Inclusivity of female tech heroes

Geographically based in the Brainport region of the Netherlands, the city of Eindhoven has always challenged the status quo and inspired the community to expand its horizons. Eindhoven Engine plays a significant role within this milieu in order to accelerate innovation and deliver cutting-edge technological solutions. Female tech heroes from different cultural backgrounds add more diversity to the prevalent tech world within this community.

Even though the Netherlands still has much to achieve in terms of inclusivity and diversity within the tech sector, things are slowly changing and improving. Here, what we want to focus on is female inclusivity in high-tech research within the Eindhoven Engine community and the initiation of the female tech heroes era to inspire and make more women enthusiastic about the tech industry. Making the public more aware and creating diversity through inclusivity within Eindhoven Engine are significant objectives in this process.

Eindhoven Engine community

Until April 2022, Eindhoven Engine had 19 projects within the main topics of High Tech, Health Tech, Mobility, Energy and Smart Cities. These projects included 164 members, including the administration team and office team students. Within these projects, the female figure amounts to 23%. Given that only 14% of the entire tech system in the Netherlands are women, Eindhoven Engine is already demonstrating a progressive step which can definitively be expanded in due course. At the end of April, one project finalized its research at Eindhoven Engine.

“The first step is creating diversity through inclusivity and making an impact on these crossover innovations.”

Since OpenCall 2022, seven innovation projects have joined the Engine, bringing the total number of projects up to 25. These projects are WECARE, Smart Heat Shed, PowerLift, DynaPopeX, Direct Air Capture 2.0, COLLidE and AUXSTENT. The diversified nature of the projects is designed in a way to range across the spectrum of cutting-edge technology.

The WECARE project focuses on making an impact on people with dementia. Smart Heat Shed addresses the rapid energy transition. PowerLift wishes to make an impact on the electric aviation industry. Poor air quality and its impacts are being addressed by the DynaPopeX project. In the same direction, the Direct Air Capture 2.0 project aims to capture CO2 directly from ambient air and use it for net-carbon-zero solutions. The CoLLidE project aims for the market introduction of reusable food packaging. AUXSTENT’s objective is unlocking the mechanical limitations of synthetic heart stents.

As the first step in creating diversity through inclusivity and making an impact on these crossover innovations, Eindhoven Engine invites female tech heroes to apply and explore these new ventures.

Dr. ir. Shalika Walker

Postdoctoral Researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology and Eindhoven Engine
(Brains4Buildings project)

Project Leader at Kropman Installatietechniek

Job alert: PDEng trainees on Virtual Position Noise Measurement

Currently one of our projects VIPNOM (Virtual Position Noise Measurement) is looking for two outstanding PDEng candidates within the field of Acoustic Imaging and Signal Processing.

About the Project

Noise is the second largest harmful environmental factor to human beings in Europe and claims 1.6 million healthy life years each year, mainly due to stress and sleep disturbances. VIPNOM focuses on the development of advanced noise measurement methods and acoustic virtual reality.

To effectively combat unwanted noise, it is important to first be able to measure it. Currently, noise is measured by placing microphones at specific locations and those measurements made are applicable for those locations only. VIPNOM advocates the use of microphone arrays at central locations, where noise levels at several other locations can also be measured simultaneously, such as at the balconies of an apartment building next to a noisy road, or across a large area of the city center.

In order to accurately measure noise levels, VIPNOM will further develop, optimize and implement the methods that are developed in the ZERO NWO project. The resulting algorithms will be tested in the living labs: Stratumseind, Strijp-S, and the Philips Stadium. Additionally, the same techniques will also be applied in an acoustic virtual reality to allow interested parties (such as citizens and policy officers) to auralize and experience noise beyond just decibel values on a written report.

We are looking for two PDEng candidates who will strengthen the Sorama team. Start date is end of November 2021. During the project the candidates are encouraged to spend part of their work at Eindhoven Engine as well as the TU/e. While one position will focus on the development of the algorithms and the other on the implementation, the actual scope may be personalized (depending on the profile of the candidates). The candidates will also be registered at TU/e and complete training courses related to the project. Program graduates will be awarded a certified diploma and the degree “Professional Doctorate in Engineering” (PDEng).

This project is funded by Eindhoven Engine.

Electronic Systems group at TU/e and Sorama

The Electronic Systems group consists of seven full professors, two associate professors, eight assistant professors, several postdocs, about 40 PDEng and PhD candidates and support staff. The ES group is world-renowned for its design automation and embedded systems research. It is our ambition to provide a scientific basis for design trajectories of electronic systems, ranging from digital circuits to cyber-physical systems. The trajectories are constructive and lead to high quality, cost-effective systems with predictable properties (functionality, timing, reliability, power dissipation, and cost).

