Page 1

Stories about knowledge transfer by Valorisation Centre

A direct contribution to the medical world Zaid Al-Ars

Solving wicked 21st century challenges David Peck

Reaping the profits of plastic waste Jaap Vandehoek en Peter Rem

1


2


Home of Innovation Stories about knowledge transfer by Valorisation Centre


Colophon Contents Production Valorisation Centre TU Delft, Malou Spruit Text and Editing Agaath Diemel

A direct contribution to the medical world Zaid Al-Ars

6

Lay-out Liesbeth van Dam Photography Marcel Krijger Print

Solving wicked 21st century challenges David Peck

10

Edauw en Johannissen

About the EIT-KICs

14

An interesting learning environment

16

Cong Mai Van

Sailing to Rio 2016 Carrie Howe

About TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute 4

20 25


Introduction

26

Heating up the world of electron microscopy

As a university, what better

Eric Kievit

converted into actual products and

outcome than that the findings of our research benefit society and that the expertise our researchers develop is technologies? This so-called knowledge

30

transfer, or valorisation, has been an official

Balancing the longand short-term approach to innovation Q&A with Yuri Sebregts

32

responsibility for Dutch universities since 2004. And here at TU Delft’s Valorisation Centre, we have dedicated ourselves to that task ever since. Our collaboration with the business community ranges from targeted contract research to joint participation in large research consortia. We encourage entrepreneurship through education, facilitate young entrepreneurs in our business incubator, and

Break-through in load-pull Mauro Marchetti

support spin-off companies via Delft Enterprises. Naturally, none of this can be achieved in isolation. Successful innovation depends on intensive interaction: with other research institutions, with the business sector, and with government agencies; with those scientists and students daring to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, and with businesses

36

willing to serve as launching customers.

Reaping the profits of plastic waste Jaap Vandehoek & Peter Rem

In this publication we have gathered a selection of our success stories, covering the width of TU Delft’s research portfolio and the companies within Delft Enterprises with topics ranging from DNA analysis to sports engineering. You will read how the Urban Mining Corp can turn plastic waste into profit, and how Anteverta-mw has delivered serious

40

energy savings to the telecommunications sector.

Delft Enterprises

The story of DENSsolutions in contrast, is one of a company born from a need within the scientific community itself. Zaid Al-Ars explains that the secret to successful innovation in the health sector is to immerse yourself in the world of medicine, and Cong Mai Van describes how Vietnam and the Netherlands are combining water expertise to mutual benefits. I hope you enjoy this journey through our Home of Innovation. Paul Althuis Director Valorisation Centre and Delft Enterprises


In November 2014, TU Delft organised its first Research Exhibition, showcasing more than 80 projects from all over the university. Dr. Zaid Al-Ars won the exhibition’s DIG-it! Award and a 10,000 euro grant for his research into speeding up DNA analysis for the diagnosis of cancer. Al-Ars and his colleagues at the department of Computer Engineering expect to increase the speed of analysis by a factor of ten.

A

s an expert in computer test and

Al-Ars explains: “The cost of getting DNA data went

reliability issues, in particular computer

down much faster than the computational speed of

memory testing, Zaid Al-Ars worked

computers increased. At some point a threshold was

for a number of years with Siemens

reached where the complexity and cost of analysing

Semiconductors and Infineon Technologies in

that data became higher than that of getting it.

Germany. Here he developed ways to improve the

Suddenly, biologists and geneticist, who had been

reliability analysis of memory devices. Returning

waiting all their lives to generate these data, had

to academia at TU Delft, where he had also

loads of data sitting on hard drives because no one

obtained his PhD, his work in this field continued.

had the capacity or funds to analyse it all.” So much

At the same time he started looking to diversify his

so, according to Al-Ars, that whole DNA datasets are

research; it was then that his interest was drawn to

already being deleted after they get analysed, as it

DNA analysis. “DNA analysis is a computationally

is more expensive to keep them stored than to re-

intensive process, and the computer is the current

sequence the same DNA sample again if necessary.

bottleneck in genomics”, says Al-Ars.

The solution is up to computer engineers, Al-Ars

First step

believes. “We now have to come up with ways to deliver the revolution in medicine and biology that

The project of unravelling the human genome took

society has been waiting for”, he says. Because

some fifteen years from inception to completion and

with the help of DNA analysis, patients should

cost around three billion dollars. Since then, the

receive faster and more accurate diagnoses and

cost of DNA sequencing has dropped dramatically

more personalised treatments for cancer and other

and sequencing a full genome is getting close

diseases. A worthy cause if ever there was one.

to breaking the 1,000 dollar barrier. At the same

But this was not the only reason Al-Ars was drawn

time, the speed of sequencing the genome has

to the subject. “I am interested in the fundamental

increased to the degree where a full genome can

questions that have kept humanity occupied for

be sequenced within a couple of days on a single

the whole of history. One of those is: what is life?

sequencing machine. “The UK, the Netherlands,

Where does it come from and what does it mean?

many countries now have their own genome

DNA brings us ever closer to understanding what life

projects, and there are databases with thousands of

really is. To be able to work in a field like genomics I

genomes”, says Al-Ars. However, DNA sequencing

find personally very fulfilling, and that makes me put

is only the first step. You need to analyse DNA data

in the extra effort.”

to obtain any meaningful outcomes. That involves

Like other computer engineers before him, Al-

comparing DNA sequences to reference DNA to see

Ars started accelerating the Smith-Waterman

if there are any mutations, and then evaluate the

algorithm, a sequence alignment algorithm that

relevance of these mutations.

finds similarities between DNA sequences. “Smith-

It is this time-consuming and expensive analytical

Waterman is a very accurate algorithm, and we

process that is now holding up the quantum leap

implemented this algorithm on a GPU, a graphics

forward in medicine that genomics promised to be.

processing unit and created the fastest know GPU

6


A DIRECT CONTRIBUTION TO THE MEDICAL WORLD Zaid Al-Ars

7


3 3 4

implementation at the time.” In recent years, graphic processing units are increasingly being used for data analytics because of their parallel processing capabilities. By running parts of the DNA sequence alignment process in parallel, it becomes less time-consuming. “Our application was very fast,

UMCs universities & companies

even faster than the approximate algorithms that biologists had been using so far.” Yet despite his fast and accurate solution, Al-Ars found the medical profession to be somewhat underwhelmed. “I understood that they are not so much interested in accuracy, but in getting their own algorithms implemented, even though these are approximate.” Or as one professor explained it to him: “Biology is 20 percent off anyway. My approximate algorithm

being used. He set some students on this task as

is my reality; I understand what it does and can

well, because being involved in research is part and

compare results to earlier findings. I won’t have that

parcel of becoming a (computer) engineer at TU

with a new, accurate algorithm.”

Delft.

Bridge the gap

Together they came up with some promising results, which have led to a prototype that is currently

This was back in 2011. Unlike other researchers

running in a cancer diagnostics computational

who had realised a performance improvement with

system in the field. “We are now developing this

the Smith-Waterman algorithm, and then found no

further together with them. It is meant to become

enthusiasm for it in the field, Al-Ars did not give up

an integral part of their genomics analysis pipeline

at this point, but decided to change track. “I realised

for the testing of all cancer patients coming into

there is a big difference in how computer scientists

the clinic.” In the future, this work can also prove

and medical professionals see the world, so I had

important for other patient groups. “We’re starting

to learn to understand their viewpoint.” A task he

with genomic analysis for cancer patients, because

took very seriously, following first-year biology

this is the most urgent group. Then we can gradually

courses in Leiden and devouring a 1,000 page

begin to address other challenges in patients

biology textbook. And that was not all. “This is a very

suffering from other types of genetic disease.”

diverse multidisciplinary field, where you have to deal with computer engineers, computer scientists

Come-back

and bio-informaticians, geneticists, biologists, as

The Smith-Waterman algorithm is making a come-

well as doctors and patients. You need to have some

back too. “Eventually we will have to improve not just

understanding of all of them to be able to speak their

the speed but the accuracy of our analyses as well,

language in order to bridge the gap.”

and the biological field is moving into that direction.

Then, in 2013, things became more urgent. “We

Already we’re seeing more hybrid solutions, where

started to collaborate with the University Medical

part of the algorithm is heuristic and part is accurate.

Center Utrecht and other international partners who

Smith-Waterman, for example, is a component

were using genomics in practice to diagnose child

of the solution we are offering now.” Improving

cancer patients. Because of a lack of computer

the performance of the computational elements

capacity they could not diagnose all children”, says

is just one direction Al-Ars and his colleagues

Al-Ars. “All of a sudden, it turned from a research

are exploring. “We are also trying to optimise the

subject and personal interest into reality. Patients

various components of the computer system. So

were actually waiting for a technology that could

we are looking to improve other elements such

diagnose and help them faster.” So Al-Ars found the

as the memory architecture, the communication

necessary financial resources and set

infrastructure and the speed of the storage system.”

to work developing hardware that could address

Even though a lot of his time is now going into his

the specific genomic mapping algorithms that were

genomics work, his other research also continues.

