TNW: Future of our university

UPDATE: Click HERE for the outcomes of the second meeting of TNW.

On 7 February, a meeting about the future of our university was held at the TNW faculty. The Rector, Ed Brinksma, presented his vision of the future in 2025. Futurologist, Wim de Ridder, showed us his view of trends for universities in the future, and for the UT in particular, i.e. where our opportunities lie. Hans Hilgenkamp opened the meeting with a film about qCraft Minecraft, a popular game for children around 11 years old, the generation coming to our university around 2020. We will have to adapt our approach to this new generation and their learning strategies.

He then directed the focus of the discussion on three terms: short term developments from the present to 2017, then mid-term developments from 2017-2020, when we will meet the consequences of developments such as Google glass and brain chips, and for the longer term, after 2020, when we cannot predict what kind of developments we will encounter.

According to Hilgenkamp, the central questions for this meeting were: What will make the UT ‘the place to be’ in 2020? How can we realize this and what will that mean for the TNW faculty?

The University of Twente in 2025: prediction is very difficult, especially about the future (Niels Bohr)

Rector Magnificus foresees that primary education is more likely to adapt new technologies in education. As University of Twente we should match this development. Digital platforms are going to change the world (MOOCs). Mass education will lead to mass personalization.

Not many students will be able to learn fully online, contact with lecturers will always be key for relevant knowledge development. A sense of community is also necessary.

In 2025 Brinksma speaks of the “University 3.0” as one gigantic intellectual net, even a holographic meeting deck. He illustrates that this is already happening. Our university has to free itself from a physical location.

Graduate programmes might not be existing anymore on itself (at UT). Because cutting edge education and research needs a network (e.g. share equipment astrophysics). E.g. the partners from China will develop cutting edge facilities.

Conclusion: the aim is to be very original in added value in the future otherwise we will dissolve. On the other hand Brinksma foresees the following 2025 UT interfaces:

•Materials Programming

• Wellbeing & Technology

•Pervasive Security

•Adaptive Governance


•Innovation Design

•Twente School of Personalised Undergraduate Studies

•European Graduate School of Technology and Society

•Eurasian Infrastructural Grid

The second half of the chessboard; Visions for our fUTure
Wim de Ridder, our professor of futures studies, presents that most high tech incumbents don’t adjust their strategy in time. The so-called Kodak Syndrome: the institutional inability to understand contemporary trends and needs is widespread, while the speed of innovation is accelerating. (Kodak went bankrupt in 2012). On the other hand global public-private platforms in high-tech product development, e.g. International Technology Roadmaps for Semiconductors (ITRS) are extremely successful. There are also new EU platforms such as the Graphene Flagship Project and the Human Brain Project with outstanding opportunities. As a university we should take lead in platforms  in UT’s most promising fields of interests. Furthermore De Ridder foresees that start up products will be the future instead of startup companies.

Wim de Ridder thinks TNW has to start with building some attractive international platforms for road mapping to get elaborate ideas about the future of the high tech products and markets concerned by asking the right people on the table.

Each platform continues with

•consensus building, forecasting and coordination of  tech developments;

•organizing contests like tricorder prize, archon genomics, ocean health. Contests lead to break throughs and new business models;

•making offers in education. You can think of:

oMOOC’s for free in main disciplines, let people know what we are doing. Focus on all people between 15-65 years. 

oSelf-organizing platforms - MOOC’s students in same area will hire university lectures to add knowledge. Connect those platforms to UT research. 

oLearning professionals (HR) will integrate MOOC’s in own company's education programme.

According to De Ridder the UT has to be prepared for the 6th Technological cycle which will start around 2025 with trends in: Graphene, advanced materials and advanced computering. Brain-computer-interaction, cognitive computing Watson 3.0: complex reasoning, big data analyses and validating by natural brain interaction (finance and telemarketing).