TU/e Impuls program with industry generates 278 research places

TU Eindhoven is currently signing the final contracts with industrial partners for its overall ‘Impuls Program’, a TU/e initiative that began in 2013, in which the university undertakes new research with companies through the co-funding of PhD’s. In all, the two Impuls programs generate 278 research places, around two hundred of which would not have been possible without this initiative.

Under the name Impuls, the university began working on new scientific research with some thirty companies, with the research places in each project co-funded by the companies and TU/e. That generated a total of 278 new PhD places; 125 in Impuls 1 and now 153 in Impuls 2. The partners,  mainly companies, together invest some 50 million euros, 39 million in cash and the rest in kind. TU/e also invests around 50 million, 26.5 million of which is in cash.

The collaboration focuses on long-term research programs, particularly in the TU/e focus areas, such as healthcare technology, renewable energy, mobility, hightech systems, materials and data science. Within these areas TU/e researchers work in a multidisciplinary way, which is essential to solving industrial issues. One of the companies is Philips, with whom the university has created seventy PhD places within Impuls. Other major partners include ASML and Océ.

“We’ve really hit the target here,” says TU/e president Jan Mengelers. “Without the Impuls programs we would have missed out on around 200 of these research places, so that’s a gain for the Netherlands as a knowledge country. I am convinced that this has given a tremendous boost to science, the economy and solutions to societal problems.”

Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs comments: “This is an excellent initiative by TU Eindhoven. It clearly shows that public-private partnership can generate a lot. Research ensures innovation and that furthers our competitiveness. The Impuls program also illustrates the effectiveness of the so-call TKI supplement for the Top consortia for Knowledge and Innovation. It’s good that this creates so many extra PhD places.”

TU/e began the Impuls program in 2013 in response to the fact that the government removed the natural gas revenues from the research funding, which meant a fall in annual TU/e income by 20 to 30 million euros, equivalent to about 250 PhD places. The initial aim of Impuls was to maintain the level of TU/e research output and to exit the economic crisis stronger, together with industry. To fund the program the university made cuts in its support services, among other things.

Despite the success, the executive board president of TU/e is unsure about the possibility of an Impuls part three. “We won’t be able to access our funds for a substantial amount for a third time. Our student numbers have increased strongly and we therefore have to invest in our education because we do not want to compromise the quality of our educational system. So we are now looking with others for creative solutions that will still allow Impuls to continue.”