8


“We are using genomics analysis as a relevant

see if you can make sequential algorithms somehow

application domain to develop more generalized

run in parallel, by using a distributed architecture.

solutions for other applications and research

If you come with a method that does this efficiently,

developments we are working on in our group”,

you’ll have a billion dollar solution on your hands.”

explains Al-Ars. Of course, many problems are not confined to genomics alone. Scalability for

Award

example, is a fundamental problem in computer and

Winning the DIG-it! Award was a welcome boost to

engineering science today. “Processor frequency

the visibility of his work. “We can use it as a platform

cannot go any higher, so we are now looking at

to present our work and connect with other people”,

working with more processing cores. The problem

says Al-Ars. “Because developments in genomics

here is that programmes will not automatically run

happened so fast, everybody is trying to implement their own solution. There are many players and

‘DNA analysis is a computationally intensive process, and the computer is the current bottleneck in genomics’

nobody knows exactly what is going on where. It is definitely helpful that people see what we have to offer them.” All the more so, because they are now commercialising the technology through the startup company Bluebee. Al-Ars was also delighted with the award on a personal level. “I find it important as an acknowledgement. So far my work in this field has been a personal effort and this has been a huge motivator to continue that effort.” Not that he was not motivated already. “This research is relevant and fulfilling at all levels: societally, scientifically,

faster if you increase the number of processors.”

and personally. To feel that you can make a

That is because many computer programmes are

direct contribution to needs in our society is very

sequential; they have to finish one step before

rewarding. It is rare that we as computer engineers

executing the next. Parallelism is now the new

can contribute directly to the medical world. And to

challenge. “This is a very active field of research.

feel that you are making it easier and faster to treat

People are trying to come up with new algorithms

child cancer patients, makes this one of the best

that are more parallel. Another direction is trying to

research topics you can find.” <<

Bluebee Zaid Al-Ars is one of the co-founders of

genomics solutions that will enable

€1.75 million from a group of investors.

Bluebee, that was founded in 2011 as

research and clinical labs to reduce

With this money they intend to move

a spin-off of the TU Delft and Imperial

costs and time-to-diagnose. Bluebee’s

their business into other European

College London. Al-Ars combines his

high-performance systems make it

countries.

works as assistant professor at TU

possible to perform large-scale DNA

Delft with heading the development

analysis orders of magnitude faster.

division of Bluebee. Bluebee develops

In May 2015, Bluebee raised a total of

9


SOLVING WICKED 21st CENTURY CHALLENGES David Peck TU Delft is a core partner in the consortium that has won the bid for a European Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on Raw Materials in 2014. The new KIC wants to turn the challenge of raw materials dependence into a strategic strength for Europe, and has an estimated total budget of €2 billion over the next seven years to help it do so. David Peck, senior research fellow and project manager at the Valorisation Centre, was closely involved with the winning bid, and is now engaged in lining-up projects for TU Delft to participate in.

T

he one thing people should not do,

Technology Readiness Level.” That is why a KIC

says David Peck, is to think of the KIC

consortium has to be balanced in participants,

as another typical EU research funding

comprising of businesses, universities and research

programme, such as the former Seventh

institutions: the so-called knowledge triangle of

Framework programme (FP7) or the current Horizon

innovation, education and research. Over 110

2020. “It is not just about funding Master’s and PhD

partners make up the KIC Raw Materials, including

students either, though that is part of it. The focus

fellow Dutch research organisation TNO as a core

is very much on reinforcing Europe’s innovation

partner. Among the other Dutch associate partners

capacity by creating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow”,

are Leiden and Radboud Nijmegen Universities, and

he explains. “The goal of a KIC is to encourage the

water technology institute Wetsus.

process from idea to product, from lab to market,

This all came about, according to Peck, following a

from student to entrepreneur. So it aims at a higher

European Commission review of the FP7. “Currently,

10


the majority of research funding in most EU

Look at energy, for example. You can’t choose

countries is national, with only a small percentage

between either solar or wind energy; you need both.

coming from the EU. What the commission noticed

You can’t simply pick winners.” Another difference

is that you get the same kind of research projects,

with former programmes is the length. Funding by

with the same products, coming out of various EU

the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

member states. That might be a brilliant piece of

(EIT) lasts for seven years instead of three, and the

research, but it is still a duplication of tax payers

programme foresees activities coming out of the KIC

money”, says Peck. Moreover, the EU has an

that will last for much longer. “Entrepreneurship is

overall strategic agenda: the grand challenges for

one example, but there could also be non-for-profit

the 21st century. So with the KIC the EU hopes to

entities, offering advice or services.” Lessons were

get member states to align more with those grand

also learned from the three earlier KICs (there are

challenges, as well as to encourage more effective

now five KICs running). “Some of the KICs had

research by encouraging them to work together,

too narrow a focus. For example a start-up rapidly

unleashing a powerhouse of European innovation

becomes an SME (MKB in Dutch) and needs

potential.

continuing support. So there is special attention for

Lesson learned

SME support now as well.” In a further challenge to the traditional norm the KIC will deliver challenging

Peck believes it can work. “This programme has all

results on female participation, something TU Delft

the right ingredients. It looks at the challenge of raw

is a champion of.

materials across the entire materials value chain,

Peck got involved with the bid during the writing

from sourcing to reuse/recycling. It also challenges

phase. “The generic framework had been drawn

the practice of backing any single solution, which is

up by that time, and TU Delft was one of the last

what funders have been doing too much in the past.

partners to join the consortium, so we had to move

You need a multiple-strategy approach for these

very fast. It wasn’t an easy decision. One of the

multidimensional, cross -disciplinary challenges.

financial aspects is that as a core partner we have

11


join forces with four or five other universities. But that is just one example in one area.” Another area that could be of particular interest in the coming years is the up-scaling of projects. “That is a highcost activity, and a substantial part of the budget is going towards that. Of course, that offers a wonderful research playground, but it must result in new ideas and technologies that are really valuable for businesses”. Education in the KIC goes beyond traditional higher education to include continuing education and wider society learning, something Peck also strongly believes in. “In the Netherlands, we are currently not focussing enough on the existing workforce. to put in 100,000 Euro per year. But as a core

But if you are made redundant at fifty, you may

partner, you are also involved in the decision-making

have another twenty years of productivity that you

process.”

need the skills for. In purely economic terms it is

Peck himself was immediately enthusiastic. “The

an expensive waste if a person over fifty is never

core of the Raw Materials programme is all about

employed again. This is a major problem all over

closing material loops. I was very pleased: that is

Europe. Retraining people can unlock that potential.”

exactly my research and education area”, he says.

The same goes for healthy living and active ageing,

He is not the only one with strong links to the

he says. “The theory is that keeping an active mind

subject matter. The KIC’s programme focusses on a

will lower the burden on the health and support

number of key market areas – mobility, machinery &

systems. Those in their ‘third age’ can stay active

equipment, ICT, and energy supply – and talks about

and contribute more to society, perhaps voluntary.

research areas such as mining, geological science,

But how many programmes do we currently have?

materials science, product design, and the urban

The KIC could fund such activities.”

environment. “That’s us at TU Delft”, concludes

Lifelong learning, in other words. That is something

Peck. “Simply put, it is all about where materials are,

Peck knows all about. He obtained a BSc in

how we can get at them, how we can better process

European Engineering at Coventry University,

them and with reduced losses, and how we can

including a year at Osnabrück University in

look for materials in other places, such as the urban

Germany, became a chartered engineer at the

environment. Also, how we can replace certain

Royal Aeronautical Society, and did an MBA at the

toxic or critical materials, and how we can design

University of Warwick. He complemented this with a

products for the circular economy?

post-graduate degree in teaching from Coventry, and

That covers a broad range of our materials thinking.

is currently finishing a PhD at TU Delft. He worked

One reason we got in, was that the outside world

for years in the aerospace industry, among others

knows how good we are at this.”

on the operations and maintenance side. “I wasn’t a

Early days

materials specialist per se, but corrosion and metal fatigue and so on are all material-related problems.”

So what kind of projects will TU Delft be looking to

In the 1990s he got involved with asbestos deletion,

bid for? “It’s early days yet”, says Peck. “We are

which taught him the size of the challenge of

in the build-up phase and projects won’t start until

replacing materials. “People often ask, why can’t we

2016. Right now we are developing key liaison

just use something else? But technically that is really

people within our eight faculties.” New external

complicated.”

partners will also be welcome. “The consortium will open up again in 2016. There are enough

Critical materials

universities already, but businesses are very

In his current research on circular design and critical

welcome.” After all, the KIC is all about collaboration,

materials, he was inspired by British Economist

he stresses. “Say, if we want to set up a new

Nicholas Stern. “He was the first major academic

Master’s programme on raw materials, we would

to say that it will seriously impact our economy if

12


we don’t address climate change.” Pack wanted

is multidisciplinary, complex, dynamic, and full of

to take that notion into the product design sphere,

human interference, which is often irrational, making

but that proved harder than it seemed. “It rapidly

it hard to apply any single scientific approach to it.

became obvious to me that if you talk about

They don’t behave ‘normally’, neither in an economic

invisible, odourless CO2 in the upper atmosphere,

sense, nor in a materials science sense. They are

which is going to have some effect on the weather

special. And there are gaps in our knowledge here.”

at some time in the future, you can quickly lose

It is also what the KIC is all about. “We have to deal

product designers. And even I, who understood the

with challenges such as mobility and energy, which

problem really well, had trouble translating it into

are all related to climate change. To do that we want

product design. A wood veneer cover for your laptop

electric mobility, smart grids, smart cities, and so on,

doesn’t address the issue.” Through meetings with

which are all depending on critical materials. So the

TNO he realised the importance of critical materials.

solution spaces for this critical materials challenge

“Every product designer is unconsciously selecting

are also the solution spaces for the climate change

these ‘invisible’, critical materials. For example

challenge. That is what makes it so interesting.”

terbium, gallium, dysprosium etc. for a mobile

Peck is under no illusion that a range of new

phone. We face future challenges in keeping up

approaches will meet global demands in the next

with the demand in view of the rate of production,

few decades. “In 40 years time we might be mining

consumption and waste”, he explains.

asteroids or have substitutes. But what are we going to do to keep the show on the road in the meantime?

