2017 at a glance

2017 was a year of highlights for the University of Twente. Our researchers conducted ground-breaking research, our enterprising students achieved incredible ambitions, and the list goes on. We have compiled a summary of the most popular news items of the past year.


In January we welcomed the German organization Fraunhofer to the University campus. The University of Twente, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT (based in the German city of Aachen), and Saxion University of Applied Sciences established the Fraunhofer Project Center @ University of Twente to develop smart production technologies for smart products in various areas of application. The Project Center was opened by Minister Kamp (photo).

UT PhD candidate Miriam de Graaf presented her doctoral thesis on the moral dilemmas experienced by military personnel on missions.


On 27 February, Mark Rutte (photo) was the first guest of From tower to tower (‘Van Torentje naar Torentje’), an election series hosted by the UT in which all the party leaders were invited to the campus for an interview. We welcomed each of the twelve political heavyweights to the Vrijhof building for an hour-long interview together with the newspaper Tubantia.

Another special guest this month was MythBuster Jamie Hyneman, who provided various lectures and workshops at the University.

MESA+ researchers scored a world first when they managed to transfer more than 10 bits of information with a single photon. They achieved this using an ingenious method for detecting individual photons.

Student Kees van Ginkel helped to clean up the Citarum River on the Indonesian island of Java. Together with the local population, he spent five months looking for sources of water pollution in the Citarum and around the city of Bandung. This is one of the most polluted river basins in the world.


The Dutch Student Investment Fund (DSIF) confirmed its first investment. The Fund’s board (which is run entirely by students) signed the investment contract with the start-up Grasp (photo).

News about electronic energy meters made the world press. Some of these meters can give false readings that are up to 582% higher than actual energy consumption, researchers of the UT and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences discovered. Professor Frank Leferink of the UT estimates that potentially inaccurate meters have been installed in the meter cabinets of at least 750,000 Dutch households.

Another dilemma that the world is talking about is map projections. ITC professor Menno-Jan Kraak sparked a lively debate in a CNN item on how the round globe is projected onto flat paper.

New ambitions and a new name for the Kennispark. The organization will be renamed Novel-T and has a new strategy aimed at generating more impact, becoming a stronger brand and gaining more international recognition.

Most patients treated for cancer suffer from chronic fatigue afterwards. Thanks to a new online intervention using a step counter and a smartphone, physiotherapists were able to significantly reduce this fatigue in clinical settings in 66% of these patients. Marije Wolvers of Roessingh Research and Development received a PhD for her research on this subject.

Another leading German research institute followed in the footsteps of the Fraunhofer Project Center to join the University of Twente: the Max Planck - University of Twente Center for Complex Fluid Dynamics will open on 3 March. The opening will be attended by Minister for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker and the president of the Max Planck Gesellschaft, Prof. Martin Stratmann.


Geert Folkertsma presented a prototype cheetah robot. Folkertsma has dedicated four years of research and development to constructing a scaled-down robotic version of the fastest land animal in the world, with a view to replicating its movements. The robot uses only about fifteen percent more energy than a real cheetah relative to its size. Geert was not the only person to receive a PhD that day; his wife Laura did too!

The UT was awarded two important European grants: Han Gardeniers and Detlef Lohse will try to make new breakthroughs in their field of study with the help of a European Research Council grant. This is Detlef Lohse’s second ERC Advanced Grant.

The first UT pop-up university was launched in Amsterdam with the help of the Twente Embassy  to introduce pre-university students to the University of Twente. 


The Taaie Tiller works! Volkert van der Wijk’s so-called Sisyphus machine will be installed on the UT campus.

A historic step for the Robird: the flagship of UT spinoff Clearflight Solutions is being deployed for the first time at a real airport (Edmonton airport in Canada) to drive birds away.

Business& IT student Meike Nauta has designed a model to detect hacked Twitter accounts. The system determines whether a tweet was sent by a hacker or by the actual owner of an account.

Green Team Twente aimed for a podium spot at the Shell Eco Marathon, a major European energy-efficiency race held in London. The team easily achieved their goal with their new hydrogen car H2∞ (‘H2INFINITY’)!

Creating ‘organ-on-a-chip’ systems will be a decisive step toward personalized health care. Five partners including the University of Twente received a prestigious ‘Zwaartekracht’ grant for this, of 19 million euros.

UT News is to become U-Today. The UT’s independent news outlet will not only be renamed, it will also be restyled. The first new edition of Science Magazine will roll off the presses in May.


The first edition of the UT Challenge took place. Students of the University of Twente spent months working on their idea or prototype with only one goal: to win the UT Challenge. By means of chat sessions, courses, workshops and the Golden Egg Check, they were prepared for the pitch of their lives during the Entrepreneurial Day on 13 June.

Industrial Design Engineering students of the University of Twente introduced augmented reality glasses that cost only €29. The glasses enhance your perception of the world around you with 3D visualizations. UT researchers say that the glasses have comparable functionality to Microsoft’s €3,000 HoloLens. Aryzon obtained the required funding in no time through Kickstarter.

