TU/e to invest 10 million in 100 new research positions

TU/e will invest 10 million euros in new PhD research positions. In partnership with industry, this initiative is expected to lead to 100 new four-year research positions. In this way the university aims to counteract the decline in the numbers of PhD positions as a result of cuts in government funding. This was announced today by dr.ir. Arno Peels, chairman of the TU/e Executive Board, in his New Year’s speech.

Without this action the number of PhD candidates at TU/e would fall by 200 to 250, out of a total of around 1150”, said Executive Board chairman Peels. This decline has been in progress since 2011, and results from the previous cabinet’s decision to stop spending the revenues from Dutch natural gas sales on research. The universities of technology are affected particularly hard by this decision, and are seeing a big reduction in their research capacity. “This is impacting our innovative strength, which in turn is having a negative effect on the knowledge-based economy of the Netherlands and that of the Brainport region in particular. We are very concerned about this development. TU/e is therefore making anticyclical investments to ensure that our research capacity and output are not too strongly affected. These are important investments, because each euro invested in research and innovation delivers many more euros in return for the knowledge economy.”

Partnership with industry
TU/e’s aim is for one PhD candidate funded by industry to be added to each one paid for by the university itself. Together that should provide 100 extra PhD positions. “We believe this construction represents an attractive offer for industry to start up new research projects together with us”, says Peels.

Big effort to allocate funding
The university has already allocated the first two million euros in its 2013 budget. That wasn’t an easy task, as the Executive Board chairman emphasizes: “We’re all facing cutbacks in spending, which means we had to make a big effort to provide the required funding.”

Societally important themes
The university intends to invest primarily in research within its defined Strategic Areas: Energy, Health and Smart Mobility. This is in line with the TU/e Strategic Plan 2020, which includes a focus on strengthening research capacity in these societally important themes.