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Our research strategy

Since the founding of the University of Twente in 1961, we have committed ourselves to addressing economic and societal questions through pioneer combinations of technical and social sciences. The UT has developed into a thriving, entrepreneurial university that is known for its strengths in personalised healthcare technologies, smart manufacturing, advanced materials, digital technologies and its engineering capabilities to develop a resilient world.

Societal domains

Our research strategy for the forthcoming years builds upon these existing research strengths and our creative and entrepreneurial mindset. We will put people first, reinforce our engagement with society and generate societal impact. Our research practice is challenge-driven and we cultivate an attitude of excellence, accountability and integrity towards our peers and society itself. In the upcoming years, we aim to foster excellent research as the pivotal route towards making significant and transformational differences within these three societal domains:

  • Healthy living & better healthcare, which entails research on disease prevention, diagnosis, intervention, self-management, the creation of resilient, healthy urban environments and geo-health.
  • Connected communities, which entails research on cyber-physical systems, human-machine interactions, data science and artificial intelligence
  • Sustainable environment, which entails research on integrated solutions of technologies, human behaviour, environments and ecosystems, materials and sensing technologies, earth observation, water and energy management.

Way of working

In order to support our orientation towards societal challenges and to enable our researchers to work within a challenge-driven environment, our way of working needs further development:

  • We shall focus our work on scientific and engineering problems on societal mission-driven challenges. We will closely collaborate with our partners, both public and private, in knowledge technologies and infrastructure. We will facilitate the introduction and embedding of knowledge and technologies in society. We aim to integrate our expertise of technical and social sciences into a systemic proposition to contribute to societal challenges in the three domains mentioned. Our investment in strategic research infrastructure and strategic programs will link UT’s strength in research and innovation to societal challenges. We will further develop our research quality management system in order to align the university, research units and individual strategies to support this focus.
  • We will expand our entrepreneurial ambitions in our work towards the generation of impact, by acting as an engaged institution that connects with all parties involved and generating academic, economical and societal impact. Our focus on Open Science and our Designlab will support these ambitions. We will strengthen our research groups to realise these ambitions by stimulating diversity in individual backgrounds and orientations. We foster teamwork and talent management.
  • We will move from acting as a supplier of knowledge that engineers solutions towards an entrepreneurial university engaging in dialogues and partnerships with society. To achieve this we will invest in engaging in dialogues with all parties concerned to demonstrate the relevance of our research, expand our physical proximity to citizens, strengthen collaboration with partners, and invest in the presence of UT at key venues and round table meetings where research programs and initiatives with public and private partners are designed.

In Shaping2030 we formulated the mission, vision and strategy of the University of Twente. Our research strategy is based on the Shaping2030 strategy. The Research Strategy guides decision-making in research activities. The strategy allows for agility in research programming and upholds academic autonomy within the boundaries set by the framework. In our strategy, we build upon our existing research strengths and move towards reinforcing our orientation of scientific research questions on societal themes, in line with the ‘people first’ mission of the University of Twente. Our research activities are aimed at generating impact in three societal domains where UT research can make a difference: healthy living & better healthcare, connected communities and a sustainable environment. To generate impact, the UT research draws upon its unique research identity, a specific set of infrastructure, a broad set of key enabling technologies, and its ability to conduct excellent scientific research in the knowledge domains STEM + social & behavioural sciences. The research strategy enhances the way how the UT distinguishes itself from other knowledge institutes by its ability to bring societal questions into the world of science and its ability to integrate and collaborate across knowledge domains and organizational entities.

The Research Strategy has a 10-year perspective. Concrete actions are focused on the first three years of this time frame.

Read the full research strategy below.

Our research strategy