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Society/business Commissioning research

Examples of partnerships

From baby food and injection needles to children with special needs: the University of Groningen’s expertise encompasses a wide range of research themes and we are therefore able to apply the latest academic insights in order to solve your knowledge issue.

Would you like to find out how we can help your company or organization? We are happy to show you examples of applications and products that we have developed with various collaboration partners.

How do you solve innovation problems for the SME sector?

Every year, students from Hanze UAS Groningen and the University of Groningen rack their brains about innovation problems in companies in the SME sector in the Northern Netherlands. Their solutions are revealed during Innovation Day at the Chamber of Commerce.

The collaboration helps to reinforce the link between higher education and SME in the region. It's a classic win-win situation: students get a better idea of job opportunities in the Northern Netherlands, and companies in the SME sector benefit from innovative ideas put forward by talented higher education students. Jan Willem van de Berg (AMCA Hydraulic Fluid B.V.): 'The students came up with the idea to cooperate with our mother company. Talking with hem would never have come to my mind,'

Northern businesses benefit from the ideas of students

How can the Groningen port area be developed further?

Collaboration with the UG provides Groningen Seaports with access to the latest academic insights, which in turn make an important contribution to its vision of the future and opportunities to further develop the port area. This partnership between Groningen Seaports and the Centre for Operational Excellence (COPE) of the Faculty of Economics and Business has thus far resulted in:

  • A model that indicates how harbours such as Groningen Seaports can become leading players in the emerging biofuels market supply chain
  • Research on the role that harbours can play in the supply chain of offshore wind parks, specifically in the fields of assembly and installation
  • An overview of factors that make it attractive for businesses to set up shop in this area, such as a data centre in the vicinity
  • An overview of the opportunities for clustering, for example to encourage the reuse of residual heat
  • Research into the opportunities and challenges involved in logistic flows in depopulating regions such as the province of Groningen

Arts students draw up literary reading guides

Students of the UG have been drawing up reading guides for Stichting Senia since 2010. The students work together with Senia workgroups to optimally tailor the reading guides to the wishes and prior knowledge of reading groups. Arts students find this an enjoyable and educational way of applying their knowledge of various languages to a practical situation.

Stichting Senia organizes and facilitates reading groups for senior citizens. Although the reading groups focusing on Dutch literature are most popular, there are also groups that read and discuss literature in French, German and English. The foundation annually provides a new reading list from which the groups can select books. Each book comes with a reading guide, a document with challenging discussion questions and background information about the book and its author.

In 2018, seventeen new reading guides will be drawn up by students: nine in Dutch, five in English and three in German. A record number of students have signed up this year to contribute to the reading guides.

How can we improve the modelling of water disasters in cities?

Cities increasingly often fall victim to extreme weather circumstances and natural disasters. In the Netherlands, water in particular is both friend and foe. It has always been difficult to quickly analyse and visualize the possible effects of a rain or other water disaster, and increasing heat in cities compounds the challenge. An interdisciplinary team of the UG, engineering bureau TAUW and Hanze University of Applied Sciences has improved the existing modelling methods. The team comprised experts in the fields of GIS (Geographical Information Systems), water, high performance computing and virtualization. During a pilot project conducted in Groningen and subsequently in Hoogeveen, 3D versions of existing flood maps were developed for a scenario with extreme rain and heat. The project was later expanded to Oslo, Tainan and Manila, cities with strongly varying water issues.

How can you improve current techniques and materials at nano level?

NanoFun (Nanostructured self-assembled functional materials) is a research project in which universities and industry are working together to improve current materials and techniques at nano level. Self-organization, for example, can be used to improve car tyres or types of steel, and improvements can be made to the production of microchips.

The programme, which is co-coordinated by M2i (the Materials Innovation Institute), has been allocated € 2.25 million by NWO Chemical Sciences. One million of this amount was donated by six industrial partners. Over the next five years, PhD students and postdoc researchers will work on projects such as improving the rolling resistance of car tyres by incorporating silicon particles into the rubber, modifying the surface of steel with polymers and decreasing the size of the patterns on silicon disks for the production of chips. The UG is working on the project together with the four Dutch universities of technology and six commercial companies: ASML, Philips SCIL, Continental, Tata Steel, Surfix and DSM.

How can you ensure that neighbourhoods remain suitable for the elderly?

Master’s students of Urban and Regional Planning at the UG were invited by the municipality of Groningen to investigate ways of ensuring that neighbourhoods remain suitable for senior citizens. The test case was the Ooosterpark neighbourhood in Groningen. In their report, the students advise taking the diversity of the senior citizen population into account and involving senior citizens in the design of their neighbourhood.

Cities and the neighbourhoods within them are changing continuously, creating new needs, opportunities and areas of tension. How can you transform neighbourhoods into living environments that are also suitable for the elderly? Unlike in the past, many senior citizens still live independently, encouraged to do so by central government. These changes have led to new needs and requirements on the part of senior citizens, for example concerning the accessibility of facilities, modifications to their homes and digital support.

How to optimize the productivity of an entire assembly line?

Even the most efficient assembly line will regularly experience downtime. The Mantis project is currently developing smart systems that can detect and solve problems along assembly lines. Sensors are used to gather information from the entire production chain and feed it into a self-learning system, which then uses this information to come up with solutions.

The Mantis project is part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, in which 47 partners from both the academic world and industry are involved. Professor Lambert Schomaker ’s Department of Artificial Intelligence will provide the machine-learning software.

How can we make sure that telephone conversations with the dispatch room are clear and to the point?

If you call the 112 emergency number to report an accident, robbery or fire, of course you want to be helped as quickly and as clearly as possible. This means that the telephone conversations with the dispatch room must be clear and to the point.

Communication studies specialist Prof. Tom Koole conducts research on these emergency calls. He focuses on how 112 conversations are initiated (the questions asked by the operator, the caller's expectations) and on how operators deal with emotional callers. The emergency services have optimized their communication partly based on Koole's research.

  • Article 'I want police now' in UK 02-06-2014 (Only available in Dutch)

How can we prevent bullying in schools as much as possible?

Effective teaching programmes are needed to help prevent bullying in schools. One example of such a programme is KiVa. Schools receive support from this programme via SocioQuest, an initiative of the Sociology department that aims to translate sociological knowledge into concrete solutions. The experiences of teachers are evaluated and integrated into the programme to create an effective interplay between academia and professional practice.

The Sociaal Netwerkadvies, a website with an online questionnaire that provides insight into the social structure of school classes, also uses academic knowledge to help prevent bullying. Collaboration between academics and school personnel thus provides a basis for successfully dealing with bullying.

Contact us

Are you interested in how the University could contribute to your business or organization? Feel free to contact us! We’d be delighted to provide more information about the collaboration possibilities.

Last modified:24 January 2023 09.26 a.m.
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