Sorama is a highly innovative company that leads and redefines the frontiers of knowledge in acoustic imaging. This is achieved through intensive collaborations with academic partners and also relentless in-house R&D efforts, effectively bridging the gap between academic findings and industrial know-how. Sorama aims to improve the quality of life for all people, wherever they are, by providing the technology to Make Sound Insightful. Founded in 2009 as a TU/e spin-off by Rick Scholte, Sorama is one of the Netherlands’ Top 250 Growth Companies in 2021.

Requirements

We are looking for excellent candidates that add value to Sorama and the ES group with the following profile:

  • Master degree (preferably in computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or related)
  • Experience in signal processing is preferred
  • Proficient with C++, MATLAB, (preferably CUDA as well)
  • Driven, eager, enthusiastic, ambitious personality
  • Quick learner, able to and interested in acquiring new skills and competences,
  • Affinity with technological products and solutions and working in a high tech environment
  • Live in/near Eindhoven or willing to relocate

Appointment and salary

We offer a full-time, fixed-term, 2-year contract at Sorama including:

  • Competitive salary
  • 25 Holiday days and the option to purchase additional days
  • Challenging work environment where you can create global impact through our unique solutions
  • Operate in a fast-growing company with good future perspectives
  • Knowledgeable and inspiring colleagues
  • Eindhoven Engine and TU/e interaction days throughout your project
  • A flexible work environment
  • Unique office location at Strijp-T, a 5-minute walk from the Eindhoven Strijp train station
  • Excellent coffee and rooftop BBQs

Interested?

Please send your CV, including a detailed curriculum vitae, a letter of motivation, a portfolio with copies of diplomas with course grades and contact information of two references, to jin.jack.tan@sorama.eu under the subject “PDEng student on Virtual Position Noise Measurement”.

For more information on the position, please contact dr. Jin Jack Tan jin.jack.tan@sorama.eu or call our office at +31 40 3041019.

Beware of fragmentation, we need one strong proposition

“Using this view, I can perfectly explain what Brainport stands for,” says Paul van Nunen when he casually walks up the wooden floor of the roof garden with a cup of coffee in his hand. It’s noon and together we see Strijp-T bathed in the golden September sun. Although he’s the director of Brainport, moments later he is energetically pulling at two iron benches to anchor my portable light stand. “You can concentrate on your photography. I will keep an eye on your equipment so the wind doesn’t damage it.” In the hour to come, we will discuss the pending end of the Regio Deal and how Brainport can keep supporting Eindhoven Engine. We will also learn that Paul’s demonstratable willingness to cooperate and can-do attitude are what he values most.

“With the Regio Deal coming to an end
in 2025, we have to come up with ways to fund Eindhoven Engine.”

Paul van Nunen, director Brainport Development

 

Not the straight road, I look for the small and bending one

“I believe we are obliged to do the right thing, not only at home but also at work,” says Paul when we sit down after the photoshoot. Somewhere deep inside of me, I have a vision of where we have to end up. During my career, I learned that the best route to that goal often leads down a small and bending road. Finding and navigating these roads is my job, and I love doing so together with all my colleagues at Brainport. It keeps us excited.”

“Of course, you can look like a strong leader if you say that everybody has to keep their mouths shut and keep their heads down and so forth. It probably looks good in the papers too. For me, that’s the straight road. But I can tell you one thing for sure, after a year you will have accomplished nothing. Solutions often stare you in the face. I call those birthday party solutions. They are easy to point out but actually enacting such a solution is something else.”

Making things happen is quite a job

“We know that we need multidisciplinary teams to come up with meaningful solutions to the everyday challenges in our society. Organizing these teams is an easy idea to suggest and get behind. It sounds nice. To ensure that the right disciplines meet each other by organized coincidence takes effort and is quite a job. You need driven people who believe in this idea of open innovation. People like Katja Pahnke and Maarten Steinbuch who are determined to create a NATLAB 2.0 and ensure that multidisciplinary teams see the day of light. The Brainport region is quite the place to achieve this.”

Beware of fragmentation

“With Brainport, we are building ant nests. In that sense, bringing disciplines together and organizing coincidences. For that, you need personal attention and a location. Eindhoven Engine is a great place for that. The trouble is that we too often count on throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. On the one hand, this is a strength of this region. There is always a brainiac coming up with a new plan to start a brand-new initiative. But we have to watch out for fragmentation. Don’t start something completely new before Eindhoven Engine has had the chance to develop itself properly. I think the Engine has to grow and so we have to say to the region, ‘if you want to work with multidisciplinary teams on meaningful solutions, we do it at Eindhoven Engine’.”

