2016 was a memorable year for the 4TU.Federation. It was the first year in which the federation no longer received any direct financial support from the Dutch Government, and it was the year in which Wageningen University & Research (WUR) became the fourth university of technology to join the federation. The annual report 2016 of the 4TU.Federation, which is to be published today, consists of the activity reports of the federation’s Board’s and Committees, its various research centres, the joint Master’s degree programmes and it reports on the formal external relationships that the 4TU.Federation has built up.
On October 17, 2016, Prof. Kees Vuik (TU Delft) on behalf of 4TU.AMI and Prof. Dr.Martin Skutella (TU-Berlin) on behalf of Matheon (Research Center “Mathematics for Key Technologies” https://www.matheon.de/) signed a cooperative agreement between these two national research centres with similar missions: “to bring advanced mathematics to key technologies and complex systems”. This in the confident expectation that working together will add value to the separate efforts of the two centres. This agreement is a continuation for 6 years of the previous successful cooperation period on Mathematics for Key Technologies.
4TU.AMI and its German counterpart Matheon form one of the largest clusters on the field of mathematics in Europe. This agreement establishes a framework for mutual assistance in achieving their aims in the field of Applied Mathematics and Education. It will support collaborative research, relationships, exchange of students, junior and senior researchers, educational programs in mathematical modelling and its applications, e-learning and didactics of mathematics for university students of the TU-‘s, and programs that stimulate interest in mathematics for secondary students.
Wageningen University joins the collaboration between the three technical universities in the Netherlands (3TU.Federation). As of today the federation will be known as 4TU.Federation, or simply 4TU, and the cooperation in the field of education and research will be expanded. The four technical universities of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen will intensify their collaboration to strengthen the interaction with industry. With Wageningen University joining, some interesting crossovers between high tech and agri & food come to sight as well as in the areas of water and environment.
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:
We are currently facing one of the greatest social challenges of this century: over the coming 40 years, the global food demand will be equal to the total amount of food produced over the last 8,000 years. Applying high-tech systems and materials and new ICT possibilities will support the agrarian and food sectors to meet the enormous social challenges associated with this. Moreover, the competitive position of these sectors in the Netherlands will improve and opportunities will arise to export new systems using these applications. Conversely, high-tech sectors will be challenged to find solutions to the problems that have stood in the way of such applications until now, such as non-uniform products, the circumstances in which systems have to function and limited economic scope for innovation. It is essential that the sectors concerned work intensively together on these opportunities.
The 4TU.Centre for Engineering Education (CEE) is set up to support and research educational innovations that are taking place at the universities of technology in the Netherlands. In only a short period of time, from September 2014 onwards, CEE’s core team managed to instigate many projects that contribute to the innovation of engineering education. This resulted in various publications, ranging from reports to conference contributions, activities such as workshops and meetings both large and small scale that have been organised. This enabled education staff to learn about innovations, exchange ideas and actively participate.
In January, the 3TU.Federation submitted its Final Report on the Technology Sector Plan to the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science (OCW). Over the past five years, many issues have been addressed, and above all there has been significant improvement. The Bachelor’s intake has grown by more than 30% and all three technical universities have made major reforms to their Bachelor’s programmes. Students are earning more credits each year, the drop-out rate has been brought back to an acceptable level and our degree programmes are extremely popular internationally.
As of the 30st of May, the 3TU.Datacentrum will be known as the 4TU.Centre for Research Data. The centre offers researchers a reliable long-term storage facility for technical and scientific research data. It creates opportunities to link publications to underlying data, thereby promoting improved findability and citability for research data. Researchers can turn to the data centre for advice and support on data management at any stage in the research process, ranging from setting up a data management plan or facilitating a data lab, to ultimately depositing the data in the archive. Datasets are automatically issued with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to promote visibility, findability and citability. The 4TU.Centre for Research Data is an initiative of the three Dutch technical universities (Delft, Eindhoven and Twente) and also offers the above services to researchers at other institutions. For more information, please visit the website.
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded a number of 13 grants in the 2015 ERC Starting Grant competition to excellent researchers of the three Dutch technical universities. The granted researchers received grants, worth up to €1.5 million each, to support promising researchers and in order to help them build their own teams. The Starting Grants are have been awarded to Andrea Caviglia (Delft University of Technology), Tom de Greef (Eindhoven University of Technology), Simon Gröblacher (Delft), Arjan Houtepen (Delft), Rudie Kunnen (Eindhoven), Alvaro Marin (University of Twente), Sander Otte (Delft), Jantien Stoter (Delft), Ivo Vellekoop (Twente), Miren Vizcaino (Delft), Stephanie Wehner (Delft), Hyun Youk (Delft), Amir A. Zadpoor (Delft).
Furthermore, three ERC Consolidator Grants have been awarded to TU Delft researchers, as part of the ERC 2015 Consolidator Grant competition. With grants worth up to €2 million each, these excellent mid-career scientists will be able to consolidate their research teams and to develop their innovative ideas.
The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. ERC has three core funding schemes: Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants and Proof of Concept. Funding schemes are open to top researchers of any nationality or age who wish to carry out their frontier research.