UTTechMedTechMed CentreNewsVan den Kroonenberg Prize 2023 goes to Merel Boers

Van den Kroonenberg Prize 2023 goes to Merel Boers

Twente University Fund awarded the prize to the University of Twente alumna during the Opening of the Academic Year. Merel Boers is co-founder and CEO of UT spinoff Nicolab. The annual prize goes to UT-affiliated entrepreneurs who have successfully marketed a start-up.

Boers graduated as a Technical Physician in 2014 with a thesis on the topic of ‘Medical Signalling.’ In 2018 she defended her PhD thesis on the topic of ‘Image Analysis in Acute Ischemic Stroke’ and graduated with distinction. In 2015, during her PhD research, her group made a major breakthrough in the field of the treatment of strokes: a new treatment that was twice as effective as any other treatment at the time.

Nicolab was created in an effort to successfully put this new method into practice. The jury acknowledges that Nicolab is making an important contribution to solving the challenges in the field of healthcare with the innovative solutions developed by the company and by UT.


Nicolab focuses on fast and effective care following a stroke using image recognition technology. Speed is crucial in the event of a stroke, and 40% of all patients do not receive proper treatment on time. When a patient arrives at the hospital at a random time, doctors order a CT scan. Someone then has to analyse the images and create a solid treatment plan, and often the patient will need to go to another hospital for the actual treatment. The information then has to be sent securely to the doctors at this second hospital.

The Nicolab solution is called StrokeViewer. StrokeViewer is able to tackle all the previously mentioned problems. The software immediately sends the CT scans to a secured cloud and within minutes artificial intelligence analyses the scans. The AI advises the healthcare professionals involved on a good diagnosis and treatment plan. If the patient needs to go to another hospital, then the necessary information can easily and securely be sent there to ensure they can properly prepare for the patient’s arrival and treatment. This will result in faster and more effective treatment. Patients will spend less time at the hospital and will have more healthy days of life on average.

Van den Kroonenberg Prize

The Van den Kroonenberg Prize for excellence in entrepreneurship is awarded to entrepreneurs who have a clear connection with the University of Twente and who have proven themselves through good entrepreneurship. The prize, which is awarded by a jury consisting of entrepreneurs and UT researchers, is a tribute to former rector magnificus Harry van den Kroonenberg, who played a crucial role in establishing the University of Twente’s entrepreneurial reputation. The Van den Kroonenberg Prize was awarded for the 39th time this year on behalf of the Twente University Fund. The winner received 4,500 euros and a sculpture by Mohana van den Kroonenberg.

K.W. Wesselink - Schram MSc (Kees)
Science Communication Officer (available Mon-Fri)