Digging for innovation

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could know what every researcher at TU Delft is up to? The DIG-it! team of the TU Delft Valorisation Centre aims to uncover just that.

After the success of the first edition in 2014, they are mapping the university innovation ecosystem again faculty by faculty by approaching every researcher and asking them what they are working on. In February 2016 they made a sweep of the Civil Engineering and Geosciences faculty (CiTG), conducting 240 interviews.

TU Delft alumnus Robbert van Leeuwen, graduate of the Science Education and Communication MSc, is responsible for this exploratory first step of a three stage process. Around eight students, Dutch and internationals from all faculties make up his innovation harvesting team. Selection depends on the researchers’ willingness to collaborate and their work’s potential impact and interest to industry.

“The second explanatory step involves making the ideas into something tangible,” said Susanne Sleenhoff, DIG-it! team coordinator. “For each project chosen we produce a cartoon capturing the innovative idea in one image. Then we look at other ways to visualise the idea. Though many researchers say they would like to make a film, it can also be a 3D model or some kind of physical prop too.”

The third step exposes the innovations at the TU Delft Research

Exhibition held on campus. The show displays the selected projects, raising visibility on campus but mainly to industry and the market. The first research exhibition presented 90 projects, and they hope for double that at the second one. “This year’s Research Exhibition on June 2 will feature a teaser with some of the latest innovations we dig up,” said Sleenhoff. “We also want to empower researchers to communicate their work so we encourage them to use these images in their own presentations,” she said. The projects are also published on the searchable DIG-it! website. DIG-it! evolved from the biannual Delft Innovation award running since 2009.

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