Complexity

We should, along with developing innovative new

Defining the challenge does not solve it however.

ways of mining in the earth, be looking at where

“The basic economic thinking is that if something is

critical materials exist within our society.” That is

getting scarce, and demand is high, there will be a

called urban mining, an area of interest in both the

lot of investment to try and solve the problem. That

KIC and Horizon 2020. It is just one of what Peck

can be true for mainstream commodity materials.

calls the ‘wicked challenges of the 21st century’,

The trouble with critical materials is that they are

quoting his PhD supervisors Prabhu Kandachar and

often traded off-screen. How much is being traded,

Jan Buijs. “Reuse, Remanufacturing and Recycling

as well as production circumstances and supplies

for example is another massive challenge”, he says.

are unclear.” The complexity does not end there.

He also points out a possible right direction. “The

“Even what critical materials are is not fixed; the

solution lies in multi-disciplinary thinking, which

list is dynamic. Then there is the question of where

is a strength of TU Delft, at all levels. Those who

they are used in the production process: they may

don’t think that therein lies the solution, will never

not be in the final product, but you need them for

succeed. That only worked in the 20th century linear

the processes.” This makes critical materials ideally

economy.“ <<

suited as an academic subject, Peck believes. “It

Follow the money As a core partner TU Delft can enter

university’s own funds. “KIC added

H2020, Marie Curie etc.” Moreover,

unlimited bids for projects, and with

value activities – or KAVAs – can use

Peck believes that if you are in a KIC

a total budget of € 2 billion over the

non-EU sources, such as in our case

consortium, you are well-aligned with

next seven years, that could fund

Dutch technology foundation STW

what the European Commission is

a lot of activities. The European

or the Netherlands Organisation for

doing. It is planned that this should

Institute of Innovation and Technology

Scientific Research NWO”, he explains.

even improve TU Delft’s score rate in

(EIT) is responsible for the funding,

“Then there are KIC complementary

H2020 bids. “For instance, it takes out

but mechanisms can seem a bit

activities. Those are projects that

the difficulty of finding new partners

complicated. “It is often said that you

feed in or take out knowledge from

every time to form a consortium when

can only get 25 percent funding, but

the consortium, or have formed

a call comes out. If you know the right

that is not true”, says Peck. According

another consortium with partners from

people, and have been working with

to the kind of activity, various forms of

the KIC. Such activities can make

them and know your research aligns

co-funding can be applied, eliminating

use of national, regional, private, or

with theirs, you stand a lot better

the need for matching from the

even EU non-EIT funding, meaning

chance.”

13


About the KICs KIC stands for Knowledge and Innovation

KIC funding

Community. All five KICs fall under the European

The KICs work with a specific funding structure

Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). This

which includes:

European body, which was created in 2008, fosters

• KAVA: KIC Added Value Activity (co-funding).

innovation and sustainable growth in Europe.

KAVAs are partly or completely funded by the EIT

TU Delft is involved with four KICs: Climate-KIC, EIT

and are KIC activities that directly contribute to the

Digital, EIT Health and EIT Raw Materials. In 2016

KIC’s or EIT objectives

there will be calls for two new KICs: Food4Future

• KCA: KIC Complementary Activity (complementary

and Added Value Manufacturing. In 2018 a call will

funding). These are KIC activities that have a link

go out for the KIC Urban Mobility.

with at least one KAVA and are not financed from the EIT contribution.

KIC objectives tangible – and where possible marketable –

What is the role of the Valorisation Centre in the KICs?

innovations. The KICs have a minimal duration of 7

• Grant advisory on proposals, training and

A strong focus lies on entrepreneurship to create

years, are organised by theme and bring together

information

leading players in higher education, research and

• Identifying business partners for projects

business.

• Project management service for large scale projects and consortia • Intellectual Property Rights, start-ups, venturing.

Climate-KIC Between

2010 - 2014 originated at TU Delft are supported by the Climate-KIC Accelerator Programme

TU Delft received nearly

€ 11.000.000

• Technology, Policy and Management • Architecture and the Built Environment • Civil Engineering and Geosciences • Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science • Industrial Design Engineering 14


Overview of the four KICs in which TU Delft participates Name

Start

Scope

Climate-KIC

2010

Climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change

EIT Digital (formerly EIT ICT Labs)

2010

Foster digital technology innovation

EIT Health

2015 (start up phase)

Improvement of the quality of life of Europe’s citizens and the sustainability of the healthcare system

EIT Raw Materials

2015 (start up phase)

Sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution

EIT Digital TU Delft

Between

fall under the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

2010 - 2014

participates in a European master programme ‘ICT Innovation’ with

TU Delft received nearly

€ 3.000.000

other universities

Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science • Architecture and the Built Environment • Technology, Policy and Management •

15


Cong Mai Van 16


In December 2013, TU Delft and Water Resources University Vietnam (WRU) joined forces in VINWATER, The Vietnam Netherlands Centre for Water and Environment. VINWATER carries out commissions in the field of water management for third parties, such as the Vietnamese government. It is a new phase in the longstanding relationship between the two universities, says Dr Cong Mai Van, associate professor and expert in the field of water resources engineering and risk-based design.

C

ollaboration of the two universities

an environment that would facilitate the exchange of

started back in 1998, when the first

students and scientists to work together on research

Memorandum of Understanding was

and educational projects.”

signed. “Between 1998 and 2008 we

received subsidies from the Dutch government

Challenges

aimed at the capacity building of our coastal

The challenges that Vietnam faces are comparable

engineering education”, says Dr Cong Mai Van. “TU

to those of the Netherlands. The country has

Delft played an important part in that. In those years,

thousands of kilometres of coastline and a large

some twenty MSc students and four PhD candidates

part of the population, agriculture and industry is

came from Vietnam to study in Delft and graduated.”

concentrated in the complex deltas of the Mekong

Mai Van was one of them. After doing his BSc in

and the Red River. “Our Mekong Delta is basically

hydraulic engineering at the WRU, he came to

the situation in the whole of the Netherlands”, says

Delft for his MSc. He next embarked on a PhD,

Mai Van.

graduating in 2010 on his thesis on a risk-based

That makes for ample mutual learning opportunities.

approach for coastal protection and flood

Vietnam is facing salinization of farmland, drought,

defences. Since then, he has been working as a

insufficient irrigation capacity and threats to

key researcher and principal lecturer at WRU.

valuable ecosystems, as a result of sea-level rise,

The long-standing relationship between the two

longer rainy seasons and frequent tropical storms.

universities was an important factor for the setting-

The country is looking to Dutch expertise for an

up of VINWATER, but there was another reason

integrated approach of these issues. “We have

too. In 2012, The Netherlands stopped its financial

lots of local ways of dealing with these problems,

development aid to Vietnam, as the Vietnamese

but no integrated approach to solve them yet. The

economy had grown consistently over the previous

Netherlands are the leading country in the field of

years. Though this is good news in itself, it did mean

integrated water management.”

a rethinking of the relation between the universities.

Mai Van sees two interrelated problems in terms

“Our relationship developed from a subsidy-driven

of water management in Vietnam. “We have too

one into one of equal partnership”, says Mai Van,

much water in the rainy seasons, causing flooding

who was then about to return to Vietnam. Together

and inundation in both the cities and in residential

with Paul Althuis, director of the TU Delft Valorisation

rural areas. In the dry seasons, however, we are

Centre, he was closely involved in the establishment

facing water shortages.” This calls for an integrated

of VINWATER. “Both universities decided to create

water management system. “That is one of the

17


big questions in Vietnam at the moment”, he says. “There is awareness at a national level. I also see a rising trend in local governments investing in research and trying to find solutions. However, it is often difficult to find a consultant or institution that can advice on or provide integrated solutions.” It is here then, that VINWATER comes into its own. “The role of VINWATER is to facilitate the collaboration between Dutch and Vietnamese experts. We have

thematic fields

the network and know who can do what. We supply local support to Dutch organisations, and we can acquaint Dutch scientists with those with local expertise. We also want to make sure that any projects that are actually undertaken in Vietnam can

Mekong Delta can develop, given a variety of future

‘One of our general aims is creating an environment where students and lecturers and scientists can work together and exchange knowledge’

natural conditions and changing socio-economic circumstances.” According to Mai Van, the project was undertaken the Dutch way, by which he means the Dutch tradition for consensus decision-making. “The Dutch first met with the Vietnamese experts and thought up likely future scenarios. Then we drew up a desirable picture for the Mekong Delta in 100 years and looked at the various ways we could get there and what kind of problems we would face along the way. We also looked at the short-, mid- and long-term investments that would involve.” The final outcomes were presented in an advice from the Dutch to the Vietnamese government, who

profit from the state of the art in Dutch water science

is now setting up research projects based on the

and technology.”

plan, depending on what are deemed to be the first

So far, VINWATER has developed several activities.

priorities.

“In our first year we supported, among others, the Holland Delta Consortium”, says Mai Van.

Red River

The Holland-Delta consortium is an initiative of

Another project currently under way is looking into

consultancy firms and research institutes, who are

the application of remote sensing and geographic

involved in a number of projects. One of these is the

information systems (GIS) for integrated water

development of a Mekong Delta Portal, a web-based

management in Vietnam’s other main river, the

information portal and decision support system for

Red River in Northern Vietnam. TU Delft is leading

flood control and water resources management. The

this project that is financed by Partners for Water.

