9 January 2017

Ten million euros for intensifying combined research

Universities of Utrecht and Eindhoven, and UMC Utrecht to cooperate more closely

The universities of Utrecht (UU) and Eindhoven (TU/e), and the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) will be intensifying their cooperation, and investing ten million euros in a joint fund over the next three years. The three parties are keen to raise their joint research to a higher level and ensure its permanence by combining their expertise. The first collaborative ventures will focus on a range of areas including regenerative medicine, imaging, porous materials and energy.

The universities of Eindhoven and Utrecht and the UMC Utrecht are highly complementary: in the fields of medicine, geosciences, science, and even social sciences and the humanities their research is becoming ever more interwoven. The institutes, for example, are already collaborating closely in the fields of regenerative medicine imaging and energy. A combined Master's program in Regenerative Medicine and Technology is now available and various joint research projects are already underway.

Until now, a framework has been lacking to offer these programs structured support. With the new agreement, UU, TU/e and UMC Utrecht are keen to ensure the permanence of long-term initiatives and give space to new and existing research programs, while also ensuring the provision of improved research facilities. Effective January 1, 2017, the fund will gain a director to provide day-to-day management. Oversight of the fund is the responsibility of the university rectors and the deputy chairperson of the Executive Board of UMC Utrecht.

Health and energy

At present, much of this research is being conducted unilaterally by individual specializations. Contemporary themes in health and energy require an innovative and supra-university approach involving multidisciplinary research in combined fields. Themes such as the interaction between human vitality and a person's environment, or the consumer's role in future energy systems, require a new, supra-university approach. From their Virtual Research Institutes, scientists will work collaboratively, researching problems in the area of health and energy. The first virtual institute - concerning Regenerative Medicine and Imaging – should start in early 2017.

Faster result

Rectores Magnifici Frank Baaijens of TU/e and Bert van der Zwaan of UU and Executive Board vice-chairperson Frank Miedema of UMC Utrecht emphasize the necessity of collaboration: “If we want to continue to count at an international level, collaborative multidisciplinary research is a must. Utrecht and Eindhoven have been collaborating for years. It is something we already do through student exchanges and joint research. This alliance should enable us to achieve results more quickly and to jointly spot and take advantage of opportunities."