Jul 28, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Three Dutch universities of technology have joined forces to help finance projects deriving from their own R&D programs, according to a recent report from Dutch News. What are they hoping to accomplish, and why is this collaboration newsworthy? Here’s a closer look.

Introducing the Innovation Industries Fund

The Eindhoven University of Technology, the University of Twente, and Wageningen University will each put  €1.5m into Innovation Industries, a €75m investment fund toward the goal of providing an average of  €5m in funding each to 20 companies at the forefront of technology. Specific areas of focus targeted by Innovation Industries include agriculture, healthcare and the IT sector.

According to Dutch News, founder and investor Harm de Vries told the Financieele Dagblad that the fund will help bridge a gulf between university spinoffs and the market.

The Innovation Industries fund’s biggest investors include TNO, the Dutch organization for applied scientific research, as well as investment funds including PPM Oost, Topfonds Gelderland, and the European Investment Fund.

The First of its Kind

While many Dutch higher education institutions have partnerships with outside investment entities, this represents the first time technology universities have come together toward this end.

All three of these technology universities achieve high places on global rankings, and are celebrated for leading in research, education and knowledge transfer. Says the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) of their collective excellence, “The Dutch research universities’ integrated approach to teaching and research benefits both students and researchers. Traditionally open-minded and cosmopolitan, the Dutch research universities attach great importance to cooperation and profit from excellent international connections.”

Furthermore, insists the VSNU, “Cooperation at the Dutch research universities extends beyond academia to encompass government, society and business. Always mindful of their role in the Dutch and global knowledge society, the Dutch research universities are committed to innovation and knowledge transfer.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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