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Research profile

Nico Baken is a part-time professor in the Electro-Optical Communication group of the Electrical Engineering department at Eindhoven University of Technology. A visionary in the long-term employ of Royal KPN, Baken has been an important formative figure defining the structure and development of the internet in the Netherlands.   

Baken has almost 40 years of experience in fiber optics research. He was responsible for the design and execution of important strategic master plans, such as Fiber in the Local Loop, which were the basis for the automated production of blueprints for fiber-optic networks in all major cities in the Netherlands. Baken was also instrumental in the introduction of the Asynchronous Transfer Methodology, a predecessor of IP. He is the inventor of concepts such as the PC plumber, transsectoral innovation, Liquid Bandwidth, Streetlight, Smart Living, digital building genes and Value Cases. Baken is interested in many aspects to do with digital infrastructure and development and many more topics besides. He has been a speaker for TED, was a co-organizer of TEDxAmsterdam, has written over 50 international papers and patents and has won several awards for his work.  

Academic background

Nico Baken holds a cum laude MSc in Mathematics (1981) from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). In 1982, Baken joined the PTT (now Royal KPN) Research Neher Laboratories, researching fiber optics. This work led to the completion of a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). In 1991, Baken started working at PTT Telecom Network Services. Since then, Baken has been a leading figure in many of the strategic and engineering projects that have defined the internet in the Netherlands. While continuing his strategic work at KPN, Baken has worked as Professor in Telecommunications at TU Delft since 2001. He was also appointed professor at three departments at TU/e in 2017.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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