In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer, Daan Kersten and Tessie Hartjes, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All five contributors are all working on technologies that can provide solutions to the problems of our time. This Sunday, it‘s Maarten Steinbuch’s turn.
This week was once again the Dutch Technology week. It’s almost a tradition. It lives everywhere in our region. I myself was, among other things, once again the sidekick at the now almost legendary QuizNightXL: 1200 people doing a quiz together. In the Clock Building (Klokgebouw). A lot of fun to do, and also seeing all those nice and fun facts about technology, science and nature together by Julinka van Keulen and her team is fantastic. But especially al those people at the tables getting caught up as a team wanting to win!
“World champion in football with robots, the first and still nr 1 with the solar car for families, soon the first formic acid bus, the first house drone and the first biodegradable passenger car.”Maarten Steinbuch, TU/e
Wanting to be the best. That’s about excellence, about wanting to stand out from the crowd, not being afraid of it and also being happy for others to stand out. We are excellent in Brabant and in many things of world class. But we’d rather not talk about it (‘acting normal is crazy enough’), but I’m seeing progress! This week was also the TU/e Awards session with the top graduates. It’s very nice to see so much quality.
What do all these excellent young people have in common? Besides their content quality, they all have a passion, a drive to get the best out of themselves! No mediocre thinking, but wanting to be very good. Not settling for a sufficient result. It makes me proud to also see this at all our student teams. Ten years ago, who would have thought that we would now have this kind of world players: world champion in football with robots, the first and still nr 1 with the solar car for families, soon the first formic acid bus, the first house drone and the first biodegradable passenger car?
Our region has the wind at its back. We are growing and flourishing. Our university is also growing. Fortunately: we already did technology promotion ten years ago. For years, I was chairman of the Foundation Techniekpromotie, which is responsible for, among other things, the national FLL lego robot final and for the Eurekacup and the Technology Tournament. In 2008, I pleaded for a growth of our university, my goal: being doubled to 13,000 students by 2020. We had 6,500 students by then. Our region needs more people, and it’s our job to contribute to that.
Together with the Brainport region, we have worked very hard the past few years to map the region, to make technology popular, to let everyone know that our society is moving towards a next phase. And we have now almost reached that number of 13,000! But excellence also hurts when you’re growing too rapidly. We feel that at our university almost every day. Excellence means quality, in all that you do. We’re facing the limit. The plea to the minister for more money is necessary but not sufficient. We also need more employees, which also means more research. Because at a university, top education and top research go hand in hand. That’s why I’m happy about our place in the region and the growth of our industry. If we keep taking advantage of our unique position in the ecosystem to do relevant research together with the industry, and if we can expand education together with the government, then it’s possible: Brainport x2 and being the best!