Newsletter January 2024

Message from the DISC Office

Dear all,

Welcome to the January newsletter.

This is to inform you that we are planning to organise a Summer School mid June. More information will follow shortly.

We have a lot of news from the DISC community. We hope you enjoy the newsletter.

With best regards,

Bayu Jayawardhana
scientific director

Renate Kragtwijk,
DISC secretariat


Message from Bayu Jayawardhana

Long before I joined the University of Groningen in 2008, I have known the DISC organization and many of its members, who have contributed to its outstanding research quality and reputation abroad. This includes Arjan van der Schaft and Henk Nijmeijer, who are two Dutch figures that I had looked upon during my PhD years at Imperial College London.

Right after I came to Groningen, I knew that DISC is an important community for us and it needs us. I volunteered to organize the DISC Winter Course. Soon after, together with Claudio de Persis, we took over the teaching of Nonlinear Control Systems that were taught by Arjan and Henk. It was an honor and a daunting task of replacing the masters themselves. I helped in organizing a DISC Summer School and have been one of the organizers for the past three editions of the Benelux meeting in the Netherlands.

Henk had also taken the helm of DISC from January 2015 until December 2023, succeeding Paul van den Hof. He has maintained the high quality of DISC graduate programs and brought reforms in DISC in light of changes in the Dutch landscape for national graduate schools. DISC has flourished and successfully won the IFAC World Congress bid for 2029; the first time that it is held in the Netherlands, despite many Dutch contributions since its inception. For that, we would like to thank Henk for his contributions and leadership.

As the new director of DISC, I have identified many initiatives, opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Firstly, DISC will and must stay relevant for Dutch society. The Dutch ministry of economic affairs has recently published a national technology strategy document (in Dutch: nationale technologiestrategie document), where systems & control discipline plays a key role in various key technologies. For the upcoming DISC summer school, the impact of the systems & control field in agriculture will be prominent. Secondly, the accelerated development of Artificial Intelligence in many scientific and engineering fronts has asked us to rethink our DISC program. It has surprised many of us and was not anticipated. Everyone has to adapt themselves now to the new situation, including IEEE, which has adapted its publication policy of acknowledging the AI tools in the writing of scientific papers. Thirdly, the DISC community is now dominated by young faculty members, which allows DISC to rejuvenate itself and to readjust the Dutch systems & control field in this new era. The DISC graduate program may be revisited and new areas will be explored in its annual DISC Summer School and DISC Winter Course.

With this first newsletter of the year, I would like to invite you all to be an active member in DISC and let us make DISC as the forum for all to shape the future of systems and control in the Netherlands and internationally.


Course program 2023-2024

The DISC course schedule 2023-2024 is finalised.

All courses will take place in Utrecht at Cursus- en vergadercentrum Domstad.

We offer the following courses in 2024:


Call for proposals Winterschool 2024

DISC organizes a Wintercourse once a year, lectured by an international guest lecturer on a particular topic or research field relevant for systems and control. The course is typically scheduled in the winter trimester and can be organized in one or more university locations.

If you want to organize a DISC Wintercourse, please let us know by February 15, 2024.  Thank you for your input.

NWO Take-off phase 1 grant for Prof. Dr. Raffaella Carloni (RUG)

Raffaella Carloni (Bernoulli Institute, University of Groningen) received a Take-off grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). It concerns a Take-off phase 1 feasibility grant of EUR 40,000 to conduct a feasibility study for her research on an innovative bionic knee prosthesis for people with lower-limb amputation.

Prof. Dr. Raffaella Carloni won the FSE Impact Award 2023

Raffaella Carloni (Bernoulli Institute, University of Groningen) won the Faculty of Science and Engineering Award 2023. She received the Award in the category researchers and obtained a cash prize of 1,500 euros for impact activities. Her research project is about a methodology and technology to mimic the functionality of a healthy human knee in lower-limb prosthetics.


IFAC MICNON 2024 – deadline submitting papers February 25, 2024

DISC and IFAC TC 2.3 are happy to announce that the IFAC Conference on Modeling, Identification and Control of Nonlinear Systems will be held in Eindhoven in 2027.

The organizing team that prepared the official bid for hosting IFAC MICNON 2027 consists of:

IPC Chair and Co-Chair: Luca Zaccarian, Bayu Jayawardhana

Editor: Michele Cucuzzella

NOC Chair and Co-Chairs: Mircea Lazar, Roland Toth, Maarten Schoukens

NOC Industry Co-Chair: Hans Butler

NOC Members: Valentina Breschi, Erik Steur, Sofie Haesaert, Michelle Chong, Sergio Grammatico, Bart Besselink

The organizing team is looking forward to welcome you in Eindhoven, at the High Tech Campus conference center in 2027, September.

Meanwhile please consider submitting papers (current deadline February 25th 2024) to the IFAC MICNON 2024 conference in Lyon:


Benelux Meeting 2024

The Organizing Committee has the pleasure of inviting you to participate in the

43rd Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control

to be held at “Floreal Blankenberge”, Blankenberge, Belgium, on March 26 – 28, 2024.

The aim of this meeting is to promote research activities and cooperation between researchers in systems and control (in a wide sense). It is the forty-third in a series of annual conferences that are held alternately in Belgium and The Netherlands. This edition is jointly organized by KU Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Important Dates


Abstract Submission Opens December 1, 2023
Registration Opens December 18, 2023
Deadline Abstract Submission  January 19, 2024
Notification of Acceptance January 26, 2024
Deadline Final Abstract Submission February 9, 2024
Deadline Early Registration February 9, 2024
Deadline Registration with Accommodation March 1, 2024
Deadline Registration for Only Lunches or One Day March 8, 2024

New people

Delft University of Technology

Name: Federico Berto
Starting date: 01-01-2024
Function: Postdoc
Group: TUD – ME – DCSC
Supervisor: Carlas Smith

Federico completed his PhD in metrology at the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy. His PhD project focused on the development of novel optical setups and laser cooling methods for the fast production of ultracold atoms for atom-ion experiments.
After working for one year at a quantum computation startup in Delft, he now joins Dr Smith’s group to work on IMAGINE!, a project aimed at developing innovative microscopy and molecular manipulation to study cells in their natural complexity and diversity.

