The University of Twente cooperates closely with universities, companies and governmental organizations in its immediate area, elsewhere in the country and throughout the world, with the needs of society constantly in mind.
We feel that one of our prime responsibilities is to have a beneficial economic impact on the Twente region. Around 1,000 startup companies have been established over the past three decades, many of which are still active partners of the university.
Strategic Business Development
The University of Twente is committed to enhancing its relationship with the business community. In keeping with its enhanced ambitions regarding entrepreneurship, UT has established a special Strategic Business Development unit. As an entrepreneurial university, our fundamental objective is to create value for and have an impact on partners and stakeholders in the Twente region, the Netherlands, Europe, and ultimately society at large.
We collaborate with the corporate sector in developing broader programmes, in which both business and technology are represented, and both education and research. The requirements of the company are key. Where do we see opportunities to, using the knowledge and expertise of the UT, create value for the company? That’s the assignment.
The University of Twente works closely with universities, knowledge institutions and multinationals from all over the world. We are a member of the 3TU.Federation, a strategic partnership of the three leading universities of technology in the Netherlands (Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, and the University of Twente). In 2016, Wageningen University joined the partnership, changing the name to 4TU.Federation. Together with ten other young and innovative universities across Europe, the University of Twente is a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU).
In addition to ECIU, we maintain academic relationships in several target regions around the world. There are strong ties with top European research universities such as Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster (Germany), KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lund University (Sweden), and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) (Hungary). In Asia, we cooperate with different universities in China, Indonesia and India. In 2015, a collaboration with the Stevens Institute of Technology in the United States is confirmed. Furthermore, we collaborate with different hospitals and leading international companies such as ASML, Boeing, Google, Microsoft, Unilever, Akzo Nobel, Shell, Siemens, BP and Philips.
In 2015, the University of Twente and Fraunhofer have entered into a long-term partnership in the area of applied technical science. The first step is the establishment of a Fraunhofer Project Centre for ‘Design and Production Engineering in Complex High-Tech Systems’ at the UT campus, Fraunhofer's first representation in the Netherlands. Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest non-profit organization for applied research and has a powerful international reputation. 66 research institutes are affiliated in Germany and 7 abroad. The cooperation is an important step in Twente's further development as a technological top region.
Over the coming years, the University of Twente and Stevens Institute of Technology intend to further shape their joint intentions and efforts. What is clear, however, is that the University of Twente's social science expertise will play a key role in the process. Stevens is a technical university with a strong interest in the link between social and technical sciences; a discipline the University of Twente with its High Tech Human Touch is well versed in. For the University of Twente, this collaboration rhymes well with the existing internationalization policy, which sees the UT seek out and establish connections with strategic partners across a global network.
We are a member of the 3TU.Federation, a strategic partnership of the three leading universities of technology in the Netherlands (Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, and the University of Twente). The 3TU.Federation has been working closely together in the field of education and research. There are five 3TU.master programmes, a Centre for Engineering Education and the Institute of Professional Doctorate Education. They connect to the successful growth in student numbers in technical education. The federation has nine Research Centres and the data management is supported by the 3TU.Datacentrum, part of Research Data Netherlands. With Wageningen University joining in 2016, possibilities for extending the activities are being explored, for example in the field of:
- data collection and data analysis to ensure the sustainability and security of food production;
- system design and integration of the food chain;
- robotics to handle sensitive products;
- mobile personal devices for lifestyle, sport and health;
- imitation of photosynthesis in new materials as an energy source;
- ethical implications of technological innovations.
The first joint activities under the flag of 4TU, based on proposals from the academic staff, are expected to be starting in 2017.
Kennispark Twente (Twente Science Park) was founded by the University of Twente in cooperation with the province of Overijssel, the municipality of Enschede, the Twente region and Saxion University of Applied Sciences. It has been created to transform innovations into tangible economic activity and to boost innovative approaches and the knowledge infrastructure in the Twente region, and provides an environment where knowledge-driven companies can continue to develop their business, and prosper.
Twente Science Park gives both young and more seasoned entrepreneurs access to financing, talented staff, business development support programmes, new concepts and accommodation. In addition, the entrepreneurs can make use of the research facilities of the University of Twente. This unique construction allows scientists and entrepreneurs to join forces to bring about innovation. Even the physical surroundings have been adapted to include both physical and virtual meeting places for scientists and entrepreneurs.
Dutch Student Investment Fund
The Dutch Student Investment Fund is Twente’s response to a difficult market for early financing of student-companies. Victor van der Chijs, president of the Executive Board of the University of Twente: “As an entrepreneurial University, we acknowledge the need of student start-ups for our economy. By starting the Dutch Student Investment Fund, we put action to our words. It also makes clear why we already make students responsible for activities in and around the university. We are confident that especially students have a clear view on new developments and opportunities for societies.”
The fund will be led by a board consisting mainly of students and an investment committee with only student members. It is the first time in Europe such a start-up fund led by students is founded. In the forthcoming years, an estimated 1 million euro’s will be invested as convertible loans to promising student-led-start-ups in the region of Twente. Lipocoat, is the first to receive support from the fund. The UT startup develops coatings for medical application, that make sure medical aids will no longer be rejected and inflammation or painful reactions will be reduced. A first application might be possible in contact lenses, to reduce contact lens irritations.
Our 40,000 alumni are important ambassadors for the UT both at home and abroad. Furthermore, close contact with alumni helps contributes to our understanding of developments in society which is essential for maintaining the relevance of our teaching and research.
Twente University Fund
The Twente University Fund Foundation is an autonomous foundation founded over 65 years ago that supports the academic community in various ways. In 2015, The Twente University Fund received donations from over 450 contributors, making it possible to invest in campus and student life, endowed chairs, international study trips and scholarships.