EWI: feedback about the open discussion on UT strategy

UPDATE: Click HERE for the outcomes of the second meeting of EWI, click HERE for the PowerPoint presentation of that meeting. Click HERE for the PowerPoint presentation of Jan Willem Polderman and click HERE for the Powerpoint presentation of Djoerd Hiemstra

At EWI a number of employees gave an inspiring presentation on multidisciplinary research projects on 30 January 2014.

The Enterpreneurial Post Doc

Albert van den Berg presented collaborative research projects being conducted by the BIOS research group such as “Organ on Chip (human disease model technologies), Nanopill (nanotech for health / early diagnostics) and Solar fuels (Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion, MCEC). All three of these projects have been successful thanks to intensive cooperation within the University, both between the technologically oriented disciplines and with the social sciences, but also because of public-private partnerships. Van den Berg said that despite the investment by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the R&D departments of large companies such as Philips, the R&D capacity within these companies is decreasing. His idea is to create a number of ‘Entrepreneurial Post Doc’ positions at the University that are to be financed by Economic Affairs (EZ) with the aim of bringing knowledge to the market.

Human Media Interaction: a great example of working multi-, cross- and interdisciplinary

Dirk Heylen spoke about Human Media Interaction. This is an outstanding example of a research group that works according to multi-, cross- and interdisciplinary methods. For example, the EWI group works closely together with researchers from communication sciences and psychology at the Faculty of GW in the TASST project. Following on the 3TU Humans and Technology Research Center objectives, Heylen calls for multidisciplinary cooperation. You expand your horizons as a researcher and gain insight into different types of research methods. Human Resources is the biggest problem identified for multidisciplinary cooperation. “If you are responsible for training the next generation of researchers, then you’ve got no time to delve into other disciplines.” His presentation inspired the attendees. Representatives from Robotics and Mechatronics indicated an interest in working with HMI in the field of interpreting human reactions to the use of robots in rescue operations.

Clinical Neuroscience@UT

Stephan van Gils of Applied Analysis and Mathematical Physics spoke on “Applied Analysis and Clinical Neurophysiology.” Brussels has a special interest in this field of research, and funding worth €10 billion has been made available for it. We have three areas of focus at the University: Parkinson’s, Epilepsy and Spreading depression. The Technical Medicine program is very strong and offers tremendous opportunities. This area of ​​research is promising thanks to the cooperation both within the University and outside the University. Van Gils concluded his talk by saying that researchers need to be able to find one another in order to strengthen cooperation between disciplines: “Neurons that fire together, wire together and people that work together, sit together.”

Safety and Security: a High Tech Human Touch challenge

Raymond Veldhuis is an expert in Biometrics, crowd management and pattern recognition. He works at the Centre for Cyber Security and Public Safety (CCSPS). The societal relevance of “Safety and Security” is high and offers a lot of opportunities for our University to excel and to carve out a distinctive identity. There is a large and broad research potential. We have connections with several industrial partners and with local national activities. Safety and Security features a unique mixture of technical and social sciences. We see a lot of opportunities for funding. Veldhuis calls for action: “It’s all there. Let’s use it.” Currently this field of research at UT can be improved by enhancing activity coherence at the group level, by promoting integration at the institute and centre level and by strengthening visibility. Then we can also further improve our national visibility and impact. Ellen Giebels, who supports Ton Mouthaan as Interim Dean of the Faculty of GW, sees many opportunities for contributing to Safety and Security at UT.

From unorthodox idea to new academic discipline

Hajo Broersma spoke at the EWI meeting on “Darwin goes nano-evolution of multifunctional nano-systems”. This is a new discipline that emerged four years ago from discussions between researchers in nanotechnology, mathematics and computer science. CTIT and MESA+ then funded a two-year pilot project with a post doc. Conclusion: ideas that initially seem unrealistic or strange can develop into a new field and provide a valuable contribution to society. The condition is that researchers must be willing to enter into dialogue with colleagues and to look beyond the borders of their individual disciplines.