Projects, partners and the pandemic: the year in review for Eindhoven Engine

Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, 2021 went well for Eindhoven Engine: four new projects have been added, Eindhoven Engine Academy is gathering pace and OpenCall 2022 is ready to run. Bert Pauli, Head of the Supervisory Board, looks back on a positive year and ahead to our upcoming ambitions.

Strength in adversity

Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Co-location has largely been exchanged for online activities, while events such as the hackathon have been postponed. But in challenge lies opportunity, and the pandemic has allowed us to pilot a system which supports people in asking questions and finding one another. Regular talks with projects and virtual networking have also allowed us to follow the newest developments in Brainport and beyond, helping us to expand our reach even with reduced physical contact.

“Overall, we are very satisfied with our progress and currently have 19 projects,” says Bert. “The Academy is helping them with design thinking, systems thinking, leadership development and business model innovation, while community activities are increasing serendipity between people from different projects – from outside of the box, so to speak and helping to increase crossover potential.”

Partners in equilibrium

Such crossovers between projects – whether in terms of individuals, knowledge or resources – are a crucial part of the Engine’s work and have continued this year with the addition of projects from OpenCall 2021. These also highlight our diversity as an organization, ranging from climate systems and digital twins to energy towers and noise measurement. By encouraging collaboration across domains, we aim to answer interlinked questions facing humanity and our environment.

Engine
on the move

From left to right: Arnoud de Jong, Katja Pahnke, Guustaaf Savenije, Maarten Steinbuch, Bert Pauli, Elke den Ouden, Staf Depla (Superadvisory Board and Directors Eindhoven Engine)

“I’m happy to see that the newest call has increased our number of partners, including both SMEs and bigger organizations,” continues Bert. “It’s also boosted the visibility of our shareholders: TU Eindhoven, TNO and Fontys. This is a trusting relationship with various perspectives on why the Engine is important, including the valorization of new ideas and access to bigger consortia in the region. The Engine is a showcase for entrepreneurship and agile innovation and it’s good to have all these partners in equilibrium.

“The Engine is a showcase for entrepreneurship and agile innovation and it’s good to have all these partners in equilibrium.”

Bert Pauli,
Head Superadvisory Board Eindhoven Engine

Investing in the future

Looking to 2022, the most important task is to allocate the 2.4 million euros received via the Regio Deal to as many as seven new projects. With a little luck, this will coincide with the return of co-location, furthering crossovers between these projects and those already running. The biggest ambition of the Supervisory Board and the Eindhoven Engine management is now to develop a financing structure and business model for after the conclusion of the current call structure in 2025.

“In the Regio Deal,” Bert concludes, “we focus on a balance of projects, outreach and Academy activities. What we see now is new developments in which Eindhoven Engine can play a role, such as the National Growth Fund. We’re already involved in proposals for quantum technology, next-gen high-tech and Data-driven Mobility and Smart City (DEMS) and can contribute to networking, ecosystem development and orchestration. This could help with our goal of finding other financing possibilities to keep on accelerating innovation for years to come.”