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Why we write about this topic:

Looking back is boring if you also can ask a wide range of experts for their expectations. This is what they wish for, but they fear 2023 will not bring.

For most media, the past weeks were a moment to look back. Not for us, of course; we continue to look forward consistently. The slogan in our first newsroom was “Not What Happened Yesterday, But What’s Relevant Tomorrow”. That’s why we allowed our network to reflect on two questions:

1) what expectation with a high probability of realization do you have – within your field of expertise – for 2023?  

2) what expectation with a low probability of realization do you have, but would you – from that same expertise – fervently wish for it to come true?

Earlier, we published the answers to the first question (which you can read here). Now, it’s time for the – to be honest – most interesting answers. What would you like to see happen in 2023? 

Click on the names

The hyperlinks behind the names of the quoted experts lead to their statements in the first article.

Carmen van Vilsteren

More results in preventing diseases (among other things, prevention, especially behavior change) or discovering causes (especially neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s).

Maarten Steinbuch

Electric flying seriously taking place.

Katja Pahnke

I hope that despite enormous pressure on the (international) labor market, we can retain skilled workers for our region and offer new talent a living and working environment to settle here.

Buster Franken

I fervently wish there would be specific attention among VCs for talent development – and not just the existing training institutions, but precisely the new innovative methods (such as challenge-based learning!).

He adds: “This could be possible because there is mass recognition that the talent pool is drying up and simple job boards are no longer doing their job. And may I also wish that all corporates set a goal to shorten their procurement processes to 2 weeks (just kidding).”

Rinke Zonneveld

In Dutch politics, hard and clear choices are finally being made about which economic activity we want to have and keep in the Netherlands in the long(er) term. And that policy and money flows are being directed toward this goal.

Daan Kersten

The killer application of measurement with integrated photonics is found, and the first voluminous application proves that the developments of the last 15-20 years are retroactively turned into a positive business case in one fell swoop.

“The first photonics unicorn is thus a reality”, Daan adds. “The low probability is in the timing; it will probably take longer, but this technology’s bright future is clear.”

Arno Sprengers

More companies are starting to be aware that knowledge is essential for a long-term existence, and therefore for our future, and that respect, together with trust, is the basis for this.

He adds: “I have repeatedly experienced the energy you give people when you genuinely recognize their added value and help them contribute their knowledge to the organization. This culture change also has a chance, but it will take more time.”

Hilde de Vocht

An explosion in the number of women on the High Tech Campus with a technical background.

Carlo van de Weijer

I would fervently wish for a breakthrough in the field of synthetic fuels, for example through mandatory blending in airplanes.

This breakthrough could also be caused by a major power in the oil industry, he adds. “Or some major investor finally realizes that that is the future after all, and those synthetic fuels are cheaper than the refined fossil fuels in the long run.”

Eugène Franken

Peace on earth

He has high hopes. Plus some more practical ones from his specific field of expertise:

  • Thinking ahead at the system level about where do I bring the right energy in the most efficient way
  • Less paper and more practical solutions
  • A circular development model for the city’s development that utilizes future values and focuses on affordability, attention to the living environment, participation of citizens, and other forms of value creation and value retention.
  • That cities can act decisively, provide customized solutions and learn quickly from experiments.
  • Less lengthy decision-making processes
  • Central instruments for spatial planning at local level

Colinda de Beer

Greenhouse farming energy neutral and more affordable energy prices.

Cees-Jan Pen

Unfortunately, the necessary circular transition is going too slowly, there are too many cold feet, and we are still too much stuck in a kind of let-a-thousand-flowers-bloom approach with lots of pilots, experiments, and nice competitions and showcases.

He adds: “Especially around workplaces, the circular and energy potential is enormous, but sustainability is taking too long to get off the ground. Within the SME, I, unfortunately, see a similar tendency partly logical because of all the uncertainties after Covid and now again by energy and Ukraine crisis, while a circular transition is necessary for many industries to remain future-proof and increase resilience. Fortunately, attention to and importance of space for work is getting higher on the agenda, but the emphasis in Spatial Planning is and remains too much on housing. For working, there is still little budget, staff, and fund formation, although the government will have to come up with something now that the Ministry of Economic Affairs is also asking for attention to space for working.

