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Miriam Luizink appointed Director Strategic Business Development

In keeping with its enhanced ambitions regarding entrepreneurship in the new strategy, the University of Twente (UT) is moving rapidly to broaden and strengthen cooperation between the university and industry. To achieve this goal, the Executive Board has appointed a Director of Strategic Business Development who will coordinate matters and provide the driving force required. For the next few years, this post will be held by ir. Miriam Luizink.

The University of Twente is the leading entrepreneurial university in Europe, a position it aims to retain and strengthen. The University of Twente wants to respond more rapidly to current market developments, and it aims to achieve greater synergy in this regard. This brings the University of Twente fully into step with the growing international trend of organizing research into consortia, networks and centres of excellence, by means of cooperation arrangements between knowledge institutions, the business community and local authorities. The international trend is focusing on the funding of research into “Grand Challenges” involving the need for comprehensive solutions to social issues. This requires a multidisciplinary approach and intensive (international) cooperation with other knowledge institutes and consortia. It also requires academic networks to match up with corresponding networks in industry. These are areas in which the University of Twente is already relatively strong. “To maintain this lead, it is essential that there be a full-time focus on these matters at a high level within the organization. By bringing in a Director of Strategic Business Development, we have ensured that this requirement will be met,” says Victor van der Chijs, President of the Executive Board.

The Director of Strategic Business Development will work closely with researchers in the University of Twente’s institutes and faculties, who already have all types of cooperation arrangements and contacts with the business community. This will be based on the expertise that exists within the university and efforts will be made to find the best way to link up with the requirements of the business community.

In terms of entrepreneurship, the Director of Strategic Business Development’s mission is complementary to the approach used by the Kennispark knowledge centre. While the Kennispark focuses on launching spin-offs and on creating opportunities and facilities for this purpose (involving investment funds, etc.), in her new role, Miriam Luizink will be focusing primarily on direct cooperation between teaching and research at the University of Twente and the business community. She will coordinate matters and provide the driving force required.

In February this year Ms Luizink announced that she was going to hand over her post as Technical-Commercial Director of MESA+ on 1 July. With its focus on seeking opportunities for new, stronger types of cooperation with companies, the post of Director of Strategic Business Development is in keeping with Miriam Luizink’s aspirations. As sources of inspiration for new forms of cooperation, she cites the establishment of the Thermoplastic Composites Research Centre (TPRC) and the Industrial Focus Group XUV Optics.

Miriam Luizink has an impressive track record. In 2010, she was elected Twente Businesswoman of the Year. In addition to her role at MESA+, she is Managing Director of the High Tech Factory (a production facility) and the High Tech Fund (an equipment fund). Since 2012, Ms Luizink has also been the chairperson of NanoLabNL, a national facility and consortium for research and innovation in the field of nanotechnology.

Victor van der Chijs made the following remarks about Miriam Luizink’s appointment: “I am delighted with the appointment of Miriam Luizink as Director of Strategic Business Development. There are many opportunities for the University of Twente to seize, and she can make a major contribution to this process. Earlier this year I mentioned that we wanted to go on making use of her commitment and knowledge. I am very pleased that, by this means, we will be able to continue our working relationship with Miriam Luizink.”

Contact: Bertyl Lankhaar, Spokesperson for the Executive Board, tel: +31 (0)53 489 2210