Mekong Delta is vulnerable to flooding and droughts,

“In these cases we provide local support, such as

and with the climate set to change further, this will

logistics, and we bring foreign researchers into

only get worse. Increasing extreme weather events

contact with local experts. We do that for all Dutch

such as typhoons are a threat to people’s lives and

companies and institutes involved”, says Mai Van.

livelihoods.

“Recently we also won a project on the development

The idea for the Mekong Delta Portal originated

of a healthy landscape and ecosystem in the

from the Mekong Delta Plan, of which Mai Van was

Red River Delta.” VINWATER is here part of the

associate project team leader. “The name Mekong

consortium that will look at the ecosystem-friendly

Delta Plan actually does not cover all the outcomes

development of land and water resources by way

of the project”, he says. “A group of experts got

of sustainable urban drainage, agroforestry and

together to look at potential scenarios of how the

minimum tillage.

18


Learn in practice

proposals or as experts in their particular fields of

Though not all water issues facing Vietnam are

knowledge. We will keep them up to date on our

applicable to the Dutch situation, one certainly is.

activities and encourage them to come up with

“The most important thing that the Dutch could learn

initiatives for research projects.”

from the Vietnamese is how to practically deal with

For the first few years VINWATER will receive

the problem of rising sea levels. That is one of the

contributions from both participating universities.

most crucial problems the Dutch will face in the

However, the aim is to become financially

future”, says Mai Van. “You are experts in building

independent over time. “In the long term we should

on water and living with water, but in actual fact you

be able to finance our activities and the running of

have not had any serious water incidents for the last

the centre with income generated from assignments

few decades. Here in Vietnam they are happening

and contract research,” explains Mai Van. “We do

year after year. That means you can learn here in

not aim for profit. Any revenues will be reinvested

practice, and use that experience to improve your

in research projects.” Nevertheless, he foresees

technology.” In other words, Vietnam can offer the

a healthy future for the Dutch-Vietnamese joint

Dutch a very interesting learning environment, and

venture in the current climate. “In Vietnam, there

that is exactly what VINWATER is all about. “One of

are government research institutes and pure

our general aims is creating an environment where

consultancies. We provide research consultancy

students and lecturers and scientists can work

services, meaning we are complementary to existing

together and exchange knowledge.”

organisations. Therefore, they do not see us as

Graduates

competitors, but as partners.” Hence, the relations with both the local and Dutch business communities

An important part in VINWATER will be played by

are very good. “We are building up contacts and

the local experts who graduated at TU Delft. “We

we have already created an impressive network.

will mobilise all the suitable experts to participate in

We know the local situation and can provide

our projects, but the most active group will be those

local expertise at local fees. In short, we can be

who graduated from Delft. They will be involved in

the linking pin between Dutch and Vietnamese

various ways, for example in the writing of research

organisations.” <<

19


20


SAILING TO RIO 2016 Carrie Howe Magic Marine has been providing innovative, performance-based sailing clothing to top sailors since 1989. The brand is constantly looking to improve its high-tech sailing gear even further, so when they were approached by InnoSportLab Sailing to participate in a project aimed at developing next-generation Olympic sailing gear, Magic Marine were happy to come aboard. Brand manager Carrie Howe looks back on the three-year project.

A

pproaching the offices of MBrands

Howe knows what she is talking about. Sailing

International in Katwijk, you could be

from the age of eight, she was a member of the

mistaken in thinking you are closer to

US Sailing Team that went to Beijing Olympics in

the harbour then you really are. It’s the

2008, and in 2011 she was the only woman taking

flocks of seagulls and that peculiar, fishy harbour

part in the 34th America’s Cup. She moved to the

smell that do it. As it happens, the country’s largest

Netherlands with her now-husband. “During my

fish processing company is located just around the

Olympic career I travelled the world and learned that

corner. Once inside at MBrands International the

you can live anywhere. Then I met Max Blom, who

marine theme continues though, with walls covered

said ‘if you are living here, you have to come and

with evocative pictures of sailors in action and a

work for us.’ What I do now is very interesting; it has

showroom full of apparel and accessories. “This

all the commercial aspects, and then there is the

is our global headquarters”, says Carrie Howe,

contact with sailors, of whom I know how they work

worldwide manager sales and marketing. “Here

and think.”

we house our European stock and we have also concentrated all our design, logistics, invoicing,

Bridge the gap

marketing departments etc. here. We do everything

It was for these commercial aspects that Magic

in-house, though we have some warehouses in

Marine was asked to join the InnoSportLab initiative.

other locations as well.”

“We are a partner in InnoSportLab, and we were

MBrands International is a Dutch company owned

pulled to see if we would be able to take projects

by Max Blom, a competitive sailor himself, and

to the commercial side. The idea was to produce

also an otherwise well-known name in sailing.

new Olympic sailing clothing for the Dutch team.

Blom is among others the founder and chairman

We have had a number of TU Delft students here

of the NPJ Dutch Youth Race Sailing Platform. His

working on this.” The students embarked on several

company currently owns two brands, Magic Marine

projects aimed at different aspects of sailing. “Sailing

and Mystic. “Mystic is our brand for kite boarding,

is a very diverse sport; all classes of boats are

windsurfing, wake boarding and Stand Up Paddling”,

different and that makes for different necessities in

says Howe. Sports that are not just a hobby, but a

terms of gear,” explains Howe. “That was the first

way of life, according to the brand’s website. “Mystic

question mark: how can we focus better on each

is more fashion- and lifestyle-oriented, whereas

particular type of boat? Another aspect is that when

sailing is more concerned with technical aspects.

you sail, half the race might be extremely hot and

Sailors are more focused on performance.”

the other half very cold. So one of the questions

21


was: are there any techniques or smart fabrics to

outfits to increase their performance.” After all, ‘no’

bridge that gap?” Other projects focussed on the

is an answer too. “You do want to find something

design of a lightweight buoyancy aid, and a leg

extraordinary, but that is not always the case”,

support for hiking.

she continues, “They did find out though, that the

Aerodynamics

way the sailors hold their body does make a lot of difference, so that was an unexpected result.” This

Some fundamental questions were addressed too,

is especially important in hiking, where the sailor’s

on aerodynamics for example. The assumption was

body leans over the edge of the boat. “With hiking

that a reduction in the drag caused by the sailing

your body works as a lever against the power in

clothing should increase the speed of the boat,

the sail. Your posture turns out to determine how

an idea that was inspired by the results of earlier

effective you are at that.”

research on clothing for ice-skaters. To verify the assumption, TU Delft arranged wind tunnel testing,

Comfort

which had some surprising outcomes. “We found

Comfort is the most important factor when it

out that the faster the boat is, the more the clothing

comes to clothing, believes Howe, who favours the

influences the performance. But the differences

minimalist approach. “Sailors should not feel, or be

were so miniscule that we were able to say, don’t

affected by their clothing. At the same time, it should

worry about it.” In fact, even for the smallest boats,

provide the warmth or cooling that is needed at that

where the effect of the sailor will be relatively

particular moment.” That is not as straightforward as

largest, the clothing only caused about one per cent

it sounds. “This is more complicated than with any

of the aerodynamic drag. “The boat already causes

other sport, because with sailing you spend whole

so much friction, that the clothing plays only a minor

days on the water. The morning can start out hot

part.”

and windless, and by the end of the day it can be

That is an interesting outcome in itself, according

cold, windy and wavy. Or the other way around. So

to Howe. “If it is less important than we thought,

you need clothing that is adaptable.”

then sailors can be more relaxed about what to

Scientifically speaking, this is all about

wear, and they don’t have to wear uncomfortable

thermodynamics, where heat is generated by the

22


body when exercising and then exchanged with the environment. This influences sailors’ thermal comfort as well as performance. Bottom line is that energy used up cooling or heating the body, can not be used for the job of sailing. Smart clothing design and materials may be the answer. As part of the project an intricate simulation model was developed that can be used to evaluate the effect of a sailing suit and suit designs on the body’s thermal balance during a race. Working on from there, designs for new suits were proposed, as well as new materials. “We found one smart material that will close its weave when it gets wet, so it is

pads underneath the leg, but new materials and

more breathable than anything else there is on the

technologies such as laser cutting make for stronger

market.” So far, the sourcing of such a material has

and less invasive products.” The new design is

proved difficult, but that doesn’t faze Howe: “A lot of

made up of a number of layers of material that each

knowledge has been built over the past few years.

add to the comfort and effectiveness of the product.

Even if nothing has been commercialized yet, the

Also, the actual foam pads now have a tapered

goal is to do so in the future.”

shape that gives the best pressure distribution.

Closest to realisation are the assignments that

It is also lighter, but that was a given, according to

were aimed at specific products from the start, i.e.

Howe. “That is what all projects had in common: the

the buoyancy aid and the hiking pads. “We looked

results had to be lighter, because in sailing every

into designs for a more streamlined life jacket. The

gram counts. That limits your options, but if you

problem is that the CE rules by which you have to

develop something that is heavy, sailors simply will

abide, are very strict. That is why buoyancy aids are

not wear it.”

so bulky and heavy. We came up with some pro-

To help sailors choose what they should wear on

mising new ideas and we now have some proto-

a given day, an app was conceived that combines

types.” The research showed that by carefully repo-

information on water temperatures, wind speeds,

sitioning the foam panels, and reducing the amount

scientific qualities of the fabrics, and so on.

of foam used, a much lighter vest could be made.