Name: Kutay Ugurlu
Starting date: 15-01-2024
Function: PhD
Group: TUD – ME – DCSC
Supervisor: Carlas Smith

I’m Kutay Ugurlu, and I’m thrilled to be joining the TU Delft family for my PhD. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from METU, where my passion for signal and image processing, as well as computational imaging, took root. In Team Carlas Smith, I’ll be delving into developing methods for computing microscopic images beyond the diffraction limit. I can’t wait to collaborate with my new colleagues and contribute to the cutting-edge research happening here at TU Delft.

Name: Mariano Ramírez Montero
Starting date: 15-01-2024
Function: PhD
Group: TUD – ME – CoR
Supervisor: Dr. Cosimo Della Santina.

I’m a new PhD student from Costa Rica and recently graduated from the MSc Robotics here in the TU. I will be working on machine learning for nonlinear dynamical systems as a part of the European EMERGE project, supervised by Dr. Cosimo Della Santina.

In my free time, I like to play video games, read, and swim or run.

Name: Sihao Sun
Starting date: 15-01-2024
Group: TUD – ME – CoR
Supervisor: Dr. Javier Alonso-Mora

Hello, I am Sihao Sun,  a new researcher in the department. Over the next three years, I will be focusing on my VENI project titled “Accurate Control of Aerial Robotic Manipulators Under Uncertainties,” funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

I received my Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from TU Delft in 2020, followed by two postdoctoral positions at the Robotics and Perception Group (RPG) at the University of Zurich / ETH, and at the Robotics and Mechatronics Group (RaM) at the University of Twente. My current research interests include aerial robotics, adaptive control, optimization-based control, and multi-robot systems. I will work closely with Dr. Javier Alonso-Mora, but I am also open to all kinds of collaborations with colleagues across the department, especially those that expand my expertise towards robotic intelligence.

My current hobbies, which change over time, are cooking, video gaming, and babysitting my 1-year-old daughter.


Eindhoven University of Technology

Name: Gianluca Giacomelli
Starting date: 15-01-2024
Function: PhD
Group: TU/e – Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: Dr. Ir. Valentina Breschi
Project: Data-Driven Control of Nonlinear Systems

I am Gianluca Giacomelli, graduated cum Laude in the MSc Automation & Control Engineer of Politecnico di Milano on December 2023, rocker from Italy and lover of sport and challenges. Research challenges are made to be faced and overcome. I love to take challenges because here is where we grow the most, and win them. The curiosity and the bravery of research are the engine of change and humanity’s progress. Without these, there would be no progress and no innovation. In this PhD at the Control System Group of the Eindhoven University of Technology, I will employ all of my talent and hard-working virtues to gain successful results.

Name: Thomas de Jong
Starting Date: 15-1-2024
Function: PhD-TA
Group: TU/e – Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: Mircea Lazar
Project: Fundamentals of artificial intelligence for prediction and control

Hey, I’m Thomas, and I live in Bergen op Zoom. I just started my PhD in the Control Systems department. Before this, I studied Mechanical Engineering and Systems and Control.

When I’m not working on my studies, I like hanging out with friends and playing football and tennis. During vacations, I like traveling and going to the mountains for some skiing.


PhD defences

Candidate: Maarten van den Broek
Group: TUD -ME- DCSC
Thesis: Dynamic wind farm flow control using free-vortex wake models
Promotor: J.W. van Wingerden / B. Sanderse
Date: 26-01-2024
Location: Senaatszaal, AULA

Candidate: Edwin Ross
Group: WUR
Thesis: Monitoring Chlorate through Sensor Data Fusion: A Digital Twin for Electrochlorinators
Promotor: K.J. Keesman, Co-promotors: dr Hans Stigter (WUR) and dr Martijn Wagterveld (Wetsus)
Date: 26-01-2024
Location: Leeuwarden
Time: 13.30

Candidate:  Koorosh Shomalzadeh
Group: RUG – ENTEG – Systems, control and optimization
Thesis: Bilevel optimization in electricity markets
Promotor: Kanat Camlibel and Jacqueline Scherpen
Date: 29-01- 2024
Location: Academy building
Time: 11.00

Candidate: Tinghua Li
Thesis: Motion control for nonholonomic unicycle robots
Promotores: Prof. B. Jayawardhana & Prof. M. Cao
Date: 30-01-2024
Location: Aula Academy Building
Time: 14:30

Candidate: Jasper Verbree
Group: RUG – ENTEG
Thesis: Methods for analyzing routing games. Information design, risk-averseness, and Braess’s paradox
Promotor: Prof. dr. D. Bauso
Date: 05-02-2024
Location: Academy Building
Time: 11:00

Candidate: Stefanny Ramirez Juarez
Group: RUG – ENTEG
Thesis: Dynamic cooperative and non-cooperative games under stochastic uncertainty: optimal strategies, stability and control
Promotor: Prof. D. Bauso
Date: 06-02-2024
Location: Academy Building
Time: 09:00

Candidate: Lizan Kivits
Group: TU/e – EE
Thesis: Modelling and identification of physical linear networks
Promotores : P.M.J. Van den Hof en Prof.dr. S. Weiland
Date: 22-02-2024
Location:Atlas 0.710


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