Laenen will join the IoP directorate as extra member next to the heads of the three underlying institutes, with Prof. Daniel Bonn remaining head of the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, Prof. Jan de Boer head of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, and current IoP director Prof. Paul de Jong as head of the Institute for High Energy Physics.
Laenen joined the University of Amsterdam in December 2006 as full professor of theoretical physics with a focus on quantum field theory and the phenomenology of elementary particles. He had been appointed as professor at Utrecht University since 2001, where he still holds a part time appointment for one day per week. As a senior scientist at Nikhef, he headed the Nikhef Theory Group over a 13-year period until 2018. Laenen has been associated to CERN in various roles, most recently as scientific delegate to the CERN Council for the Netherlands and since early this year as Vice President of that Council.