“If you want to work with multidisciplinary teams on meaningful solutions, we do it at Eindhoven Engine.”

With one strong proposition to the Hague

“In order to grow, Eindhoven Engine needs continuity and, with the Regio Deal coming to an end in 2025, we have to come up with ways to fund the Engine. I think Jan Mengelers is right when he says that initiatives like Eindhoven Engine need a structural grant from a regional or national government just to pay for their indirect structural costs. With the Regio Deal, we’ve built something special with Brainport. But that’s my plea for a structural grant from the government. We have achieved so much. It would be such a waste if we had to start all over again. Luckily, the government in the Hague recognizes our success, but this is when we must stay focused and avoid fragmentation. We won’t get support from the Hague if everyone comes up with their own proposition, so let’s combine, using Eindhoven Engine for instance. In that way, I will become the ambassador of Maarten and Katja.”

Eindhoven Engine, make your progress visible

“People always need to know what they get in return for their investment. And that’s the problem with investments in high-tech platforms: results can take years. It’s hard to give people insight. Eindhoven Engine can help to make our progress visible. Their calls have a short duration of three to four years and produce tangible results, like those of the neonatal care project with their artificial womb. As long as the new calls of Eindhoven Engine have a strong correlation with the key technologies of Brainport, we can go to the Hague with a strong case for funding and continue towards our goals.”

Ready to accelerate innovation

So good to be back after the holidays, you can just feel the energy flowing again! Now that new relaxations of COVID measures are in effect, the TU/e Campus is buzzing with students again. Also, more and more people are rediscovering the co-location, like a few PDEngs who are giving our MMP co-location much-needed energy.

Last week, we kicked off the new academic year with a webinar to welcome our new four awesome projects (Brains4Buildings, Vipnom, Neon EE and GEM-Stage); many thanks to the speakers and participants. Interesting talks and even more interesting discussions. One thing is for sure: they are ready to accelerate innovation with you, the Eindhoven Engine community! And good news, the next webinar will be in a hybrid from. I hope to see you soon, face-to-face at our co-location @TU/e Campus again!

 

I hope to see you soon, face-to-face at our
co-location @TU/e Campus again!

Joris Dufils – Community Eindhoven Engine

 

Building the Future: Fully autonomous driving on public roads is possible in the future

A podcast from Kadans Science Partner

Cars are taking over more and more tasks from drivers. Think of parking or driving on the highway. So, technically a lot is already possible when it comes to autonomous driving. But how realistic is it that in the future a car will take over all tasks from humans? Is it possible for a smart car to process the same amount of impulses as a human driver while driving through a busy city? Can an automated system make the same well-considered choices as humans?

Talkshow ‘a Vital Working Environment’

The show is part of the Dutch Technology Week program and is in Dutch

Smart use of technology to boost vitality – Fontys, imec, TNO, Eindhoven University of Technology and Eindhoven Engine cooperate in the FITT and POWErFITTing programmes, forming a strong regional ecosystem. The common goal is to combine their extensive knowledge and experience to develop real-life, innovative and effective solutions to create a vital working environment. New technologies are researched and developed to come up with new technologies that really focus on the working individual and his or her needs.

In this talkshow Maarten Steinbuch (Scientific Director Eindhoven Engine), Steven Vos (professor at Eindhoven University of Technology and Fontys), Sywert Brongersma (Director Strategic Partnerships imec), Marieke van Beurden (Program Director Human Vitality & Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology) and Pieter Jansen (HC Oranje Rood) will share their vision on the future of our way of working and the part that technology plays. We will kick-off the POWErFITTing programme and you can watch live demos of innovative solutions based on smart technologies that are available today.

Community of Practice gaining momentum

The community is gaining momentum; more and more Engine members are finding each other. We will keep organizing activities and workshops to help them to accelerate their projects. As an example, we changed our February webinar to a more interactive format and it was a great success. During the webinar, Lyla and Jasmijn Kok from the Juno Perinatal Healthcare project pitched their artificial womb and the community provided them with valuable input from their own experiences. That’s what it’s all about: sharing success and challenges and helping each other move forward.

For the next webinar for the Eindhoven Engine internal community (29 april 2021), Professor Hans Krikhaar of Fontys University of Applied Sciences will present the SmartMan project. I hope to see the internal community there to help Hans in his mission to accelerate technological innovation in manufacturing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“That’s what it’s all about: sharing success and challenges and helping each other move forward.”

Joris Dufils
Eindhoven Engine Community

The gap between fundamental research and industry

First section of a two-part interview. Read here the second section.