“According to what boat you are sailing, it will show you what to wear”, says Howe. “The app

‘Sailing is a very diverse sport; all classes of boats are different and that makes for different necessities in terms of gear’

centres on an incredibly complicated algorithm. As a commercial company we would never have had the time to spend on that.” This could be the main benefit for Magic Marine. “Our in-house design team does not have the time to go into application projects at such a deep level. These students could really go into the mechanics and other aspects. This way, we built up a lot of new insights and knowledge that we can now make further use of.”

The design also allowed for more freedom

Howe enjoyed working with the students, and

of movement, and still provided the required 50N

was impressed with their knowledge on research

of buoyancy. However, the arduous certification pro-

and design. She also had a good rapport with her

cess means that these have not hit the shelves yet.

counterpart at TU Delft, Dr Arjen Jansen of the

Certification plays no part in the design of hiking

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, who was

pads, so this is the project closest to fruition. Hiking

in charge of the project. “Our job was to teach the

puts pressure on the thigh; to counteract this, pads

students about the sport and get them in touch with

are worn around the leg to protect it from the boat.

the sailors. Arjen Jansen ensured that the projects

“The old-school solution is to have fibreglass

were interesting on a commercial level, so that there

23


was the feasibility of an actual product. He also made sure the students flourished as far as their final thesis was concerned”, explains Howe.

Testing Together with Jansen she also set up the necessary testing. “He knows the sport, so jointly we were able to set up tests, based on what we thought would be effective.” That involved test persons as well. “We worked a lot with intermediate sailors, and with the Dutch Talent Team. Only when a project comes to a certain level will the Olympic sailors be involved.” That is not just done to spare the top sailors during their busy competition schedules, but for other reasons, too. Sometimes sailors – especially at the top level – can have preconceived ideas about products. Also, since they are less trained than the Olympic sailors, others will sooner experience pain or discomfort when testing a product. So what do the Olympic sailors think about the results so far? “They are under embargo until after the Olympics”, says Howe. “But I know they are positive about the partnership and interested in any ideas.” Whether the Dutch sailors will strike gold in Rio, remains to be seen then. But so far four TU Delft MSc students have graduated on their research at Magic Marine. Now that is a result indeed. <<

24

Sail Simulator A sail simulator allows you to train when the weather conditions are unsuitable, or under conditions that are different from those where you are (e.g. training in The Netherlands for Rio 2016). TU Delft professor Jouke Verlinden has developed such a simulator, in collaboration with Stentec, Watersportverbond and NOC*NSF. The hope is that Dutch sailors will win even more medals in the future with this simulator, which is the best in the world. Another idea that is being explored is whether the sailing simulator could be used by disabled athletes. According to professor Verlinden, designing a sailing simulator is no mean feat: “When you’re sailing, you’re pulling a rope and the rope will also pull back; it’s the feedback that makes it difficult to create a sailing simulator. It’s much more difficult than a flight simulator or a driving simulator.”


About TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute At TU Delft we take sports seriously. Quite a few of our

sports engineering can profit from technologies developed

scientists are active in sports innovation. With the help of

in other areas, but there is cross-fertilization also. This is

aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, biomechanics, materials

especially so in such fields as health care and mobility,

sciences and other disciplines they work on the best sporting

which have great overlap with sports. For example, RFID

techniques, materials and equipment. Their goal is twofold:

tracking equipment has been used for years in sporting

to help athletes push back the limits of their ability, and to

events, and it is now used in operating rooms for keeping

stimulate the participation in grassroots sport in order to

track of instruments.

create a healthier society. Needless to say, students enjoy

Since 2012, TU Delft has concentrated its sports engineering

sports too: as a means to unwind and refuel, but also as

activities in the TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute. By

an attractive subject for (graduation) projects and research

promoting and organising all sports research and education,

assignments.

the institute hopes to take sports engineering to the elite

Sports and sciences make a good team. Sport research

level. The institute’s agenda includes the direct application

offers excellent opportunities for national and international

of research results within sports practice, an increase in the

exposure of our research and innovations to a broad

involvement of industry, and the creation of valuable spin-off

audience. Elite sports are a great environment to test new

to both business and society.

ideas and principles in the field of sports engineering. Often,

Co-operation with

5

Faculties

4

Dream teams

Host of the

ISEA 2016 Conference World’s largest conference on sports engineering

• Aero- and hydrodynamics • Biomechanics, materials and human material interaction • Measurement, feedback and simulation • Motivation and persuasion to compete in sports, play and exercise • Sports infrastructure and facilities 25


HEATING UP THE WORLD OF ELECTRON MICROSCOPY Eric Kievit

DENSsolutions is the quintessence of a successful company born from a need within the scientific community itself. Professor Henny Zandbergen, head of the National Centre for High Resolution Electron Microscopy at TU Delft, led pioneering research into sample holders for electron microscopy. The technology is being brought to market by high-tech startup DENSsolutions, which has gone from local to global in just a few years. Sales Director Eric Kievit explains how. 26


E

lectron microscopes have been around since the 1930s. They allow researchers to look at structures and surfaces at a very small scale. “Over the past 80 years,

manufacturers have been mostly concerned with increasing the resolution”, says Eric Kievit. “That is valuable in itself. If you can observe the exact structure of a material, you may also be able to predict its behaviour under certain circumstances and answer some interesting questions. For instance, why do materials break, and how can we make them stronger or lighter?” However, the possibilities of electron microscopes are still limited. The main drawback is that electron microscopy takes place in a vacuum chamber, meaning samples have to be prepared extensively to withstand that. “This vacuum environment restricts the kind of research you can perform. If you want to understand processes that take place at molecular level, for example in electronics or within living cells, you want to test your samples under real-life conditions.” “A steel producer might want to understand the behaviour of aluminium at high temperatures”, Kievit continues, “or a manufacture of microelectronics would like to find out why circuits burn out after a certain amount of time, and what mechanism exactly takes place within the material when that happens. At DENSsolutions, we want to combine the high analysis capacity of electron microscopy with reallife conditions, in order to fully understand processes and thus enable breakthrough innovations.” The products that DENSsolutions offers are based on the work of Professor Henny Zandbergen, who has been researching these issues for the past fifteen years. He and his colleagues pioneered advanced specimen holders for electron microscopy. Inside such holders, specimens can not only withstand the vacuum conditions, greatly facilitating sample preparations, but they can also be observed under changing conditions, e.g. while being heated, undergoing changing pressure or in an electrical field. Thus the specimen holder becomes a minilaboratory for under the microscope. This type of experimentation, where experiments can be conducted in real time inside the specimen holder, is known as in-situ electron microscopy. Professor Zandbergen’s devices were initially aimed at enabling his own research. Current General Manager of DENSsolutions, Ben Bormans, was one of the people who recognized the commercial potential of the work. “Ben Bormans has strong ties with industry; he used to work with electron

27


TU Delft graduates His goal now is to bring DENSsolutions to the top

Countries represented Installations in 2 years

in their field. The groundwork has been laid. With their Wildfire product range, DENSsolutions is already becoming recognized as the world-leader in sample holders for heating experiments in TEM microscopes. Why heating? “Heat plays a major role in many different mechanisms. In an aeroplane the engine will heat up, will all its attendant consequences. With chemical reactions you often have to add heat to get the process started. It is what we call a fundamental stimulus, especially in the fields of chemistry and materials science.”

microscope manufacturer FEI. He also knew

Products that enable other stimuli are under

Henny Zandbergen from those days”, say Kievit.

development, but focussing on heating first was a

“So there we had this brilliant scientist, a keen

strategic decision. “We strongly believe expanding

business developer who knows the industry, and an

our product portfolio is very important, but as a

enterprising university. All the right circumstances to

start-up company you cannot successfully launch

bring a new technology to fruition.”

five or ten products at once. To make a success of

This is where Sales Director Kievit comes in, who is a TU Delft graduate himself. As a student of mechanical engineering, he always felt attracted to the application side. “I’m not your typical engineer. I want to understand the science, but I also want to see it translated into practice. So I combined my mechanical engineering programme with courses in marketing, finance and business development.“ That suited him so well, that he even took a year out from his studies to run YES!Delft Student, the student branch of TU Delft’s business incubator.

‘A university can help you improve your beta version. They do not expect a product that is fully crystallized out in all details’

Around that time he was also involved in a number of start-up companies. Eventually he embarked on

your business you should look to the customer, not

an MSc programme in Precision and Microsystems

the technology, and focus. In Western Europe there

Engineering.

are many chemical and materials corporations, so

“I chose micro and nano engineering as a

there is a clear demand for a product that facilitates

specialisation. A field that was still in its infancy,

research into the effects of heating.”

but would soon become very important. I believed

Another strategic decision was to roll out their

that there would lie the best chances for someone

products first to universities of technology, then

like me, who knows how to combine technology

to government research institutions and finally to

with business.” Paul Althuis, director of the TU

industrial customers. “Universities of technology

Delft Valorisation Centre, approached Kievit to join

are judged by their scientific publications and

DENSsolutions in 2012. “I started for one day a

their reputation. It is in their own interest to be

week; after my graduation I joined fulltime.” Joining

innovative and pioneering and then tell the rest of

DENSsolutions did his graduation no harm either: he

the world about what they have investigated and

graduated with honours in 2013. “My grades shot up

what equipment they used. They can be great

once I had a concrete goal to work towards.”

ambassadors if you are trying to make a name for

28


SEM and TEM In this age of nanotechnology we

do this. There are two main types of

sample, creating 3D-like images. With

are able to visualize matter at a

electron microscope: the scanning

TEM, the electron beam goes through

scale that we cannot behold with our

electron microscope (SEM) and the

the sample, and shows the structures

natural senses. Electron microscopy

transmission electron microscope

of a sample at atomic level.

is a widely adopted technology to

(TEM). SEM scans the surfaces of the

your company. An industrial customer is not going to

microfabrication. But the main reason to collaborate

publicize all their research results; they’d lose their

was and is the development of the technology.

competitive advantage.”

