Twente knowledge park on the shovel. ‘Brand new premises for the production of microfluidic chips’

Kennispark Twente is the first research park in the Netherlands to have undergone a major renovation. In the coming years, a total of 100 million euros will be made in public and private investments, which will enable the latest innovations in areas such as medtech, chip technology and battery technology. “Demcon will have a new headquarters and Micronit will establish a factory for microfluidic chips,” said Area Director Anne-Wil Lucas.

Knowledge institutes and companies at Kennispark Twente work every day with the innovations that are of great importance for tomorrow. The research park is one of the 3 best innovation campuses in the Netherlands, and the goal of the renovation is to create an environment where companies and knowledge institutions can innovate and collaborate even better. Among other things, additional laboratory facilities and meeting places for students and companies. In addition, a sharper focus on medical technology is central.

“Knowledge park will be an environment where everything is gathered on a limited number of square meters: challenging jobs, a comfortable working environment, sports facilities and housing,” says Lucas. “A lot of cool things are happening in a row right now. For example, a completely new innovation district is being created between the campus and the current research park. “I’m very excited about that. And I’m just as happy with Micronit’s new building. This Knowledge Park business started as a spin-off from the University of Twente. Now they have to build a brand new, own building here, completely set up around “The production of microfluidic chips. It’s a real achievement. It’s definitely something to be proud of.”

Investments in outdoor spaces are central to access to the existing Knowledge Park. “We want to design the park in a sustainable way. The outdoor area should be a cozy meeting place. There will be many trees, plants and hiking trails. The construction of the parking garage must ensure that parking spaces at companies can be ‘exchanged’ for green, cozy spaces at Kennispark, ”says Lucas.

The overall renewal of the Knowledge Park will ultimately ensure that highly educated talents remain in the region. “I hope that students from the University of Twente choose the first job at Kennispark and that they do not want to leave Twente anymore,” says Lucas.

Microfluidic chip factory

Because Micronit must expand significantly at Kennispark, the company produces and develops a lab on chip products (Biochips) and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), with which the body’s own fluids can be analyzed and processed on a very small scale. It also proved its qualities to the world during the corona crisis and produced chips used to determine the genetic composition of the corona virus.

“The number of customers we have will only increase in the near future. That is why this building is of great importance to us, ”says CEO Ronny van ‘t Oever. The new construction, together with the talents in the region and the strong collaborations that arise, ensures that we can continue to grow in Twente. ” For not only Micronit, but the entire medtech industry will pick up speed in the coming years, Van ‘t Oever predicts. “As a society, we are dealing with an aging population. How can we ensure that good care can take place in a home situation? It is important that we work with this, as well as prevention of health problems and early diagnosis. Like other medtech companies in Twente, Micronit is working hard to make it happen. “

Market leader in chip testing

Another major development at Kennispark is the recent renovation of Eurofins | MASER. This high-tech company specializes in testing chips for cars and consumer electronics. The company from Twente is currently the market leader in Europe. Last year, the old office at Kennispark was transformed into a brand new, ultra-modern building that quickly catches the eye when you enter Kennispark. “The building is attracting attention and ensures that we now better profile ourselves as an ‘attractive’ company,” says COO Rudy Sesink. “We lead here at Eurofins | MASER is developing work that is crucial for the chip industry and can now make it more visible to the outside world. ”

In the coming years, the production of chips in Europe will increase significantly, partly as a result of the European chips law proposed by the European Commission. The purpose of this law is to develop a robust supply chain within the semiconductor industry. Kennispark recently took the initiative to establish the strong Chip Design cluster in Twente. Eurofins | MASER is participating in this cluster reinforcement and sees good opportunities to grow along with the increasing production capacity of chips in Europe. CEO Thijs Kempers: “We want to remain Europe’s largest and with the new construction, combined with the latest investments in new technology and machinery, we are ready for the next ten years. So as for us: Bring it on! “

NEXT Twente

ASR Dutch Science Park Fund is another player investing in Knowledge Park. This long-term investor will, among other things, focus on the development of a multi-tenant building in the new innovation district, called NEXT Twente. “One of the reasons why entrepreneurs choose a research park is that there is (substantial) coherence and common facilities,” says ASR Dutch Science Park Fund director Luc Joosten. “It is important that we strengthen this. ASR contributes to this with the help of this building. ” Companies will be housed in the new building, but common facilities will also be set up. “Consider, for example, a conference center, an exhibition space and perhaps an auditorium. We have now started planning. The building is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. “

Fraunhofer Project Center

The foundation stone for the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Advanced Manufacturing was recently laid, a research facility that is the result of a collaboration between the University of Twente, Fraunhofer and Saxion. The facility provides the opportunity to translate scientific knowledge into usable technological innovations in the smart industry. The location will include a test plant with production systems and advanced manufacturing technologies.

Prevention of headaches

With the renewal of Kennispark Twente, Lucas hopes that he can be an example for other knowledge parks in the Netherlands, which will be restructured at a later date. “We have learned many lessons. In the near future we want to spread our story. For how do you approach such a major renovation? And how do you ensure that you maintain control over your territory so that it does not become fragmented? With our experience, we can avoid a lot of headaches in other knowledge parks. ”

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