UTFacultiesTNWNewsNXTGEN HIGHTECH invests €38 million in new technology solutions for future kidney patients

NXTGEN HIGHTECH invests €38 million in new technology solutions for future kidney patients

With a combined investment of nearly €38 million, the University of Twente is working on new technological solutions for future kidney patients in the 'Artificial Organs' project. This broad collaboration of knowledge and expertise is aimed at the necessary innovation and improvement of dialysis treatment.

Improved dialysis

In the NXTGEN HIGHTECH project 'Artificial Organs,' UT collaborates with eleven companies, two knowledge institutions, and the Kidney Foundation to develop better dialysis techniques. UT, in partnership with BioChem Oss B.V., works on more efficient and hemocompatible membranes for hemodialysis. Dimitrios Stamatialis, Professor of Advanced Organ Bioengineering and Therapeutics (Faculty of S&T/TechMed Centre), states, "We aim to create membranes for portable artificial kidney devices that have improved long-term blood compatibility. Currently, we are focusing on pilot-scale production."

"We see that innovation for kidney patients is stalling because the production of prototypes is difficult to scale up in practice. This not only requires specific knowledge and expertise but also physical resources to realise production on a small and medium scale. With this project, we want to ensure that the transition from the lab to practical application will be faster and better in the future," says Dr. Karin Gerritsen, internist-nephrologist at Utrecht Medical Center (UMCU) and project coordinator.

Other partners

In the consortium, Nextkidney and Chiral Vision focus on the production of sorbent filters for portable artificial kidneys. IMEC, Micronit, and Nexperia are developing microelectronic components for dialysis systems that can be implanted in the future. Vivolta, in collaboration with Corbion, SupraPolix, Stentit, and Xeltis, is working on machines for producing stents and prostheses for vascular access made from degradable nanomaterials.

In collaboration with UMCU and LifeTec Group, the partners build a platform to test all these components. UMCU also plays a significant advisory role in preparing for preclinical verification and validation and market approval of the artificial organs produced with the new technology.

The Kidney Foundation is investing €750,000 in the project, while the other partners contribute over €17 million, in addition to the €20 million subsidy from the National Growth Fund. This represents a combined investment of nearly €38 million for future kidney patients.

First artificial kidney

The Netherlands is the birthplace of dialysis. The first artificial kidney was tested 80 years ago at the hospital in Kampen. In celebration of this milestone, the Kidney Foundation, in partnership with IMEC and the Willem Kolff Foundation, hosted a networking event on April 4, 2023, for companies and patients, where several groundbreaking innovations from Dutch soil were presented. You can get an impression of this day in this video.


Within NXTGEN HIGHTECH, more than 330 parties from the business sector and knowledge institutions will collaborate for the next seven years on the development of new high-tech machinery and production technologies. The National Growth Fund is investing €450 million to find smart solutions to problems in six domains: Robotics and Automation in Agriculture, Healthcare, Lightweight Materials, Sustainable Energy, Laser Communication, and Faster Chips.

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