“A lot of ground-breaking research happens here.

Real solutions

We would like to contribute to that by offering new research possibilities. In turn, that will create new

Then there is the decision of when to go to market.

business opportunities for us.” Recently, this has

Kievit stresses that DENSsolutions wants to deliver

also led to several proposals to funding agencies.

real solutions, not prototypes. But at some point

“We are currently involved in a number of research

you have to leave the proverbial inventor’s shed

projects that are part-funded by agencies such as

and approach the market. “It is in the nature of

Technology Foundation STW. Sometimes that is

an engineer to think he knows best and to keep

research into electron microscopy itself; at other

optimising his product. Then it turns out to be too

times we are involved as the experts on in-situ

expensive, or not what the market needs. That

microscopy who can enable the research.” Naturally,

frequently happens with technology start-ups.” As

DENSsolutions does not collaborate solely with TU

a small company, you need to focus on making a

Delft. “Depending on what we are developing, we

product that fulfils your customer’ needs now and not

choose a partner who is best in that field and can

what you think is the ultimate system in the future.

help us test and improve a particular new product.”

In this respect, universities are also ideal launching

DENSsolutions also collaborates with selected

customers. “A university can help you improve

production partners. “Solution creation is our

your beta version. They do not expect a product

expertise, so our team combines all the skills

that is fully crystallized out in all details.” Feedback

needed for that: electronics, mechanics, software,

from universities, TU Delft especially, helped

sales, marketing, product management, etc.

DENSsolutions perfect their products. “Our systems

However, we do outsource our production, but only

comprise sample holders, nano-chips, an electronics

to the best suppliers we can find, such as the Else

control unit, loading tools and software. That system

Kooi Lab for microfabrication.”

functions as a plug and play product. As a whole it

Meanwhile, DENSsolutions has achieved worldwide

has to be easy to use and fully dependable. That

presence with their in-situ TEM heating solutions.

takes some effort. For example, the nano-chips

“We started in Western-Europe, then Asia and the

have to deliver consistent performance, batch

United States followed. We feel a global presence

after batch, the electrical wiring encounters signal

is important; from there we can expand our product

losses, connectors wear out or software becomes

portfolio.” Next big step is the transition to industrial

unstable in certain unforeseen circumstances.”

customers. “They are commercially the most

Finding answers to these challenges takes time and

lucrative. There is real market potential here, but we

perseverance.

had to build our name and credibility first.” And after

The link to the university remains a strong one. TU

that? Kievit is adamant: “We’re not just content with

Delft is a shareholder, and the university is also

making a decent living. It’s to the top or bust.” <<

the perfect place to scout new staff, quite a few of whom are TU Delft graduates. The university’s Else Kooi Lab (formerly known as DIMES), takes care of

29


BALANCING THE LONG- AND SHORTTERM APPROACH TO INNOVATION Yuri Sebregts Q and A with Yuri Sebregts, Executive Vice President Innovation and R&D and Chief Technology Officer at Shell Global. You were appointed as Executive Vice President Innovation and R&D in January 2015. You were also appointed as Chief Technology Officer. What will be your greatest challenges the coming years?

played by the university in this transition?

It’s evident that the global energy system will go

innovations that will be required to secure that the

through a major transition this century. Building a

future energy demand is met while carbon dioxide

sustainable energy future is an enormously complex

emissions are reduced significantly throughout that

challenge. Technology is at the heart of this change.

transition.

The short-term outlook for energy markets is

But energy companies cannot do this alone.

uncertain, but it’s crucial to balance the short-term

For more than 100 years Shell has developed

with the long-term view. In the long term, we expect

technologies to help us produce energy in an

demand for energy to continue to rise as populations

efficient, reliable and sustainable way, increasingly

and prosperity increases.

by collaborating with others in the development

Shell expects the global energy supply mix to evolve

of such technologies. Our longest established

significantly in the decades ahead, with gas, the

collaborative programme is our partnering with

cleanest burning fossil fuel, becoming more widely

universities and research councils.

used for power generation and transport. We expect

Examples are in Boston, USA, where we are one of

renewables such as wind, solar and biofuels to play

the founding partners of the MIT Energy Initiative;

an increasing role, whilst oil and gas will be continue

in China with the Shanghai Advanced Research

to be required to meet the considerable expected

Institute of Chinese Academy of Science; in Europe

increase in energy demand.

with Cambridge University and Imperial College in

Irrespective of how long the energy transition will last, technological innovation will be a crucial driver and will play a vital role to facilitate the change. Shell can make an important contribution to the

the UK, ETH in Switzerland and with TU Delft here

Ben van Beurden said: “Innovation is no silver bullet, but new technologies can play a crucial and transformative role”. What role should be 30

in the Netherlands. Working together means we can faster address societal, customer and business needs.


How we can address all Grand Challenges and what role should be played by universities? Innovation is not about pursuing every idea; it’s about finding and nurturing the right ones. For me the question is: How can we ensure our innovation efforts are as fruitful and cost-effective as possible? I see two keys to success: • one, integrating technology delivery from development in the lab through to deployment in the field; • and two, having a clear understanding of current and future business needs, and the areas of technological innovation that respond best to them. This is not about “picking winners” because that defies the concept of exploring for new solutions, but it does mean being clear upfront that if a technology breakthrough is realized how it can be deployed commercially. Historically there has been a very good relationship

technically well-trained staff. It is essential to

between Shell and Delft University and we intend

maintain economic competitiveness as a knowledge

to build on that legacy. In the past our joint R&D

economy and enhance technical knowledge and skill

activities have focused much on point to point

at all levels. A strong cadre of young talent trained

practical research, between researcher in Shell and

in engineering and science increases the growth of

professor/academia at Delft University. We seek

new ideas.

to develop that further into a more integrated R&D at a more strategic level with R&D activities that

Which research themes should be explored by the TU Delft, which expertise does Shell need?

are fully integrated with the ambitions of business

Today, an energy transition is taking place: a slow

sponsors.

but steady shift from a predominantly carbon-based

collaboration, working together on grand challenges

system towards one of net-zero carbon emissions.

Shell finances each year 40 PhD students of the TU Delft; what mindset would you like TU Delft students to adapt?

As we work towards a lower-carbon future it will

Our R&D activities range from evolutionary

that reduce emissions such as carbon capture and

developments which optimise existing technologies

storage (CCS).

in an innovative way to disruptive innovations which

To move towards a lower-carbon future, we need

can yield breakthroughs for the longer term future.

more energy-efficient systems; lower-carbon options

Students are a driving force to turn small ideas into

such as gas; and renewables – areas in which Shell

big realities to help meet the world’s pressing energy

is already working. Innovation plays a key role to

demand. It doesn’t matter what route you decide to

make this happen. We are increasingly collaborating

take as a student, as long as your focus is on doing

with universities in the innovation domain to help us

what you’re good at and are prepared to take risk

speed up the pace of innovation and the deployment

stretching your limits. Universities have a critical role

of new technology.

in developing innovation skills and entrepreneurship

As such, an improved understanding of for instance

to help companies like Shell to make future

fundamental rocks and fluids interface dynamics and

breakthrough innovations.

geophysics in general combined with smart sensor

The Netherlands plays an important role in the

technology for real-time measuring are important

global economy. As a location for multinationals,

to maximise production from existing fields but will

listed companies and leading research organisations

also underpin future technology solutions for geo-

in virtually all sectors (health, food, energy,

environmental remediation and subsurface CO2

engineering, ICT) there is a large demand for

storage.<<

also be necessary to rely on a variety of energy sources. This includes fossil fuels with technologies

31


32


BREAK-THROUGH IN LOAD-PULL Mauro Marchetti In March 2015, spinout company Anteverta-mw made headlines with its takeover by US-based company Maury Microwave Corporation, manufacturer of microwave measurement and laboratory equipment. Co-founder and director Mauro Marchetti has been part of Anteverta’s journey from the first hour.

I

n Roman mythology Anteverta is a goddess

for commercial companies. Yet the environmental

representing knowledge of the future, an

aspect is worth considering too. A 2013 study

apt name for a university start-up company.

estimated that the ICT industry is responsible for

Anteverta-mw evolved from research carried

830 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year –

out at TU Delft’s Electronics Research Laboratory

about the same as the aviation industry – and this is

(ERL), headed by Leo de Vreede. That research

expected to double by 2020. Power savings aside,

centred on load-pull measurement techniques for

the Anteverta system is also the fastest technique

the analysis of transistors. “Load-pull as a technique

around: it is 1,000 times faster than anything else on

is not new”, explains Marchetti. “It has been around

the market, a huge efficiency gain for developers,

since at least the seventies. Traditionally, however,

and a breakthrough in load-pull technology.

it is a passive system that is used for testing. Our

Dr Mauro Marchetti first joined the group in 2005 as

technology employs active load-pull measurement,

an MSc student, after obtaining his BSc degree in

which means it can process actual communication

electrical engineering from the University of Naples,

signals in mobile networks. It is the only technique

Italy. “I came to Delft to do my master thesis under

that can do so.” It was this unique property that

the Erasmus exchange programme. I was very

formed the basis for the 2008 patent that underlies

much drawn to the research going on here, and I

Anteverta’s success.

stayed on to do a PhD”, he says. “That is how it all

Power savings

got started. Within the first two years of my PhD we already had a rudimentary prototype of the system.