“Eindhoven Engine is based on an essential need in the research and technology landscape. I worked thirteen years at TNO, of which I was chairman of the board for six. As such, I came to the conclusion that TNO is a crucial research organization in the Netherlands. In 1932, TNO was founded to take theoretical discoveries from universities and turn them into applied technical solutions for society and industry.

“There is a missing link in the technology development scale from brilliant research idea to market introduction. From proof of principle through to proof of concept and from a science prototype to a developed prototype ready for production for the market.

“Institutes of applied research, like TNO, can bridge that gap and complete the full chain of technology maturation. The relationship with the universities and the transfer of knowledge is essential in this case. If that process of knowledge transfer (in which TNO can play a key role) had been better developed, Eindhoven Engine would have never seen the light of day.”

 

“Eindhoven Engine is based on an essential need in the research and technology landscape.”

It’s early spring. At the time of this interview, the wind is picking up, gray clouds race overhead and it’s starting to drizzle. This didn’t stop Jan Mengelers – a member of the Eindhoven Engine board until 1 March 2021 – from showing up. A few minutes earlier, he passed the rectangular pond and strode across the grand square surrounded by the towering glass buildings of Eindhoven University of Technology. Very familiar surroundings for him because he was president of this university until mid-2019.

We settled ourselves at the bright yellow picnic tables under the canopy of the main building. “I think this job was actually the job in my career I did best,” he says with a sigh and a slight grin while pointing at the entrance behind me. “This position was the crown of my career. I was finally able to combine all the experiences of previous jobs and put them to good use with more wisdom in this job.”

Obtaining finesse

“When I was thirtyish, fortyish, I was quite different, very eager to achieve ambitious goals with a lot of drive and hard work. I recognize this now in younger generations of the same age. Just like them, I was all ‘sturm und drang’. I missed finesse, diplomacy and thoughtfulness. The older I got, the more it became clear to me that my style had to change. You learn to be more patient, with more understanding of the context of things, and to respect different opinions. Achieving a compromise is not a failure but rather showing respect to the other stakeholders in the process.”

Three worlds co-existing

“We digress; your question was why Eindhoven Engine exists. In the past, the overlap in research between universities, institutes like TNO and industry was greater. Philips NatLab, for instance, did equally good fundamental research as most universities. The transfer of knowledge into marketable solutions was organized in the company itself. But as industry reduced their funds for fundamental research, departments like NatLab reduced substantially and became extremely focused. On paper, institutes like TNO could fill this void. Of course, the researchers of the university and TNO are acquainted with each other, but there is too little symbiotic merging in cooperation.

“In reaction to the 1996 policy of minister Maria van der Hoeven, universities had to also deliver valorization of their knowledge in addition to excellent education and outstanding research. Universities therefore started organizing Technology Transfer Offices. In order to prove the worth of their research, they tried to apply it in practical solutions. This way, the activities of the universities showed an overlap with institutes like TNO. Across universities, a new type of business development was created to bring technologies from curiosity-driven research to application-driven solutions. They started creating and maintaining patents and establishing start-ups. Nevertheless, the universities found it hard to create a smooth transition for technologies. The universities realized that it is not in their nature to build applications. They excel at creating fundamental research and sharing their knowledge in publications, but not in tinkering with a prototype and reproducing it over 35 times until perfection for market introduction. “Three worlds started to exist next to each other: universities, industry and institutes like TNO.”

In need of a NatLab 2.0

“As industry reduced their budgets for fundamental research, they recognized that the brainiacs at the universities produce the most ingenious solutions. The trouble was that these ideas stayed at the universities. There was too little effort to develop them further in order to bring them to the market. I think it would have been best to rearrange the whole research and technology landscape of the Netherlands just to optimize the route of new technologies to the market. It is possible, but you will probably need a good crisis. The solution-driven cooperation between scientists and manufacturers in the recent worldwide COVID-19 crisis is proof of that. “As long as there are higher stakes, no real crises and money to earn with existing proven processes, nothing will change drastically.

“The Engine closes the gap between fundamental research and the market by creating teams of scientists out of the three worlds.”

“We therefore came to the conclusion that we need a NatLab 2.0 embedded in the industrial ecosystem of Brainport. An organization that picks up promising and inspiring fundamental research at the universities and turns it to meaningful solutions that society can benefit from in everyday life. Together with Maarten Steinbuch, we started making plans and we came up with Eindhoven Engine.

“The Engine closes the gap between fundamental research and the market by creating teams of scientists out of the three worlds (universities, industry and institutes) and letting them work on innovations with inspiring ‘moonshot’ goals, preferably co-located in one building. I think that we have successfully created a concept which mends the flow in the progress of technology maturity levels so that it can be a fluid continuum again.”