Hospitals often reserve time, space and emergency facilities unnecessarily, research by Nardo Borgman has revealed. He developed a computer simulation model that allows you to analyse the use of operating theatres to ensure their optimum deployment.


Students of SolarBoat Twente travelled to Monaco for the Solar Boat Challenge with ambitious plans. They achieved their goal of a spot on the podium with a well-deserved third place.

The Chinese company DJI selected Space53, a University of Twente partner, to develop projects focussed on increasing public safety using drones. Concrete examples of the collaboration are the establishment of a training programme for rescue workers at Technology Base Twente and the development of standard procedures for deploying drones during rescue operations.

One of the new student teams established in the 2016-2017 academic year was RoboTeam Twente. They completed the year by participating in the robot football world cup in Japan, where they made it through the knock-out phase with a few well-aimed goals.

UT researchers revealed the tiniest and most accurate 3D-printed biopsy robot in the world. The Stormram 4, as the robot is called, is made of plastic in a 3D printer and powered by air pressure. The advantage of plastic is that the robot can be used in MRI scanners.


The third edition of the CuriousU summer school was held. Hundreds of students from all over the world took part in the summer school in ‘festival style’, in which serious matters were alternated with relaxing summer activities.

Sarthak Misra joined the TV news show 1Vandaag to demonstrate some of the countless uses of robotic flexible needles.

The Robotour, an interactive LEGO Mindstorms workshop for children, was held in Enschede. The workshop was initiated by JeugdViva and the University of Twente’s Pre-University team helped design the programme, whereby engineers of the future aged between 9 and 14 years old got to build and program their own robot. Students of the UT were on hand to supervise the children.

Lowlands celebrated its 25th anniversary in Biddinghuizen, where the UT’s EnschedePloeg once again played a key role. Every year, under the supervision of Tonnie Buitink (former UT event manager), the EnschedePloeg (EP) is at the centre of all festival activities, including erecting the tents and stages, running the event itself and dismantling everything afterwards. The experienced team consists of 165 volunteers who work on the site crews or as stagehands or hosts.


The University of Twente crossed the magical boundary of 10,000 students. To celebrate, Colombian student Monica Pazos (photo) received a special welcome at Schiphol Airport. She was met by a limousine for a tour of the Twente region, including a lunch with mayor Van Veldhuizen.

1,200 visitors made their way to Enschede’s main church, Grote Kerk, for Twente Science Night. The University of Twente held the World of Tomorrow science exhibition as part of the Weekend of Science, during which businesses and education and research institutes presented their latest findings.

African elephants use darkness to protect themselves against poachers, according to a new study by the UT and Save The Elephants in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service. The elephants were equipped with GPS locators which revealed that they are more active at night in areas with a lot of poaching. Instead of sleeping when it gets dark, they eat and travel. This research got a lot of press coverage around the world.

CNN did an item on research by PhD candidate Angarath Van der Zee-Van den Berg on early detection of postnatal depression. She studied how timely minor interventions can reduce the likelihood of postnatal depression during the first month after birth.


Solar Team Twente was fifth to cross the finish line during the World Solar Challenge in Adelaide, Australia.

PhD candidate Jan-Willem Bullee carried out several ‘social cyberattacks’ at the University of Twente and examined the effectiveness of various countermeasures. He obtained several remarkable results. For example, a personalized phishing e-mail is 50% more effective, 40% of employees installed potentially malicious software following a fake phone call, and he also discovered that providing warning information in advance works, provided that not too much time passes between the warning and the attack itself.

A new technology developed by the University of Twente efficiently and inexpensively extracts CO2 from the air. The captured CO2 is used to grow algae, a new source for the production of foods and chemicals, but it can also be used as part of a closed cycle to store wind and solar energy.


The University of Twente made a giant leap forward of seven points in the Keuzegids guide to universities. The twenty Bachelor’s programmes improved their average score from 60 to 67 points. This means the University of Twente now has a top-three position, behind Wageningen University and Research and the Open University. The University of Twente was also awarded the ‘Best Technical University’ seal of quality for the highest total score of all technical universities.  

The University of Twente presented five new themes. These themes are intended to provide a clear overview of the areas of focus of the University’s education and research to meet the societal challenges of the future.

The magazine KIJK voted the idea of administering medicines without needles the best tech idea of 2017. The medical profession alone uses more than 12 billion needles every year. Alongside the impact on people who are afraid of them, these needles are also bad for the environment. The start-up InkBeams developed a new method: needleless injections.

Bulk liquid transports can be made much safer. Erik Eenkhoorn has designed a system that can secure liquid loads. Inflatable components prevent tanker trucks from tipping over and also reduce fuel consumption.  


The University of Twente was voted the most enterpreneurial university in the Netherlands for the third time in the biennial Impact Ranking. The UT is also the university with the greatest impact in the Netherlands.

The municipality of Enschede, the University of Twente, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, AKI ArtEZ and ROC van Twente are intensifying their collaboration with an agenda that focusses on attracting, inspiring and keeping talent. The agenda with the title ‘Smart Enschede’ includes activities to make Enschede a smarter and more attractive city for talented entrepreneurs, students and citizens.