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Engineering our digital society

Anyone using a smartphone app could tell you that digital technologies have gained an immense influence on our everyday lives.

Today, we are passing a tipping point, beyond which it is no longer we who are using digital technologies to influence and shape our surroundings, but our digitalized surroundings are shaping and manipulating us. Digitalization is forming entirely new worlds – car-to-car networks, Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, eHealth. Reaching into the very fabric of society, it is redistributing power, shaking up our notions of privacy, identity, democracy.


Digitalization is spreading further and deeper into society every day. Here are three examples of exciting developments in which UT scientists are playing a leading role in areas ranging from identity recognition and behaviour prediction to training autistic children and devising smart energy solutions.

Technical development, societal integration

As a university of technology, we embrace the leading role of ICT in the digitalization of society in all of our research, education and technology valorization. Far from seeing it as a stand-alone specialization, however, we have robustly integrated our hard-core ICT expertise with our non-ICT disciplines, from behavioural sciences, healthcare and governance to transport and logistics, geo information systems and industry. This cross-disciplinary, High Tech, Human Touch mindset is part of what drives us in our pursuit of societal impact. Our main challenges are:

  • Building digital systems we can justifiably rely on and use intuitively
  • Integration of digitalized systems in our environment
  • Well-informed decision making and explainable data analytics


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For the third time in a row we were named the most entrepeneurial university in the Netherlands. We are succesful in translating our knowledge into economic activity: we've helped over a thousand spinoffs to get going. A few examples:

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