UT and TenCate: partners in innovation
For Victor van der Chijs, chairman of the Executive Board of the University of Twente (UT), innovation is a strong driving force. His ambition: a top technological university that impacts on people and society. This dovetails with the ambitions of TenCate, where (technological) innovation is one of the cornerstones of the business model. Within this framework the company seeks affiliation with universities, colleges and knowledge networks. For TenCate membership of open innovation networks and market-driven innovation (of a problem-solving nature) are two important value factors in innovation.
The UT is one of the universities in Europe with which TenCate has had close contacts for decades. These contacts include cooperation within the Faculty of Constructive Technical Sciences, the ThermoPlastic composite Research Center (TPRC) and the Smart Factory project, as well as material sponsorship (Solar Team Twente). Smart Factory is a recently initiated project stimulated by the regional authorities. The project group wants to further optimize the product realization process in the Netherlands, with the aim of achieving an automated 24/7 ‘smart factory’. The business community, government authorities and knowledge and research institutes have likewise joined forces in the regional Human Capital Agenda. The case is being made for more highly educated people (also from abroad) in the Twente high-tech sector, in this way ensuring an optimal settlement climate for new national and international manufacturing industry in the future as well.
(Photo: Rikkert Harink)
According to Victor van der Chijs, ‘The major issues confronting this society require a multidisciplinary approach. High Tech, Human Touch − and the UT has this combination of disciplines in house. We want to use this strength to even better advantage in the time to come, together with external partners such as TenCate. Innovation is of vital importance for TenCate, just as it is for the UT. By constantly continuing to innovate and select the right niche markets for new products, TenCate is enjoying ongoing success in securing leading positions in its field of activity. It is partly thanks to this that the company has grown into a technologically driven corporation that operates worldwide.’
‘Because of changes in funding, it is of ever increasing importance for the UT to seek maximal connection with the business community,’ continues the chairman of the Executive Board. ‘As an entrepreneurial university, we do this in various ways. We already have good relationships with the business community, but we will strengthen these even further in the time ahead. In addition we are going to systematically seek closer links with larger companies – not only in the Netherlands but throughout the whole world. Indeed we have much to offer these companies in the field of R&D. Finally we as a university stimulate our researchers to market their knowledge, and this has already led to more than 800 spin-off companies. We take care to maintain good relationships with these spin-offs and to support them where possible. These are the ASMLs, Shells and TenCates of the future.’