The quality of University of Twente’s Computer Science research is excellent and the societal impact is ‘impressive’, says the international review committee that reviewed nine Dutch universities. Of these nine, UT is the only university with the highest scores on quality and relevance to society. UT’s computer scientists have “world-leading competencies in the ability to do multi-disciplinary research”. The committee furthermore admires the number of spinoff companies as well as the successes in acquiring external funding.
Crucial for the societal impact, the committee says, is the integrated approach chosen by the research institute CTIT, with engineering and social sciences. CTIT bundles all ICT research of the University of Twente. The strategic choices are well-chosen and future-oriented: they are based on three present-day societal issues Safety, Cybersecurity & Privacy, Energy and Health & Well-Being.
Computer Science in Twente builds on two strong pillars: Dependable Networked Systems and Human Centered Computing. The first pillar faces scientific challenges concerning reliable software and complex systems. The second is about natural and intelligent human-technology interaction.
CTIT’s scientific staff has world-leading competencies to do multidisciplinary research, and Twente is very active in European public private partnerships like ‘Future Internet’. The University of Twente has a successful tenure track system for scouting young talent. PhD students from across the world are enthusiastic about the open research environment for sharing and collaborating.
Twente offers a broad number of ICT bachelor’s and master’s programmes, including Computer Science, Business Information Technology, Creative Technology, Human Media Interaction, Embedded Systems and Internet Science & Technology.
A textbook example of an international and multidisciplinary research project, according to the committee, is the project WiBRATE, in which computer scientists collaborate with mechanical and civil engineers: in this project sensors, wireless communication, energy harvesting and data analysis together lead to innovative systems for monitoring vibrations and wear of industrial systems or infrastructure works.
Another example in which UT scientists prove to be world-leading, is in personal coaching and home-care in future healthcare systems. Here, the latest scientific results quickly find their way to practical applications, in close cooperation with medical faculty and companies.
Computer Science in Twente delivers about four spinoff companies each year. CTIT and Kennispark Twente therefore offer a unique combination of incubator centres, accelerators and venture capitalists. “In Twente a business developer, not a lawyer, is the first person you talk to”, the review committee observed. Another proof of the external focus is the way research is financed, for 48 percent existing of external grants and for 18 percent of contract research. The full report of the review committee, led by Prof Gerard van Oortmerssen, can be downloaded here (in English).