School:University of Twente
- 1 Campus Overview
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The University of Twente is located in Europe in the city Enschede, The Netherlands. Founded in 1961 it now holds an approximate of 11.000 students. Originating as a technical university its motto “High Tech, Human Touch” describes how the university connects cutting edge technologies with society.
The university is located in Twente, the most entrepreneurial region of the Netherlands, with approximately 140 new start-ups in the region every year. With a Science and Business park across the road and lots of I&E resources, the University of Twente has a lot to offer to those willing to create a business.
In the past couple of years the University of Twente already went through some educational changes in favor of innovation and entrepreneurship. Its new Twents Education Model (T.E.M.) revolves around a multidisciplinary, project-based approach. One of the big strengths of the university is its student-driven activism, where student-driven organizations organize and arrange all sorts of things for their fellow students.
The University of Twente is part of the University Innovations Fellows program since Fall 2016. It is the first university in the Netherlands and Europe participating in the program.
Here is our story:
Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship
The University of Twente provides everything a student may desire to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship. Starting with their first steps on campus, the students come into contact with the vibrant activities off and on campus.
- Kick-In: Each year all freshman students kick off their academic career with a week full of activities to discover the university, the associations, the students, and the city.
- Student-associations: At the university, a wide variety of student-driven associations can be found. Study associations facilitate ordering books, excursions to companies, represent students throughout the university, and provide a platform for students of similar studies to meet. You can play the sport you love to play at one of the sport associations, practice your musical and cultural hobbies at one of the culture associations, or join a student association. In total there are over 100 different associations off and on campus that are active in various different ways to make a more complete study life. All associations are run by students and provide the possibility to partake in boards and committees. As such, they provided a great learning experience in organizing events and running organizations.
- Student teams: At the moment there are seven student teams at the university partaking in international competitions. The student teams focus on building vehicles driven by alternative energy sources, robotics, drones, etc.
- Start-up and entrepreneurship events: Such as the three day StartupLaunch weekend, the International Start-up Challenge, the two day Create Tomorrow case studies, the UT challenge, and the EntrepreneurialU are organized each year on the campus of the university.
- DesignLab: Science2design4society, the DesignLab provides a creative ecosystem for connecting science to society. In this space students from all fields of study work together to create all the crazy ideas they have!
- Internationalisation Department: Each year they organize two very interesting events, the CuriousU summer school, and the PreU promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among high school students. This makes students interested in the UT aware of the highly innovation-driven mindset of the current students.
- Week of Inspiration: As a yearly event, the Week of Inspiration is organized by students and is meant to broaden the knowledge areas of students. Many lectures relate to real-world problems that fuel the innovative mindset of UT students.
- The Business Days Twente: Offers a vast variety of activities that give students the chance to come into contact with companies. Amongst workshops and an ambition week, they organise a yearly two day long Career Fair, that allows students to talk to company representatives about their interests, internships and job opportunities.
- TEDx and Studium Generale: Offer discussion and workshop platforms with a high variety of topics for students and other interested parties. Often, expert speakers are involved in the guest lectures.
Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship
Research at the University of Twente aims to have both a social and an economic impact. With research departments focused on nanotechnology, ICT, biomedical technology, technical medicine, governance & behavioral sciences, engineering, geo-information sciences, and earth observation, the knowledge generated is of technical background and is also impactful for society. All summarized in its motto:
- ‘High Tech-Human Touch’
- ‘High Tech-Human Touch’
Connecting the research involving cutting edge high tech on campus with the (current) problems of society.
The UT has many research departments that represent faculty making strides in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship, on both a student level and research level.
Details about faculty I&E at the UT:
- 1,500 researchers work on a daily basis on relevant societal challenges in a large variety of disciplines
- Deliver over 2,700 publications a year, providing valuable input for scientific excellence and laying the foundations for new knowledge-based spin-offs such as DEMCON and SciSports.
- Transdisciplinary Master Insert ‘Shaping Responsible Futures’: Master students of the UT can follow this extracurricular course that addresses complex societal challenges and focuses on issues as transdisciplinary working, societal leadership and change making.
- NIKOS: This is a research group at the UT focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. They try to bring I&E closer to the students through several opportunities, namely:
- EntrepreneurialU: an entrepreneurial summer school
- High Tech-Human Touch minors: minor courses that all Bachelor students can follow to learn more about the societal issues the UT is working on with their state of the art research. One of these minors focuses on Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Business Development.
- program Entrepreneurship and Business Development: A bachelor honours programme for ambitious and motivated bachelor students to train students to become real-time entrepreneurs.
Actively supporting the university technology transfer function
At the moment there are two technology transfer offices at the university:
- Novel-T: As the entrepreneurial start-up hub of the university, Novel-T aims at connecting student startups to companies for collaboration, supporting with patents acquisition, and making research done here at the UT available to the wider public. In general they help startups to realise their solutions.
- Fraunhofer Institute: Focuses on creating a direct connection between innovative research and its application in the industrial workplace.
Facilitating university-industry collaboration
With the region Twente’s focus on businesses, innovation and entrepreneurship, the University of Twente is surrounded by organizations supporting entrepreneurs to develop their business. By hosting programmes, encouraging founders to share and discuss their ideas and furthermore by providing the knowledge and experience these organizations enable beginning businesses to evolve:
- Novel-T: The dutch incubator Novel-T supports entrepreneurs in many ways. Novel-T offers mentoring for starting businesses, programmes for young founders to understand the economy and how to develop their business, as well as legal advice at any stage of a growing business.
- Incubase: Incubase is founded and run by a former Novel-T team and offers students as well as start-ups space, knowledge and advice to share their experiences, gather more information and work together to make their project succeed.
- Hive01: Formerly known as New Entrepreneurial Student Society Twente, Hive01 offers young businesses and founders the opportunity to become investor ready, create their business plan and gain experience in presenting their ideas.
- Integrand: Integrand supports students to work in the industry. They provide students with fitting internships to gain insight on corporates and smaller businesses. Integrand also offers courses on Finance, Law and Technology that allows students to prepare them for their own business.
- UniPartners: UniPartners allows students to work on real-life projects based on companies’ cases. Therewith, motivated and engaged entrepreneurs can learn more about businesses and how to apply their academic knowledge in practice.
Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts
The region Twente, independent organizations and the University of Twente have the capabilities to provide start-ups with the necessary economical support. All of the following are readily available for students:
- Dutch Student Investment Fund An organization run by students in the European Union that helps to turn ideas into reality. The DSIF provides help with your idea, prototyping, financing and finding customers.
- University Fund: A fund organised by the University of Twente to fund ideas for events created on the campus.
- Cottonwood Technology Fund: A venture capitalist fund that invests in disruptive ideas in the Twente region. It has given a total of 10 million euros to a variety of start-ups from the University of Twente.
- Innovations Industries: A venture capitalist fund which is partnered with the University of Twente. They economically fund spin off projects originated from the UT. In 2018 Innovation Industries invested 1 million in IamFluidics.
- Twente Technology Fund: An independent venture capital fund aiming to capitalize on new technological developments. The fund focuses on seed and early stage companies.
- KIVI students Twente: A national organisation with a department in Twente. They organise events targeted for young engineers to inspire, connect and support their future career.
- Study Associations: Along with the aforementioned things, these associations also organise company visits for students within the associations’ field of study and collaborate with the industry through design case studies and projects.