With the help of Anteverta’s equipment, developers

That was not all down to me of course”, he hastens

can optimise the base stations that are used in

to add, referring to his fellow-researchers at the

telecommunications. Marchetti explains: “Those

ERL. Yet, it was Marchetti who became involved

base stations you see on top of buildings use

with the business side of things in 2010. How

amplifiers to generate strong signals to send out to

did that come about? “As soon as we had filed a

mobile devices. The more efficient those amplifiers

patent in 2008, we started working with a business

are the less power the base stations consume,

developer from the Valorisation Centre to see if we

which is not only greener but also economically

had a viable business opportunity”, he explains.

more attractive.” And with base stations operating

“During that phase we needed someone who

24/7 power savings are a persuasive argument

could worry about the commercial side. I was fully

33


occupied with developing the product at that time.

customer; they funded the actual prototype of

My colleagues were supporting from the side-lines,

the system, and together we worked through the

but they also had other research projects going on. It

first teething problems.” But the market for load-

was the most natural thing for me to become actively

pull systems is not one of repeat customers. “Our

engaged with the start-up.”

systems are a substantial investment for buyers.

Perhaps it was not just a necessity, but a matter

interview.

‘In business, you can‘t just keep doing what you are doing. You either need major investments to develop new products, or you need to join something bigger’

Head start

They are used in research or development labs,

Apart from a director and a patented technology, a

for optimising the devices that are part of a base

new business needs customers too. Here, Anteverta

station. NXP uses it to develop transistors that

had a head start. When the company was founded

they then sell on to companies such as Huawei

in April 2010, the first system had already been sold,

or Ericsson that design base stations. It is not a

to NXP Semiconductors. “NXP was our launching

consumer market.”

of inclination as well. “I was a researcher, but I also liked looking at the business end. I still do a lot of technical things too, and enjoy them. But looking back, I am probably more comfortable with product development than with general research. I hope I have done a good job as a director”, he adds modestly. There is no question about that. If the results do not already speak for themselves, Professor De Vreede is full of praise for Marchetti, calling him ‘a true entrepreneur’ in a recent

So right from the start Anteverta was looking for a sales channel that would signal to potential customers that they were reliable. “You have to

Mutual benefit

convince people that it works”, explains Marchetti. “We quickly found a partner in Maury Microwaves

Anteverta received a loan for techno-

who were already in the business of selling load-

starters, and later on applied for and

pull systems, and saw the value of what we were

received two so-called valorisation grants

doing. They decided to partner with us to sell our

from Technology Foundation STW. “With

systems, a partnership that gave us instant business

the money from those grants we were able

credibility.” With credibility came success: they have

to set-up our own research facilities.” The

since sold systems to companies such as Freescale

Dutch start-up climate was a contributing

and RFMB, and research institutions including the

factor to the success, Marchetti believes.

Frauenhofer Institute and JPL NASA.

“The government helps young researchers to become entrepreneurs, who in turn

Continual development

employ people here, as we do now.”

Whilst expanding their sales market, Anteverta

Now, Anteverta is helping a new crop of

also kept developing their product. “There are

engineers to develop. “We have set up an

continual developments in the semi-conductor

Erasmus exchange programme for MSc

world, meaning there are always new things that

students. Two students from Naples will

researchers and developers want to look at. This is

soon be joining us.”

also still quite a new technology, so we keep adding

Who knows, maybe the next generation

software features to it, such as new measurement

of Neapolitan-born entrepreneurs will be

capabilities. Our hardware platform is flexible and

making headlines in the Netherlands in

robust enough to keep up with that.” And with

the near future.

society’s ever increasing need for information

34


The Anteverta-mw team. From left to right: Marco Spirito, Mauro Marchetti, Ajay Kumar Manjanna Michele Squillante and Leo de Vreede. (Photo: Annelies te Selle)

transfer, telecommunications companies keep

Ties with the university also remain strong. “We

looking for new frequencies. “Our latest release can

have our own equipment, but we can still make

now go up to 40 GHz”, Marchetti says.

use of the university labs up to a certain extent. In

Meanwhile, behind the scenes the sale of the

turn we help the labs with new measurements; we

company was already being discussed. “That was

have a kind of bilateral support scheme in place.”

always in the cards. In business, you can‘t just keep

It is an arrangement Marchetti strongly believes

doing what you are doing. You either need major

in. “Sometimes start-ups have difficulty sharing

investments to develop new products, or you need

their work; they want to do everything themselves.

to join something bigger. We had the chance to do

We played things open, and received all the help

the latter.” So what has changed since the takeover?

we could get from the university. The Valorisation

“Not much so far”, says Marchetti. “We are still a

Centre helped us with developing our business

separate entity with a European office here in Delft.

case, and they were very supportive in general. I

Maury believes in our product and they see a lot of

believe we made the right choices. Maybe they were

excitement around it in the market. So they want us

the safe ones, but they were mutually beneficial.”<<

to concentrate on developing that, which is our main focus right now.”

Delft Entrepreneurial Scientist Award (DESA) Behind every successful technology

in several other start-ups and has an

bonus to help further develop entrepre-

start-up there is an inspiring entrepre-

excellent track record in collaboration

neurial activities. Dutch prime minister

neurial scientist. In the case of Ante-

with industry. His contributions did not

Mark Rutte himself handed De Vreede

verta-mw that scientist is associate

go unnoticed: in May 2015, he was

the prestigious Delft Entrpreneurial

professor Leo de Vreede of the De-

voted most entrepreneurial TU Delft

Scientist Award (DESA).

partment of Microelectronics. He was a

scientist. This annual prize comes with

cofounder back in 2010, was involved

a 15,000 euro so-called valorization

35


Jaap Vandehoek & Peter Rem The Urban Mining Corp is on the brink of large-scale market introduction of its MDS technology for plastic recycling. It is the result of years of intensive research and a close collaboration between Professor Peter Rem’s Resources and Recycling group and the young company, led by Managing Director Jaap Vandehoek.

R

ecycling is an expanding field with

goods and supply our infrastructural needs.” Most

huge economic potential, according to

of that is still being mined or extracted from below

Professor Peter Rem, who heads TU

the earth’s surface. However, Europe has set itself

Delft’s Resources and Recycling research

ambitious targets and aims to source 30 percent

group. He has the numbers at hand: “Germany was

of its raw materials from recycling by 2030. “In the

the first country to report macro-economic figures on

current state of technology that is not possible, at

recycling, and in 2000 the country stated that three

least not at acceptable costs”, says Rem.

percent of all raw materials used had come from

It can be done though, as has already been proven

recycling. By 2009, that figure had risen to fourteen

with another TU Delft spin-out company, Inahsco. In

percent, almost a fivefold increase in less than a

2007, Jaap Vandehoek was involved in setting up

decade.” In financial terms the figures are indeed

Inashco, a company for the recycling of metals and

impressive. “In Europe we use 400 billion euro per

minerals from bottom ash, the ash that is leftover

year in raw materials to produce our consumer

after municipal solid waste is incinerated. Inashco

36


has since grown to a globally operating business

in the early stages of the project. “He completely

with some 150 employees. Inashco was based on

immersed himself in the subject, researching into

research of Rem’s department. “The technological

the details which substances make up the waste

breakthrough here was that you can separate moist

streams and what their properties were. He then

bottom ash without the need to either dry it, or add

came up with various technical approaches to deal

water”, explains Rem. However, the revelation for

with all possible issues.”

Rem was how Vandehoek managed the start-up

No eureka moment then, but years of painstaking

phase of the company. “It is very difficult for a small

research that have over time led to a game-

team to oversee the technology, the finances, the

changing innovation. “The quantum leap here is

customer relations and all else in that situation.

the MDS process, that enables us to produce very

Once you have seen a success like Inashco, you are

pure material streams from a waste flow containing

eager to repeat it.”

a hundred or more different materials”, says Rem.

Team work

“The beauty of it is, that this can be achieved with only a modest investment. A typical recycling plant

Vandehoek is quick to share the credit: “In my

today comprises eight or ten separation units that

experience, the cooperation with Rem and his team

make only a couple of products. With MDS, we

at TU Delft was vital. We regularly talked over the

intend to make up to 80 different products with just

commercial and the technical sides together, rather

three or four separation units.”

than one of us staying in the lab with the other one continually on the road pitching the business.

Downcycling

I believe that this kind of interaction over an

Although there are clear parallels between Inashco

extended period is vital.” Rem agrees that university

and Urban Mining Corp, the difference is one of

involvement in the first phases of commercialisation

scale. “This has the potential to become much

is important, especially in an expanding field such

bigger”, says Rem. “Looking at metals and minerals

as recycling. “Any technological improvement in a

contained in bottom ash in Europe, you are talking

more-established industry will probably find its way

about a value of one billion euro per year.” In

to the industry, but in a relatively new field you have

contrast, the recycling of polymers - the building

to work harder as a university to get the technology

blocks of plastics - has a combined potential value of

to the market.”

ten billion euro per year, estimates Rem. Currently,

In all fairness, it takes both breakthrough technology

most of our polymer waste ends up in the incinerator

and business acumen, Rem acknowledges. “You

or the landfill, and what is being recycled, results in

need a technology that is profoundly different from

low-grade products. “Our household waste contains

what has gone before, and then you need someone

some 250 different polymers”, says Rem. “These

who understands all aspects involved so he can

are recycled in very broad categories, such as

make a business out of the technology.” They are

polyethylene and polypropylene, but these are in

now in the act of repeating Inashco’s achievements

fact compounds that contain all sorts of additives

with Urban Mining Corp, which specialises in the

and colourings. You can still make something out of

recycling of plastics. “We have learned a lot from

it, but that is definitely downcycling.”

our previous collaboration, and we are eager to

Then there is the cost of the recycling system. “In

maintain a longstanding research relationship,”

the Netherlands we use about 40 euro per person

says Vandehoek. “As with Inashco, we have jointly

on plastic packaging. Only ten percent of that value,

developed the technology from lab to demo scale

so four euro, is recovered through plastic collection

and are now upgrading to industrial scale and

or deposits on bottles. Moreover, this system costs

building a business model. Any gains should then

an average of eight euro per person per year,

partially flow back to the university, so we can stay

plus the effort of taking your plastic waste to the

ahead in the field of recycling”, says Vandehoek.

collection points.”

