Research at the University of Twente centres on technology and the role of technology in society. To remain a leader in this field and to guarantee the outstanding quality of its educational programmes, the university continues to set clear research priorities, particularly with regard to innovation and relevance to society.

The University of Twente is open for business. In a spirit of partnership, we set up innovative projects in collaboration with businesses and government bodies in the Netherlands and abroad. In doing so, we are not afraid to push boundaries, making the most of the expertise and infrastructure present in these alliances. Where possible, we seek to obtain external funding, both national and international. Through Business Development Teams we optimize not only our approach to collaborative projects but also the results gained from them.

Scientific output

The scientific impact of UT publications in high. As analyzed by the 4TU.Federation, the University of Twente receives 40 per cent more cites than the world average in its knowledge domains (score 1.4 on indicator MNCS). 15 per cent of the UT publications are part of the 10 per cent most publications fields worldwide within their domain. 

Doctoral Degrees

High-quality scientific publications are those in which independent experts in the field (refereers/peers) decide on the publication in a scientific magazine, a contribution at a congress or (part of) a book. The number of refereed publications by UT scientists reached a top in 2013, but has since declined slightly to 2377 in 2016. As other universities do, the University of Twente aims more and more on the quality rather than quantity, as quality and impact of the publications are most highly valued. 40 per cent of the refereed articles in scientific journals are the result of an international cooperation, and 9 per cent has been coproduced with the industry.

Total number of spin-off companies
since 1984

Research funding in 2016

Direct government funding
Contract-based funding
Government funding via agencies
Total (M€) 185

Research institutes

Research at the University of Twente is – for the most part – organized in multidisciplinary research institutes such as:

  • MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology
  • MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine
  • CTIT Institute for IT Research in Context
  • IGS Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies
  • ITC Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation

    In 2015, UT launched a Programme for Science Based Engineering

MESA+ Institute for nanotechnology

MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology is a world leading nanotechnology research institute. MESA+ combines the disciplines of physics, electrical engineering, chemistry and mathematics. Around 550 researchers focus on new materials and nanostructures for a wide variety of ground-breaking technologies and applications such as lab-on-a-chip systems, sensors for early diagnostics, optics, solar cells, and unconventional computing. MESA+ has a solid track record of uniting scientific disciplines and initiating and promoting strategic national and international cooperation. With the open-access Nano Lab infrastructure, MESA+ has access to 1250 m2 of cleanroom space, state-of-the-art research equipment and specialized group labs.

MIRA institute for biomedical technology and technical medicine

MIRA is inspired by the increasing role of technology in healthcare. Developing new technology for patients implies a synergetic combination of fundamental and applied research with clinical practice. Examples are rehabilitation research focusing on the interplay of the brain, nerves, muscles and skeleton, advanced imaging technology for better diagnostics and care, and technologies that restore the functioning of diseased organs and damaged tissues. To ensure that patients benefit from our innovations in healthcare, MIRA cooperates closely with academic hospitals and has an active start-up policy.

CTIT Institute for IT Research in Context

One of the major pillars of the University of Twente is information technology, which is organized into a single research institute, CTIT. The institute is home to some 400 researchers. It is unique across the Netherlands and beyond, notably for its decision to place ICT science in a broad technological and societal context. Multidisciplinary research is key, yet based on the insight that excellence can only be attained by excelling in a specific expertise.

A large part of CTIT research is dedicated to developing a smarter society – one in which ICT raises the quality of life, yet in a highly nonintrusive manner. We prefer to make our solutions as invisible as possible, but to maximize their effect. That’s why we strive for robots with human skills, for easy wearables that monitor health and well-being, and ICT systems that are as safe, secure, and reliable as anyone would expect them to be.

IGS Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies

IGS conducts multi-disciplinary research and offers postgraduate research training in the governance and management of technological and social innovation. The core research foci involve the co-ordination, steering and operation of institutions (and networks of institutions) in both public and private sectors, based on a multi-level, multi-actor perspective. IGS strives to combine scientific excellence with relevance for our stakeholders in the public and private sector.

ITC Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation

ITC is the UT’s Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. Their mission is to develop capacity, particularly in less developed countries, and to utilize geospatial solutions to deal with national and global problems. Spatial solutions will play an increasingly important role in meeting many of mankind’s complex challenges (often wicked problems), such as climate change, population growth, and related claims for sufficient and secure food, water, energy, health, land and housing provision.

Centres of Expertise

A t the Centres of Expertise, scientists of the University of Twente work on breakthrough solutions in the field of technology and/or in relation to society together with companies.

  • European Membrane Institute (EMI)
  • Thermoplastic Composites Research Center (TPRC)
  • MESA+ Nanolab
  • Experimental Center for Technical Medicine (ECTM)
  • Center for Service Robotics (LEO)
  • Virtual Reality Laboratory (VR-lab/T-Xchange)
  • DesignLab


Unexpected combinations, guts and team science are the three most important characteristics of the University of Twente’s DesignLab. It links experts in the fields of biomedical technology, nanotechnology and IT to their counterparts in the social sciences, public and business administration, as well as to industrial designers. Enabling such meetings to take place may help to speed up the process of finding solutions to social challenges. This also makes DesignLab a new type of discussion partner for the business sector.

The DesignLab is an international workspace and meeting place where researchers, students, entrepreneurs, business developers, government bodies and artists can join forces to develop creative applications for new technologies, and where they are inspired to find unexpected, creative avenues of approach to solutions to social and economic challenges. New concepts and ideas are picked up and developed in a non-traditional fashion, after which prototypes can be immediately tested.

The DesignLab brings international and regional parties together for interdisciplinary innovation projects. It also provides them with access to the pool of knowledge and talent that exists at, and around, the university. In addition, the DesignLab has an important ambition - to develop new disruptive technologies, based on the latest scientific insights, to solve the societal challenges of our time.