On Wednesday 2 December, the University of Twente was voted the top Dutch university in the area of commercial knowledge transfer: recognizing the university’s ability to create economic and social value from scientific knowledge.
Commercial knowledge transfer is the third core task of universities, next to education and research. The University of Twente was announced to have claimed top honours in the 2015 Valorization Ranking during the “Social Impact of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences” conference. Out of all thirteen universities entered in the ranking, the University of Twente ranked highest in delivering economic and social benefits. The ranking is a joint venture between research and consultancy firm ScienceWorks and academic publisher Elsevier.
The Delft University of Technology came second in the ranking and third place was awarded to Wageningen UR. The ranking was devised and set up by research and consultancy firm ScienceWorks in The Hague and is intended to map how universities utilize their scientific and technological knowledge to create economic and social benefits. It’s all about cashing in on scientific capital. No wonder, considering the definition of the word ‘valorization’: to create value.
All universities entered in the Valorization Ranking were judged on their ability to perform in three categories: most entrepreneurial university (University of Twente), best at collaboration (Wageningen UR) and best at communication (Tilburg University). After all the scores were added up, the University of Twente (UT) was shown to have the best overall performance. The University of Twente will receive two awards: the award for most entrepreneurial university and the award for best overall performance in the Valorization Ranking.
Victor van der Chijs, President of the University of Twente’s Executive Board, is proud of the recognition received. ‘Collaboration and entrepreneurship have been part of the university’s DNA since the university was founded. This is true for all of Twente, as shown through collaborative efforts with the region of Twente, the province of Overijssel, the municipality of Enschede, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, and local businesses: this is what makes our business climate unique. Twente Board, which is comprised of a group of representatives from businesses and knowledge institutions in the area, aims to further the development of Twente as one of the leading technological regions in Europe. Commercial knowledge transfer is crucial to this development and so we will continue to reinvent ourselves. The ecosystem of startups and spin-offs has a crucial part to play in this, supported and reinforced by Kennispark Twente. As shown by numerous successful examples in Twente this year, marketing spin-offs is an important aspect of commercial knowledge transfer.’
The research report shows that in terms of entrepreneurship, the University of Twente is ‘definitely far ahead of other universities’. The Kennispark Twente alliance offers everything start-ups need to get off to a flying start. Innovative businesses stand to gain the most from the innovative campus. The Seed Funds Cottonwood Technology Fund, Twente Technology Fund and the PPM Innovation Fund allow the University of Twente to offer start-ups more financial support than any other university. Thanks to support from Cottonwood, the establishment of the DesignLab in September 2014, the launch of the Dutch Student Investment Fund in September 2015 and the recent news that a Fraunhofer Project Centre will soon be established on the university campus, Twente is fast becoming a technological top region.
Twente Board President Herman Hazewinkel is pleased with the result. ‘We know what the University of Twente’s strenghts are in this area. As regional partners, we work together intensively to promote commercial knowledge transfer and economic development. A regional team like ours greatly benefits from having a strong player like the University of Twente in our midst.’
Special Envoy for startups in the Netherlands Neelie Kroes: “Those who belong to the top can shake of all modesty. Twente again shows that it is able to succeed better than others in combining entrepreneurship with academic thinking and working. Good examples tend to be followed. Universities should think and act in a entrepreneurial way and make a top priority out of putting knowledge into use. The research and the knowledge developed at Dutch universities is of world class. Startups and spin-offs can use this knowledge to find solutions for the great challenges the world is facing, like climate change and health care.”
This year was the third time the Valorization Ranking awards were presented. The last ranking was held in 2013. Visit the ScienceWorks website for more information on the ranking.