‘Showing the world what we excel at and offering this excellence a physical venue in the Northern
Netherlands, that is our mission’, says Annemieke Galema, director of Research & Valorisation (R&V) at the University of Groningen (UG).
On July 1, 2016, Avebe, Groningen University and the project developer Triade have reached agreement about a new innovation centre to be built at the Zernike complex in Groningen.
This will be a complete innovation centre with a laboratory, pilot factory, office and a client innovation centre.
The Avebe move to Zernike campus is the next step into building the future of life through
public-private incubators, called the “new style campus”
The new style campus will be a dynamic living, learning and working environment where academia and business operate and cooperate organically in learning centres, examples of which are the Zernike Campus Groningen and the Healthy Ageing Campus that is under development on UMCG grounds. The University of Groningen and the UMCG are the driving forces behind this new setting for meeting each other, getting to know each other and working together. What is your strategy?
Galema: ‘Our strategy is to develop an infrastructure that optimally promotes innovation thanks to smart specialization of excellent knowledge and skills. In the North, this will include knowledge areas such as energy transition, IT and Big Data, the Bio-based Economy, Healthy Ageing and Sustainable Society, as well as entrepreneurship and business development. Meanwhile, the umbrella organization ‘Founded in Groningen’ bundles a whole range of start-ups and spin-offs in the Northern Netherlands who, together, put the region on the map both nationally and internationally. This thematic bundling will act as a recruitment magnet and attract excellent students and researchers as well as new companies and investors, and ultimately lead to a strengthening of the northern economy and to more jobs.’
‘The government aims to secure the continuity of university valorization programmes. This calls for a thematic bundling of forces, cooperation and one, clearly visible desk for everyone.’
‘Of course Zernike Campus stands out; it is a place where intensive cooperation between academia and industry already exists and leads to innovation. Companies such as Syncom and Polyvation, based on Zernike Campus, have their roots in the UG and UMCG. But our campus strategy is not limited to Zernike Campus, quite the contrary: in Friesland, the Dairy Campus, a leading knowledge platform for innovation in the dairy industry, opened last month, the new Health Campus Groningen is being developed on UMCG grounds, and the town of Roden in the province of Drenthe opened its Health Club Roden six months ago.’
‘Direct access to excellent knowledge, research and education, as well as the use of facilities such as advanced laboratories. Then there is access to the UG’s international contacts and inspiring surroundings where partners are literally only walking distance from each other. Several studies have shown that innovation often starts exactly like that, with walks down corridors, chance meetings, so a campus is the ideal place for this.’
‘Direct access to business, the opportunity to test knowledge and products on real consumers, access to contract research funds and private capital to perform new research, and use of the extra facilities necessary for excellent research. Take Innolab Chemie, a company that opened its doors last year: Innolab Chemie offers laboratory facilities and support services to chemistry start-ups. Or the Zernike Advanced Processing Facility (ZAP), that caters to companies that perform practical research and allows students to tackle actual cases from the processing industry. Both initiatives are based on the Zernike Campus.’
‘Research & Valorisation plays an important role in monitoring the campus and Research & Valorisation is the UG’s contact for businesses who wish to locate to a campus. We commit UG’s research valorisation projects to industry and social organizations.’
‘Now that we have a clear strategy, we need to communicate unequivocally. Recently, we appointed our own campus coordinator within the framework of the Groningen Agreement, a strategic alliancebetween the UG, Hanze UAS, the UMCG and the City of Groningen to reinforce the city’s position as the knowledge and innovation hotspot of the Northern Netherlands. The campus coordinator will initiate and coordinate activities and synchronize processes. These include monitoring, making campus strategy visible, real estate policy, parking policy, hospitality, PR and acquisition. What is missing is a catchy umbrella name for the Northern Netherlands campus. Any suggestions?’
Public private initiatives in which Groningen University and/or UMCG are involved:
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