Innovation and enterprise on the VU campus

Anyone passing by the leading businesses on the way to VU Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC can sense it immediately: this area breathes ambition and international allure. The exciting mix of entrepreneurs, researchers, physicians, lawyers, students, scientists (including data scientists) and residents endows the area with a unique atmosphere. The Zuidas Innovation District, with the VU campus as the most important site, brings together science and business. The innovations that take place here contribute to the progress of Amsterdam, the broader region and society as a whole. In the future, it will be possible to live here, or to network in nice cafés and restaurants or visit the cinema and theatre in the New University Building.

Science: Teaching and research with societal impact

The most prominent scientific knowledge is available in the Zuidas Innovation District (also known as the Knowledge District). The most important knowledge bearers in the area are VU Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) and Inholland University of Applied Sciences. A broad spectrum of science is available in terms of both teaching and research, ranging from the humanities, social sciences and pure sciences to the life sciences and medical sciences. One characteristic in this regard has to do with the links that are drawn from various disciplines to societal challenges and relevant themes in society. This is manifested particularly in the many interdisciplinary research institutes that have been established in the area. Examples include the Netwerk Institute, the Tinbergen Institute, Laserlab Amsterdam and Amsterdam Public Health (APH). Together, they are collaborating on pioneering research with societal impact.

Health & Life Sciences

Amsterdam UMC and VU Amsterdam have built up a leading position in the areas of Human Health & Life Sciences. With research institutes, like the Cancer Center Amsterdam and Amsterdam Neuroscience equipped with their specific and state of the art research core-facilities, their experts and the presence of patient cohorts, this area is a European and global leader for scientific research in the fields of oncology and neurology. 

Within this district, medicine and diagnostics are developed in an innovative manner, using enabling technologies that draw on the exact sciences (molecular imaging, data science, Artificial Intelligence and photonics). The distinctive research domains in the field of Health & Life Sciences in the Zuidas Innovation District are as follows:

Cooperation between science, start-ups and the business community is supported by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) and the team Enterprising VU. It is therefore an important link in the proposition of smart health Amsterdam. In addition, smart innovations relating to exercise, sports and health ensure a vital city and society.

A good location for companies

The Zuidas Innovation District is a good location for companies and institutions that focus on knowledge and innovation. This is due to the aforementioned knowledge institutions, the existing concentration of national and international companies, the supply of highly educated, specialized personnel, research and patient cohorts for medical studies. Combined with the dynamic, urban surroundings, the future HSL hub at the Amsterdam Zuid station, the proximity of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Schiphol and the available developmental space, the Zuidas Innovation District fulfils an important role for the city and the region. For further information on the possibilities of locating here, please contact the IXA Team VU-VUmc (+31 (0)20 598 9905).

Starting at the VU campus

Valorization is one of the university’s and medical center’s core activities. Through valorization, scientists make a significant contribution to developments that benefit society. The Amsterdam Venture Studios and the Demonstrator Lab in the Mathematics and Physics Building (W&N) offer students and researchers the opportunity to transform their knowledge into tangible products, services or processes. With support from the IXA valorization centre and the ACE incubator, it is the best place on the campus to start a company and make it grow. In addition to access to high-level research facilities and laboratories, the proximity of talented and ambitious students is a major advantage for start-ups. In late 2021, the VU campus will be enhanced by the VU StartHub: a pavilion for enterprise (including student enterprise), impact and innovation. This ‘enterprise hub’ will offer access to coaching by experts, as well as a programme for students who are starting businesses with social impact.