University of Twente and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam expand cooperation

Two new Bachelor programmes to attract more young people to engineering

03/31/2021 | 3:00 PM

After a successful start of a joint Bachelor's programme in Mechanical Engineering in 2019, the University of Twente and VU Amsterdam are expanding their cooperation in education, research and valorisation. The universities are building on an existing, unique form of cooperation based on social commitment and a comprehensive approach. A special feature of this cooperation is the integrated approach of alpha, beta and gamma sciences, combined with technology, to work on socially complicated problems, such as climate change or social inequality.

The aim is to offer a joint master's specialisation Sport Data Science in Twente starting in the new academic year of 2021-2022, which will also be offered in Amsterdam a year later. In addition to Mechanical Engineering, other technical bachelor programmes will be offered in Amsterdam, starting with Creative Technology and Industrial Engineering and Management. The expansion of the curriculum fits the ambition to respond to the need of the labour market for highly educated technical people who have an eye for their contribution to society.

Previous research has shown that many prospective scholars with a technical profile choose non-technical Bachelor's programmes in the regions of Noord-Holland and Flevoland. One of the reasons is the lack of a university of technology in these regions. In 2019, the UT and VU Amsterdam launched the Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's programme to prevent technical talent from being lost. The expansion of the educational offerings should persuade more young people to apply for a technical Bachelor course in Amsterdam.

Eye for the environment
Rector Vinod Subramaniam of VU Amsterdam: “The joint educational offerings of our two universities focus on current issues that require a multidisciplinary and integrated approach based on alpha, beta and gamma sciences combined with technology. Examples of important and topical issues are climate change and security. We will join forces in order to meet the demands of both students and the market and provide a comprehensive orientation in solving socially difficult problems through an integrated research approach. The cooperation between the UT and VU Amsterdam offers attractive new opportunities for academic staff at both universities.

Positive impact for the regions
Rector Tom Veldkamp of the University of Twente: “This next step in the cooperation between VU Amsterdam and UT gives a tremendous boost to both regional ecosystems. Connecting the northern Randstad with the high-tech ecosystem in the east of the Netherlands increases the chance of building new relationships, making better use of knowledge, stimulating entrepreneurship and jointly developing innovative solutions for regional, national and global challenges. Moreover, it is a wonderful example of how well universities can collaborate.”

New programmes combine knowledge of both universities
The existing Creative Technology programme at the UT will also be offered in Amsterdam, jointly with VU Amsterdam. This is a broad Bachelor's programme, aimed at developing technical solutions that are smart, well thought-out and creatively designed, with an eye for social relevance.

The bachelor's in Industrial Engineering and Management, which will will also be offered jointly in Amsterdam, is also based at the UT. This programme involves interdisciplinary cooperation to combine the strengths of both universities. Students are educated to become industrial engineering managers by building up knowledge and expertise based on different disciplines (ICT, mathematics, engineering). The School of Business and Economics is involved in the development of the programme at VU Amsterdam.

The Sports Data Science Master's specialisation will start in Twente and will be part of the Computer Science Master's programme. This unique specialisation offers students insight into the ways in which human sports performance and activities, and human movement in general, can be improved through the use of data. Sports Data Science combines the technical expertise in sensors and systems as well as expertise in data science with knowledge from the Faculty of Behavioural and Physical Sciences of VU Amsterdam. The specialisation will start in September 2022 at the UT and is expected to start at VU Amsterdam a year later, as a specialisation of Human Movement Sciences.

The next steps
Both institutions have great ambitions. These ambitions will be implemented in a focused and phased manner over the next few years, partly to limit the workload within the organisations. Efforts will be made to achieve as many joint appointments as possible in education, research and valorisation.

More information
For more information on the ambitions and those involved in educational and research activities, we refer to the attached joint publication.