That takes some doing, as Rem explains. “Magnetic

Clearly, there is room for improvement here, and

density separation, or MDS is not based on a single

Vandehoek and his colleagues are about to deliver

invention, but on a portfolio of insights and patents

that. “This is a very exciting time for us. We have

in various fields that combined have the potential

a demo installation that can process 300 kilo of

to change the way we deal with our plastic waste.”

plastic waste per hour. We are now upgrading that

Vandehoek was impressed by Rem’s perseverance

to a continuously working installation that is meant

37


for the Romanian market.” That is an economically viable scale for Romania; it is also a big step forward for the country that is currently only recycling about one per cent of its household waste. A much larger installation is in the pipeline for the Netherlands. “We have just signed an agreement that will ensure us the necessary input materials and are building an installation that can process 1,500 kilo per hour.”

Seed industry Apart from plastics, magnetic density separation can be used for other substances too. “Polymers are probably the most important application”, explains Vandehoek. “But with MDS we can separate material streams in a single process step based on very small differences in density and that has a lot of possible fields of application.” An example far removed from the recycling of plastics is the seed industry. “Tomato seeds of a certain weight have a higher germination quality. With our technology you

W2Plastics

can weed out the low-quality seeds, making for a

Magnetic density separation, or MDS,

environment, where space is at a premium, that can

was developed within the framework

make all the difference.”

of the European W2Plastics (waste to

Then there is WEEE, the Waste from Electrical

plastics) project that was led by TU Delft.

and Electronic Equipment. “Traditionally, recycling

“At the start of the project we had a

focuses either on bulk flows with low value, such

working installation the size of a kitchen

as building materials, or on small-volume, high-

machine”, says Professor Peter Rem,

value waste”, says Vandehoek. But electronic waste

head of the Resources and Recycling

contains a host of different materials that you would

research group. “The amount of work it

all want to recycle, glass, plastic, heavy and light

takes to bring that to an installation that

metals. You need a technology that can separate

can process hundreds of kilo’s per hour,

these at an acceptable level of purity, so they all

is staggering. It took us four and a half

count towards the average product value. With MDS

years, and we were funded by the EU

you can do this profitably without an enormous

during that entire period.”

economy of scale.”

That is not as excessive as it perhaps

higher yield in your tomato beds. In a greenhouse

sounds. “The EU invests in the research

Mining

of thousands of new concepts every

The collaboration between Rem and Vandehoek

year, and hardly any of them turn out to

dates back a long time. “I studied raw materials

be winners. It is impossible to predict

at the former Mining Faculty, and Peter Rem was

which; that is why the chances of

one of my lecturers. I was fascinated by secondary

success are so low when you are still

materials, a relatively new subject at that time.”

in the research phase.” Nevertheless it

Research into recycling techniques was often based

is worth investing in, he stresses. “We

on mining techniques in those days. Rem gives an

spend about half a percent of our GDP

example: “Floatation is a process where you grind

on such high-risk, early-stage research.

an ore and mix this with water. When you blow air

However, if a new technology does

through the water, small particles of copper sulphide

prove to be successful, it can generate

will cling to the bubbles. The idea was that this could

sums in the region of twenty or thirty

work for particles of plastic too.”

years worth of GDP.”

Since his graduation, Vandehoek has been involved in revolutionising recycling. Yet the success of

38


Inashco and Urban Mining Corp did not happen

subsidized industry, but that is a misunderstanding.

overnight. Soon after graduation, he embarked

Only recycling enterprises that have real economic

on projects backed by private investors. Some

perspective flourish.”

came to fruition, others did not. “I must have

Other than subsidies, governments could still do a

undertaken twenty feasibility studies in that time”,

lot more to encourage enterprise, in the sense of

says Vandehoek. He always stayed in touch with

creating a business-friendly environment. Again,

the university, among others working with Rem

Rem holds up Germany as an example. “Germany

on research into the recycling of garnet sand, an

has a long-term view on the kind of industry it

abrasive that is used in sand blasting. “Garnet

wants to develop. The technological developments

sand is valuable mineral that is found in Australia.

needed for that are encouraged, and appropriate

We found an economically viable way to recycle

rules and regulations are introduced, or legislation

it. As a matter of fact, it was upcycling, as we

that hampers innovation is changed. In short, the

could separate the best grains, so the sand was

relationship between the public and commercial

more effective after being recycled.” However, the

sectors is very productive.” He hopes the Dutch

modest volumes involved made it commercially

government will take a leaf from the same book.

less interesting, so the idea was shelved for the

“A break-through technology can mean a lot to a

time being. Other recycling projects ranged from

country’s economy, but rules and regulations can

petrochemical catalysts to metallurgical slugs. Then,

either make or break it.”

in 2007, they embarked on the commercialisation of the bottom ash recycling technology.

Defying the odds

That effort has been an unqualified success, but

So far, their story has been one of achievement,

the potential for Urban Mining Corp is an order of

defying some of the odds. “Generally speaking, the

magnitude larger. An increase of scale that could

chances of investing in a technology and developing

already be seen in the research phase. “We have

it into an international business, are about twenty

been working together with four other universities

percent. In our case, we have scored 40 percent

on various aspects of the technology, building up

over the past twelve projects”, enthuses Rem. He

knowledge”, says Rem. The social and economic

feels their high level of interaction was instrumental

impact can be even greater. “For the Netherlands

in this. Vandehoek agrees. “Not everything works

alone, this could create some 4,000 jobs.” Moreover,

at once. You have to work together and solve all

Rem stresses that the recycling in general can

technical problems until you finally achieve your

not only reduce money spent on raw materials,

goal.” In the case of Urban Mining Corp, giving up

but also on energy. Producing goods from raw

was never an option. “At some point you realise you

materials requires enormous amounts of energy. In

are working on something with enormous social and

fact, the amounts of money saved on energy could

economical potential. It is that dot on the horizon

equal that of the amounts of money saved on raw

that keeps you going. But you need a team you

materials. Reasons enough to get governments

can trust, and that you can work with for a number

interested, at national or even European level. Yet

of years. You should also stay critical on what you

Rem is not in favour of outright subsidizing of the

are doing. I believe these are the real keys to our

recycling industry. “It already has the whiff of being a

success.” <<

Magnetic Density Separation (MDS) MDS is a departure from current plastic

leads to very impure products.”

water stream containing ferrous oxide

recycling technology, Jaap Vandehoek,

With MDS, plastics are shredded

particles. With the help of magnets,

Managing Director of Urban Mining

before sorting. “By shredding the

the density of the fluid is increased;

Corp, explains. “Current practice is the

plastic in particles no larger than a

the closer to the magnet, the higher

sorting of plastics at object level, such

few millimetres, you free up all the

the density will be. The plastic particles

as bottles or egg boxes. These are

component polymers. These are then

will then start to float at different levels

then shredded an extruded in the form

separated by way of a magnetic fluid.”

according to their density, and can be

of pellets. You can imagine that this

The plastic particles are mixed in a

removed from the solution.

39


AN ENTERPRISING UNIVERSITY TU Delft Valorisation Centre stimulates and supports entrepreneurship among staff and students. Its services range from advice on Intellectual Property matters to assistance in finding the right collaboration partners within the business community. Successful incubator YES!Delft has helped launch over 150 startups in the past decade. To cater to the increasing number of innovative startups and growth companies a new building is being developed, which also includes extensive biotech lab facilities. Funding the future

Current participations include Urban Mining

The process of transforming a technical invention or

Corp, Bluebee and DENSSolutions, all featured

idea to a product, process, or service is often long,

in this publication. So are recent successful exits

risky and difficult. As an extension of the Valorisation

Anteverta-mw and Inashco.

Centre, Delft Enterprises B.V. aims to accelerate this process by offering funding for the most fragile phases of building a company, such as making a

100

prototype. To offer promising technology the chance it deserves, the TU Delft participates in several funds and offers the possibility to take part in (pre-) seed

Innovative ideas

loans. Funding can also be provided by external investors. Delft Enterprises can help find investors to support startup companies when the time is right. Students with a good idea for a company that is not directly linked to TU Delft research may also seek the support from Delft Enterprises.

New Patents in

2014

materialize each year

Sometimes direct financial participation is the best option. This is the case with promising, early-stage technologies where continuing close involvement between research and enterprise are necessary. If a spin-out is the best way to reach the market, Delft Enterprises comes into play to provide for the needs to successfully startup a company. The primary goal is to bring technical innovations from the university to the market. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why Delft Enterprises has a clear exit strategy: when a startup is ready to stand on its own feet, Delft Enterprises will seek to sell its shares to a relevant market party.

40

spin-out companies in our portfolio


41


43


Valorisation Centre TU Delft Building 36 Mekelweg 4 P.O. box 5 2600 AA Delft

44

Valorisation magazine TU Delft  

Home of Innovation - Stories about knowledge transfer by Valorisation Centre

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you