Maarten van Andel

Remove all woody biomass from the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), and rapidly phase out all subsidies on woody biomass for energy applications.

He explains: “Burning trees increases rather than decreases CO2 emissions, leads to deforestation in the Baltic states and North America, among others, is bad for biodiversity, and also causes nitrogen deposition. See e.g., Comité Schone Lucht by Fenna Swart and this article about biomass and CO2.

Wolfgang Maass

That neuroscientists stop to design their theories and models for understanding brain function based on rather dated AI ideas and realize that their new results have the potential to trigger a  disruptive  Neuro-AI revolution.

Dihydrogen is produced from surplus electricity of renewable sources like wind, solar or hydropower. Due to inefficient technologies, H2-based mobility will never make sense. However, with microorganisms, in particular methanogenic archaea, the hydrogen my be converted to CH4 (methane) that may directly be inserted into the natural gas grids that serve both as an intermediate storage and distribution purpose.

Heribert Insam

“This would make perfect use of an already existing infrastructure”, he explains.

Bert-Jan Woertman

2023 is going to bring light to the geopolitical winter we are now in.

“After World War II, the EU was born out of a desire for peace and stability”, he adds. “2023 is the year that the world will again take steps forward from connection, not division.”

Olaf Adan

The central government acts as a launching customer for our first five pilots of a flexible heat grid (thus accelerating the rollout of our innovation)

Matthias C. Kettemann

Major platforms have a problem in common. The company makes its internal rules in light of the company’s interest. But they greatly impact people, both users, and non-users. I would love to see the emergence of platform councils in all platforms and democratic innovations that help platforms make better rules.

He adds: “These councils could serve both as an advisory organ to develop and apply better rules and as a ‘court’ of the last instance for applying platform rules and more content governance decisions. Platform councils can either be modeled after existing ones, like Meta’s Oversight Board, and small and expert-led or designed more broadly as community-based councils with a broader non-expert membership. In any case, it is unlikely that 2023 will see the democratization of platforms become fully realized.”

Katja Fröhlich

My expectations do always have a high probability – from my perspective, this is the mindset needed to achieve happiness and success in all areas of life and research 😊

Marko Mihovilovic

We are experiencing the most significant disruptive period for our generation in Europe – we need to become confident again that only innovation and technology will provide a way out of this multi-faceted agglomeration of problems and that we are in the driver’s seat to make a change.

He adds: “We will not succeed by dogmatically talking about solutions to save the planet, but instead need to overcome our technological skepticism and start immediately to correct past mistakes for the benefit of our children pragmatically.”

Melvin Kizito

By December 2023, we hope to raise or enter a financing agreement for 1 million euros to build our pilot diaper recycling plant. We plan to start construction in 2024.

Gabriele Berg

Appropriate risk assessment and registration procedures for microbiome management

Marie-Odile Zanders

I hope by 2023 it will be easier to build with hemp in Africa.

It scores fantastically in all areas, she says: “CO2-neutral building material or even CO2-negative, high insulation and therefore low energy costs for residents, acceptable as a building product for customers, etc. But due to the association with marijuana and the mostly restrictive regulations to grow hemp locally, this building material still usually has to be imported from outside Africa, making the business case unfeasible. I hope to come across parties who see the longer-term potential and want to cooperate in developing this high-potential market.”

Norbert Fraunholcz

The current policy will lead to a substantial reduction in the amount of litter in the Netherlands.

Richard Küng

For 2023, I hope to see new quantum architectures being used to their full potential, as well as a continuation of impressive breakthroughs in quantum error correction – the next milestone goal en route to a fully functional quantum computer.

He explains: “We have always been striving to unify two complimentary desiderata: hope (can quantum technology really make a difference?) and hype (what are the fundamental guiding problems of our age?).”

Bob van der Meulen

I think it would be wise if behavioral biometrics were used more often. It could make life easier and safer.

“But hey, I’m obviously not entirely objective”, he admits.

Iva Gumnishka

I fervently wish for someone to devise reliable ways of testing and watermarking the results of generative AI systems!

“It’s much more difficult”, she adds, “because such models are frequently unpredictable and may become indistinguishable from human-generated content, so it will be one of the big challenges for next year.”

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