Eindhoven University of Technology: 1.4 billion for Growth Fund projects involving TU Eindhoven

Under the name National Growth Fund, the Dutch Cabinet has set aside more than 4 billion euros for future economic growth. Of that amount, almost 1.4 billion euros will go to projects in which TU/e plays an important role: quantum technology, green hydrogen, artificial intelligence, an integrated healthcare data system and regenerative medicine. Nearly 121 million euros will become available immediately; for the remainder of the funding, additional substantiation must be provided, or certain conditions must be met.

The Quantum Delta NL Program will receive €615 million from the National Growth Fund, consisting of an unconditional award of €54 million, a conditional allocation of €228 million, and a reserve of €333 million. In the case of a conditional allocation, the money is not made available until specific conditions have been met. The reservation requires further substantiation or proven success in the first phase, after which a new review will follow.

The Growth Fund committee, which assessed the applications, “believes in the great strategic opportunities of quantum technology and is enthusiastic about the proposed approach. The Netherlands has a strong scientific position in the field of quantum technology. This proposal should boost this position and enable an early transition to economic value to be made.”

The allocated funding will be used to position the Netherlands as a leading international center and hub for quantum technology: the Quantum Delta NL. The ambition of this partnership that includes TU/e is to develop a leading European knowledge cluster in seven years’ time, with a contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of 5 to 7 billion euros and 30,000 high-grade Dutch jobs in the long term.

Servaas Kokkelmans, scientific director of the TU/e Center for Quantum Materials and Technology Eindhoven (QT/e): “I am very pleased with this decision. This investment by the Dutch government shows that the Netherlands wants to lead the way in the research and development of quantum technology. Our QT/e center is one of the founders of Quantum Delta NL and together we wrote the National Quantum Technology Agenda, which forms the basis of the Quantum Growth Fund program. This program gives a considerable boost to our Eindhoven quantum programs: the ultracold atomic quantum computer platform and our quantum network in the Eindhoven region.”

The project ‘Green Power of the Dutch Economy’, co-authored by researchers at the TU/e institute EIRES, will receive €338 million for an ecosystem based on green hydrogen. The award consists of a conditional allocation of €73 million and a reserve of €265 million. This program aims to accelerate the use of green hydrogen – hydrogen produced using renewable solar and wind power – in the chemical, transport and heavy industry sectors through innovation and cost reduction.

The committee is “enthusiastic about the earning potential of green hydrogen and the proposed approach. The committee sees economic opportunities especially in the R&D program in combination with the small-scale demonstration projects. In addition, the investment in human capital can prepare the Dutch labor force for the hydrogen economy.”

Richard van de Sanden, scientific director of EIRES, the energy institute at TU/e: “This fund gives an enormous boost to the field and offers wonderful opportunities for TU/e in terms of electrolyzer development and making the chemical industry more sustainable. The envisaged collaboration between the chemical, energy and manufacturing industries will create thousands of new jobs and give the Netherlands a solid place among Europe’s leader in the field of hydrogen. This program is therefore a major boost to the greening of our economy.

The AiNed investment program in Artificial Intelligence will receive €276 million, consisting of a €44 million allocation, a €44 million conditional allocation and a €188 million reserve. The committee believes that AI can make a valuable contribution to more efficient energy systems, smarter mobility and logistics, and more efficient care.

The multi-year AiNed program was set up by the Netherlands AI Coalition (NL AIC) to strengthen the Dutch position in the field of artificial intelligence. It is a public-private consortium with more than 400 participating organizations, including the TU/e AI institute, EAISI.

Carlo van de Weijer, director of EAISI and chairman of the Brainport AI Hub: “The allocation from the Growth Fund is excellent news for EAISI and certainly for our partners in the Brainport ‘Artificial Intelligence Hub’. The funds that have now been granted will provide an impulse to further accelerate our cooperation. As a high-tech region, we have time and again proved capable of moving with new generations of technologies; from the glass-tube amplifiers and transistors to today’s chip machines. We are leading the way in high-tech systems, medical technology and smart mobility. Artificial intelligence is the key for us to anchor that position for the future as well.”

The Health-RI proposal receives EUR 69 million, consisting of a conditional award of EUR 22 million and a reserve of EUR 47 million. This project focuses on the Dutch care infrastructure, more specifically the sharing and use of research data in healthcare. The Eindhoven Medtech Innovations Center (e/MTIC) plays a role in the proposal. The goal of this center – which, in addition to the TU/e, consists of Philips, Máxima Medical Center, the Kempenhaeghe Expertise Center and the Catharina Hospital – is to get innovations to the patient faster. Data plays a crucial role in this. The committee sees great economic and social potential in a national integrated care data system, and they believe this proposal is a good step in that direction.

Carmen van Vilsteren, Chairman of the Board of the TU/e Institute e/MTIC: “We are very pleased with this allocation. As a core business, we try to facilitate the path of innovations to the patient. Our partners focus mainly on clinical innovation and this amount, specifically for data sharing, gives us an enormous boost. This will allow us to not only get innovation to the patient faster at the local level but also to collaborate on a national scale.”

The RegMed XB consortium, of which TU/e is a member, will receive €56 million from the Growth Fund to bring regenerative medicine to the market, consisting of an allocation of €23 million and a conditional allocation of €33 million.

This collaboration of research institutions, public authorities, provinces, health funds and industry in the Netherlands and Flanders develops therapies for chronic diseases, based on stem cells, mini-organs, tissues and smart (bio)materials. A new consortium in Brabant, set up in collaboration with TU/e and financed from the growth fund, will focus on the larger-scale production of smart biomaterials and the further development of new technologies.

“With this specialized infrastructure, we can accelerate the translation of our knowledge in the field of cardiovascular regeneration into products for the healing of heart patients,” says Carlijn Bouten, who leads one of the four work packages. Keita Ito, who also leads a work package: “The allocation of the Growth Fund resources is an enormous stimulus to accelerate processes that pave the way for industrial parties to market.”

The National Growth Fund is intended for one-off public investments that contribute to future economic growth. The projects must lead to higher productivity and new economic activity, according to the independent Growth Fund Committee, chaired by Jeroen Dijsselbloem. In the coming five years, the cabinet will set aside a total of 20 billion euros for investments in knowledge development, infrastructure and research, development & innovation. In this first round, which was announced on 9April, the Cabinet is awarding money to ten proposals. The total is 4.1 billion euros, 646 million euros of which are available immediately. A second round of submissions will start at the beginning of May.