Multidisciplinary collaboration agreed with University of Waterloo

The University of Twente and the University of Waterloo have underlined their intensions of intensifying their relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU was signed on Monday 6 June at the DesignLab at the University of Twente, with Victor van der Chijs, president of the University of Twente’s Executive Board and dr. Catherine Burns of the University of Waterloo, signing the agreement. The multidisciplinary collaboration will contribute to establishing an international, transatlantic data research network that is rooted in the combination of natural sciences with social and health sciences. 

Complementary strengths

Intensions for intensifying the relationship between the two universities were expressed during last year’s working visit to the University of Waterloo, where an UT delegation joint the Dutch national education mission in Canada. The expertise at Waterloo and Twente complements each other's strength combining engineering and computer science expertise with social sciences expertise. Jointly, the partners have strong track records in the areas of persuasive technology, cognitive ergonomics, computer science, human interaction with sensors and automation, data science technology including big data, data analytics and IoT. Both universities have a strong track record in applying this research in health care domain.

Build upon existing partnership

The partnership builds upon an existing foundation of strong and productive interactions at the University of Waterloo with the University of Twente, where prof. dr. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen, head of the Centre for eHealth & Wellbeing Research and dr. Olga Kulyk, assistant professor in persuasive health technology, have invested firmly in a strong partnership with frequent exchange of knowledge with Prof. Dr. Catherine Burns, founding director of Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology and director of Advanced Interface Design Lab, Prof. at the Department of Systems Design Engineering, Adjunct Professor at the Ottawa Hospital in Canada and visiting researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

The relationship has flourished between Prof. Dr. Burns and Prof. Dr. van Gemert-Pijnen, with several graduate students exchange visits, research visits and invited seminars. Dr. Kulyk from Twente visited Waterloo and gave an invited talk in May 2015 during the Dutch Education Mission and Liberation celebrations and consulted on the PhD work of one of Dr. Burns’ graduate students. Prof. dr. Van Gemert-Pijnen holds an adjunct appointment in the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. An International Research Partnership - EU Grant (IRPG) between the University Waterloo, the University of Twente and the University of Oulu (Finland) was awarded in November 2015 to pursue data-driven persuasive technology research collaboration and exchange.

Kick-off meetings

Two joint workshops will be held, one at the University of Twente (June 6-9, 2016) and one at the University of Waterloo (November 2016). The focus of these workshops will be to further strengthen the international research collaboration, including explicit time for research proposals development and strategic activities.

University of Waterloo

Launched in 1957, the University of Waterloo has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 students. Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. The University of Waterloo forms the heart of an entrepreneurial ecosystem where technological leaders and startup founders bring innovative and world–changing ideas to the global marketplace.

Laurens van der Velde
Press relations (available Mon-Fri)