Fontys and DIFFER bridge gap between fundamental and practice-oriented research

10. Dezember 2015, 00:00 Uhr
Fontys and DIFFER bridge gap between fundamental and practice-oriented research
Fontys and DIFFER bridge gap between fundamental and practice-oriented research
The continuous development of experimental systems and advanced diagnostics plays an important role in the search for answers to fundamental questions in DIFFER’s energy research. Fontys University of Applied Sciences has this knowledge and expertise. There, investments are being made to realise long-term lines of research, an inspiring learning environment, and an expertise portfolio for degree-level professionals.

The Taskforce for Applied Research (NRPO SIA) encourages and funds connections between fundamental and practice-oriented research so that innovations can be realised faster. The Taskforce sees considerable benefit in the collaboration. Both education and research institutions can learn a lot from each other and strengthen each other by programming research together.

Kees Adriaanse, programme leader of the Fontys Centre of Expertise HTSM, is happy with the new collaboration: "Besides gaining experience in the Fontys laboratories, it is particularly interesting for our students to be able to do research in laboratories of DIFFER, with students from Eindhoven University of Technology, for example. They can work on projects such as research for the development of the MagnumPSI facility, in which wall materials for fusion reactors can be characterised under realistic reactor conditions comparable with those on the surface of the sun." The design and realisation of high-value technological infrastructure at DIFFER requires collaboration between different disciplines, such as mechatronics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, ICT, applied physics and applied sciences, so that the technology can continuously be brought to a higher level.

Erik Langereis, research development officer at DIFFER, confirms this. "In addition, Fontys has many contacts and collaborates to a high degree with high-tech companies in the area. By collaborating with Fontys, DIFFER scientists are given a great opportunity to connect their research with industry and consequently speed up innovation. Besides small-scale research projects and internship and graduation projects for Fontys students, there are numerous opportunities to programme research together. For example, in the adaptive robotics research line within Fontys, I see clear common ground with the DIFFER research into the remote haptic control of robot arms."

Fontys and DIFFER will work on tangibly elaborating the common areas of research into education and research projects. It is the first step in realising connections between NWO institutes and universities of applied sciences. Marsha Wagner, advisor NRPO SIA: "In the NWO propositions 2016-2017 for the top sectors Energy, Water and HTSM, a pilot is planned for the appointment of eight lectors at the NWO institutes Nikhef, AMOLF, SRON, ASTRON, DIFFER, NIOZ, CWI and NSCR in collaboration with universities of applied sciences. NRPO SIA is managing these instruments and, where necessary, it is supervising the collaboration between Fontys and DIFFER so that this develops into a sustainable relationship."

About Fontys
Fontys University of Applied Sciences contributes to public-private partnership via the Centre of Expertise High Tech Systems & Materials (CoE HTSM), with a strong focus on the top sector HTSM. At the CoE HTSM, practice-oriented research is performed and the professional development of employees for industry is realised. The practice-oriented research takes place in close collaboration with companies within lines of research. Based on a sustainable collaboration with industry, the expertise centre delivers a quantitative contribution and a qualitative boost to new production technologies, added value for education, research and the human capital of industry (e.g. facilitating lifelong learning of employees), such as the training of enough and proficient degree-level engineers with an eye for developments.

The Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) is the Dutch centre the fundamental energy research. DIFFER investigates sustainable energy generation from nuclear fusion and develops efficient techniques for making sustainable fuels from carbon dioxide and water using sunlight or clean electricity. The institute is building a national network of energy researchers and high-tech companies aimed at speeding up the energy transition. DIFFER is part of the FOM Foundation within the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

The Taskforce for Applied Research (NRPO SIA) aims to strengthen and renew practice-oriented research in higher professional education, with an emphasis on knowledge development in collaboration with SMEs and institutions and on anchoring this knowledge in the educational programmes of universities of applied sciences. Within NRPO SIA, there are various funding instruments to encourage the collaboration between universities of applied sciences, SMEs and knowledge institutions. In the NWO proposition 2016-2017 aimed at the top sectors Energy, HTSM and Water, a pilot will be set up with the NWO institutes and universities of applied sciences for the appointment of lectors, the funding of research projects by means of a thematic RAAK SME call for proposals, and the establishment of platforms.
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