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The time for active collaboration between the University of Waterloo and the Brainport Eindhoven region has finally arrived. This is the main conclusion of the three-day visit of the Canadian delegation to the city of Eindhoven. The goal was to explore the potential collaboration between the two regions and dive into discussions about the future.

Despite the mutual relationships between the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) at the University of Waterloo and Braindport Eindhoven, not much has been done so far. “Some stuff happened in the past and some companies and academics shared information but now the time is right to scale”, says Johann Beelen, Business Development Manager and Areamanger USA at Brainport Development.

The first Canadian start-up, SLE, landed in the Netherlands last year as a result of the interaction between WIN and Brainport. This was the first step toward an active partnership.

The Canadian delegation took the opportunity to explore what the Technical University of Eindhoven and the High Tech Campus are offering. They visited different enterprises and facilities such as Avular, ASML, CEAD, and the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS) amongst others. The visit and the three-day program were organized by Braventure, Brainport Development, and Brabant Development Agency (BOM). The ultimate goal is to establish a permanent and robust relationship between Eindhoven and Waterloo.

One way to achieve this goal is by facilitating a student exchange. This would bring fellow students together, working on and researching topics they are interested in. Additionally, from a business perspective, the spin-off companies from the University of Waterloo pitched their products to the different enterprises at Brainport Eindhoven. The participants wanted to find out how far the “collaborative dream” can get them, as one of them mentioned.

The visit is believed to mark a milestone in the relationship between the two ecosystems. It foresees establishing long-term collaborations and partnerships. “We really need an international perspective. The Netherlands is so central and has a good reputation in Asia and Australia. This country is really a priority country for us”, says Lisa Pokrajac, Assistant Director, Research Programs at WIN.

While Canada needs a European perspective on the market, something similar is happening for Brainport. The need for more exposure to the Northern American market further ignites the interest in Waterloo’s technologies and scientists. According to Pokrajac, the University in Eindhoven is particularly interested in the University of Waterloo’s Systems Engineering Program. “This program focuses on taking a bottom-up approach by looking at systems from the bottom and making them efficient from the beginning”, explains Pokrajac.

Working together, Eindhoven and Waterloo can further develop new technologies such as a device that filters and disinfects water by means of ultraviolet LEDs. Pranav Gavirneni is part of the team working on this technology. He is a Ph.D. student in the research group at the University of Waterloo and his research is focusing on deep ultraviolet LEDs for purification and disinfection applications. Gavirneni sees this as a “mutually beneficial collaboration”.