Unique 'student team education' officially launched at TU/e

Here, as a student, you can launch a clever idea, be inspired by other great minds or lay the foundations for a new innovation. TU/e innovation Space is a place where students learn how to work together in an interdisciplinary manner, how to do business and how to think in terms of concrete challenges and goals. These professional skills are usually acquired through practical experience, for example, by participating in a student team. TU/e, however, is now the only university in the Netherlands that offers these as part of regular education. The aim is to create flexible engineers who are ready to deal with a rapidly changing society. TU/e innovation Space will officially open on Thursday 15 November in the Matrix building.

Two years ago, Bas Verkaik and the STORM student team took an 80-day trip around the world on electric motorbikes. Not only did they accomplish a challenging mission that they had worked towards for two years, but also had many unique experiences. “We worked in an interdisciplinary way, thought creatively and worked closely with industrial partners, all under heavy time pressure.”

The engineer of the future

According to Verkaik, while this way of working was not part of their studies, it is actually relevant for all students. “These are professional skills that are becoming increasingly indispensable as an engineer or researcher,” he says. “Purely theoretical knowledge is becoming less and less important. The engineer of the future is flexible and must be able to keep up with rapid changes in society.”

Four pillars

In order to offer education that imparts these valuable ‘student team experiences’, Verkaik joined the team that set up TU/e innovation Space under Isabelle Reymen. The various subjects that students can take combine theory and practice. Verkaik: “These concern four specific pillars: working in interdisciplinary teams, challenge-based education, systems thinking and entrepreneurial thinking and acting.”

An attractive building

Over a year ago, TU/e innovation Space began as a pilot in the Gaslab building on the TU/e campus. “That was for testing and learning, now we’re going to scale up,” says Verkaik. This is possible in the Matrix building, which has now been completely redesigned as the home of innovation Space; a large open area with plenty of room for design and business. “We now have an attractive building, where students come to learn and work,” says Verkaik.

Spike Mobility

Verkaik set a good example himself. With six students from the former STORM team, he founded the company SPIKE to develop electric drive components for electric vehicles. Verkaik: “We can now apply our knowledge from STORM practically. Through the development and production of battery modules, we enable other manufacturers to market safe and sustainable electric vehicles.”

Thursday 15 November, from 5 pm to 7 pm, is the official opening of the Matrix building as the location of TU/e innovation Space. The space and the projects can be viewed from 3 pm onwards.