for a common European framework for the energy industry’s successful transition to sustainable sources of energy. Now in its third year, the Forum is drawing attention from organisations at the highest level. The 2014 Forum was very honoured that EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger accepted an invitation to speak directly to its largest-ever audience of around 200 local and international leaders from business and the energy industry, as well as researchers and academics. The commissioner spoke of the important implications for European social and economic policies, and described the Erasmus Energy Forum as an excellent opportunity to discuss advances.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam - a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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