“Innovation seems to be a magic word in our rapidly changing society and economy. Unfortunately, we don’t turn these innovations into products that you and I can use as often as we should. And this is what it’s ultimately all about. These innovations don’t necessarily have to be something new; you can also tie existing technology and products together to create new innovations. Brightlands plays an important role in these efforts. I was recently at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, and was impressed by how they are working on valorisation. They can take amazing inventions from the laboratory and launch them on the market so that they can be of value for people.”
It doesn’t always have to
happen in Delft or Eindhoven
Making innovations tangible
“IDuring a visit like this, when I hear about and see all of the things happening at this and the other three Brightlands campuses, I can only arrive at one conclusion: this deserves a much broader platform. So many more people should know about the kinds of opportunities here. This definitely also applies to entrepreneurs running SMEs. The developments in climate and sustainability, for example, are so extensive that they are nearly impossible for an average entrepreneur to keep up with. On the other hand, you can’t afford to miss the boat. SMEs are mostly looking for practical and applicable solutions. It’s also a matter of knowledge. What should I do? Can I invest? How can I anticipate developments and make these accessible? This is another way Brightlands offers value for entrepreneurs. There is knowledge available at the campuses, and the campuses are where this cooperation begins. We are contending with a labor shortage, and are looking for ways to lower our cost price. In the Building Agenda, the goal is to achieve productivity growth of 30 percent, but you need new technology to get there, such as digitalization and industrialization. We have to learn and experiment in a way that is more tangible, in a living lab for example. In my world of building and installing, it’s only logical for us to be located close to the Brightlands campuses in Geleen and Heerlen. When it comes to innovation, you could say the same thing about agri-food and the campus in Venlo.”
“Another example is the research currently being done at the Brightlands campus in Geleen on storing energy in a cell or molecule. If this is a success, it will be a real breakthrough in the entire energy transition situation. If we could then truly accelerate the application of this very favorable innovation through a public-private partnership with business, then you’re talking about true collaboration. This is the direction we need to take.
It’s only logical for me to make the connection between my work and the Climate Agreement. It’s also clear we will eventually stop using natural gas, which means new ways to supply energy, sustainably. We are all already familiar with wind and solar energy, but how important will aqua-thermal energy, geothermal heat or hydrogen become? How can we solve the storage capacity problem? What kinds of choices must we make? I am convinced that Brightlands can help us find solutions. Actually, we could stand to be more courageous in Limburg when it comes to attracting this agenda to the region. We need to be frontrunners. It doesn’t always have to happen in Delft or Eindhoven. As entrepreneurs in Limburg, we should stake our claim to some of the activities involved in this theme. We can’t do this without Brightlands.