The 3TU.Federation has been working closely together in the field of education and research. There are five 3TU.master programmes, a Centre for Engineering Education and the Institute of Professional Doctorate Education. They connect to the successful growth in student numbers in technical education. The federation has nine Research Centres and the data management is supported by the 3TU.Datacentrum, part of Research Data Netherlands. With Wageningen joining, possibilities for extending the activities are being explored, for example in the field of:
- data collection and data analysis to ensure the sustainability and security of food production;
- system design and integration of the food chain;
- robotics to handle sensitive products;
- mobile personal devices for lifestyle, sport and health;
- imitation of photosynthesis in new materials as an energy source;
- ethical implications of technological innovations.
The first joint activities under the flag of 4TU, based on proposals from the academic staff, are expected to be starting in 2017.
The universities of Technology of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen often have similar interests and approaches when it comes to Dutch research policy. This involves educating high quality engineers and acquiring resources to do ground breaking research with impact on society and a positive effect on the economic position of the Netherlands. By broadening the coordination and cooperation, which is currently taking place by expand the cooperation to four universities, a more powerful voice can be made about what is needed to realize the Dutch ambitions in the field of scientific research and technological innovation. In addition to an effective alignment to e.g. the Ministries of Education and Economic Affairs, a more substantive alignment is being sought on education and research. In a first effort, the four universities presented ‘Agenda voor Nederland, inspired by technology’ as a contribution for the National Research Agenda. It presented us with 10 challenges, aimed at finding solutions to the increasingly complex societal problems in the areas of healthcare, sustainable production, circular economy, energy, mobility, water, food and social security, linked to economic opportunities and knowledge strengths in the Netherlands. The result of each of the 10 essays is a scientific innovation challenge for the future. A summary of this is attached as background information.
Technology makes our future. Like no other sector, the Dutch manufacturing industry offers innovative and technological solutions to societal challenges – in close cooperation with the technical universities and institutes. The 4TU.Federation contributes with knowledge, resources and facilities in order to strengthen the technology sector in the Netherlands, solving societal issues and by providing high quality education and research. The ambitions of both society and businesses are the inspiration for interesting, fundamental and applied scientific research. The publication of ‘Van autonome robots tot zilte aardappels’ of the Stichting Toekomstbeeld der Techniek contains a variety of topics that can be addressed jointly by the four universities and industry. This is one of the contributions given to the implementation of the National Research Agenda and the roadmap Smart Agri&Food.