After a successful start of a joint Bachelor's programme in Mechanical Engineering in 2019, the University of Twente and VU Amsterdam are expanding their cooperation in education, research and valorisation. The universities are building on an existing, unique form of cooperation based on social commitment and a comprehensive approach. A special feature of this cooperation is the integrated approach of alpha, beta and gamma sciences, combined with technology, to work on socially complicated problems, such as climate change or social inequality.
The new academic year 2021-2022 will offer a joint Master's specialisation Sport Data Science in Twente, which can also be followed in Amsterdam a year later. Furthermore, in addition to Mechanical Engineering, other technical Bachelor programmes will be offered in Amsterdam. Starting with Creative Technology and Industrial Engineering and Management, three research coalitions will also be offered and the possibility of developing joint activities in Life Long Learning will be explored.
Both universities have the ambition to serve society in the best possible way. Society is facing increasingly complex challenges. The UT and VU Amsterdam aim to let these social issues guide the development of their education and research programmes. In doing so, the two universities will train the right talent and develop relevant educational programmes and research projects. The focus is on current issues, such as climate change or social inequality, requiring a multidisciplinary and integrated approach based on the alpha, beta and gamma sciences.
Focusing on talent through joint educational programmes
By offering other technical Bachelor's programmes in Amsterdam in addition to Mechanical Engineering, such as Creative Technology and Industrial Engineering and Management, the UT and VU Amsterdam aim to attract more students to engineering in the Amsterdam area. The expansion of the curriculum fits in with the ambition to respond to the labour market's need for highly educated technical people who are aware of their contribution to society.
To meet the need for more academic technicians in the shorter term, efforts are also being made to ensure a good fit between VU Amsterdam’s Bachelor's programmes and the technical Master's programmes at the UT, possibly by means of bridging programmes. As mentioned above, a Sports Data Science Master's specialisation will start at the University of Twente in 2021, which will also be available at VU University of Amsterdam a year later. The Master's specialisation will become part of the Master's in Computer Science. This unique specialisation offers students insight into the ways in which human sports performance and activities, and human movement in general, can be improved through the use of data. Sports Data Science combines the technical expertise in sensors and systems as well as expertise in data science with knowledge from the Faculty of Behavioural and Physical Sciences at VU Amsterdam.
By expanding their cooperation, the UT and VU Amsterdam also aim to contribute to the new challenges of higher education. For example, by exploring the possibility of offering joint activities in the field of Life Long Learning starting 2023.
Three joint research areas on relevant issues
The research areas that have been chosen tie in with the social challenges in the Netherlands; they are part of the national innovation policy and fit the expertise within the UT and VU Amsterdam. The research projects focus on creating a safe, sustainable, resilient and smart society, under the headings:
- Creating Secure Societies (crisis management, polarisation, resilience)
- Creating Responsible Societies (circular economy, net-zero, climate adaption)
- Creating Smart Societies (a smart, digital society)
Positive impact for the regions
Joining forces also gives a boost to both regional ecosystems. Connecting the northern Randstad with the high-tech ecosystem in eastern Netherlands increases the chance of building new mutual relationships, making better use of knowledge, stimulating entrepreneurship and jointly developing innovative solutions for regional, national and global challenges.
The development of a tech campus in Amsterdam will improve the geographical spread of academic technological education in the Netherlands, lowering the threshold for secondary school students from the region to opt for technical education. The connection with Amsterdam also offers opportunities to interest prospective students from the northern Randstad region in a Master's programme in the high-tech ecosystem in eastern Netherlands.
An additional advantage for both universities and their ecosystem is that most of the research infrastructure is complementary. Investing in the shared use of this infrastructure will increase the accessibility of state-of-the-art facilities in both regions.
A close cooperation between both organisations and their ecosystems, also based on synergy, makes both regions stronger. It creates more impact, helps to tap new funds and develop more interesting and larger projects. Investing together in new activities in the aforementioned areas creates economies of scale.
The next steps
Both institutions have great ambitions. These ambitions will be implemented in a focused and phased manner over the next few years, partly to limit the workload within the organisations. The aim is to make as many joint appointments as possible for education, research and valorisation.
For more information on the ambitions and those involved in educational and research activities, we refer to the attached joint publication.
Or you can contact the spokesperson(s):
Bertyl Lankhaar, spokesperson of the Executive Board of the University of Twente, M: 0620027435
Wessel Agterhof, spokesperson of the Executive Board of VU Amsterdam, M: 0611620382