TU / e – LINK

There is a big leap in the Brainport region. ASML, for example, will grow by 15,000 additional employees in the coming years. As a result, suppliers also need to grow again and need qualified staff. This involves tens of thousands of additional jobs. What does this mean for our university?

Robert-Jan Smits: “The leap forward that our region stands for is recognized by The Hague. The Brainport region is therefore the only region specifically mentioned in the coalition agreement. A special group of ministers has even been set up under the leadership of Economy and Climate Minister Micky Adriaansens to investigate how the Brainport upscaling can be facilitated. Think housing, health facilities and mobility. The whole infrastructure must grow with it. ”

“We have also been asked by the region: Is the university ready to grow with the region in order to educate significantly more students to help make this scale jump possible? In addition, we are also drawn nationally. Due to the transitions in climate, energy and nitrogen, our society is desperate for systems engineers. These are huge challenges that you need engineers for. ”

TU / e is also seen in a European context, says Smits. ‘Europe wants to be less dependent on, for example, China for the production of chips. The total chip industry in Europe is now 8.9% globally. It should be 20%. There we can also make a huge contribution with our knowledge and expertise. ”

Smits knows that it requires a lot from the university, but is convinced that it can be done: “Over the past ten years, we have doubled in student numbers, from 6,500 to 13,000. We have proven that we can do it and we are proud that we all did it together. Further growth is also a huge opportunity for our university to make ourselves stronger and put ourselves even better on the map. ” Moreover, Smits believes that our university can not leave the region it owes so much to in the cold.

“We have discussed this openly and honestly in the management and with the deans. We are ready to take our responsibility and grow, but under certain conditions.

What are these conditions for growth?

The four conditions set by the university are:
Advance financing from the national government to facilitate growth and prevent the current workload from increasing further.
2. Growth must not be at the expense of expertise.
The growth must be gradual to keep the workload manageable.
4. The region must ensure that infrastructure and facilities are in order.

Smits: “With the last point, of course, we think of extra studio housing first.” He emphasizes that all four conditions must be met: “For us, it is all four breach of contract

Do we do this together with other large Eindhoven educational institutions such as Fontys and Summa?

Smits: “We work really well with the board chairmen of Fontys and Summa, and we have of course talked about the increase in scale. The region is not only hungry for university talent. ”

Where does the growth in our student numbers come from?

“We will have to interest more Dutch students in science and technology studies, but the real growth will primarily come from abroad,” says Robert Jan Smits. “It means we also want to change character and become more than ever a true international university.”

What about the stay rate for our international matches? How do we ensure that they stay here and that we do not train for brain drain?

“The absorbing capacity of our region is enormous: ASML, NXP, Prodrive Technologies and VDL are looking for thousands of new employees. These are all good, high-paying jobs, ”says Smits. He refers to a report from the internationalization organization NUFFIC on the so-called residence rate for international students in the Netherlands, ie how many of them stay in our country. This shows that Eindhoven University of Technology has the highest occupancy rate of all universities in the Netherlands: 52.1%.

“To further increase the occupancy rate, more intensive cooperation with companies in the region can be an important instrument”. This would allow more students to graduate within companies and easily advance to a job.

“In addition, more than 80 percent of the engineers in Brainport come from TU / e. So investing in TU / e is a wise choice for the national government to provide Brainport with the highly trained engineers who are so desperately needed to make the region an even stronger engine of the Dutch economy. “

When is all this going to happen?

Smits: “On 15 June, the first meeting of the ministerial group took place on the upscaling of Brainport and what is needed for this. So we are still in the beginning. Official working groups will probably be set up in The Hague to work on things. “

The TU / e spring memorandum is already pre-sorting for growth: It states that we are expected to grow to 14,600 students in the coming years. “We have received so much extra income from, among others, the Growth Fund and the Sector Plans that we can already on that basis grow to 14,600 in a responsible way and with a healthy student-staff relationship,” says Smits.

Link magazine issue June 2022 | volume 24 theme: How do we build a bridge between software and hardware engineers? Read Link digitally or request a copy: mireille.vanginkel@linkmagazine.nl ‘

The possible growth will occupy the minds. What message would you like to pass on to our community?

“Whether we are actually heading towards a doubling of student numbers after 2030 is far from certain. Of course, we want to include our community in this process as much as possible. Because when the time comes, we will expect everyone to put their shoulders to the wheel: the employee representation, the faculties, the services, everyone. Because let’s face it: It is a huge challenge, but at the same time also a huge opportunity for TU / e. ”

Do not worry.

“And there is every reason for that. Look at the problems with student housing, the general practitioner and dental practice that no longer want to accept new patients, teacher shortages and in the health care system. And now also the cry for help from the operators of the power grids. Look at the number of Ukrainian refugees to be received. It goes down in Brainport and not just in Brainport. In any case, we have stated that we will take our responsibility to our region, but if the conditions are not created, it will stop. “Source TU / E

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