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3. Research and entrepreneurship

Within the Research & Impact department (Academic Affairs division), steps have been taken to market knowledge across the spectrum of Radboud research. The department helps scholars create social, cultural and economic added value from their knowledge and expertise. It also supports them in collaborating with public and/or private parties and assists them with applications for research funding and the establishment of start-ups and spin-offs.

2021 results

The results in a nutshell:

  • 6 new patents applied for

  • 7 licences granted

  • €1 million gained in innovation grants (not research grants)

  • 3 strategic collaborations created

  • 9 spin-offs, 3 of which are in the humanities and social sciences

  • 142 researchers supported through the Mercator Launch programme

  • €625,000 in funding obtained by start-ups

  • 6 finalists in the Innovation Competition , with Machine Precision as the winner

In 2021, the Knowledge Transfer Office worked to further develop previously launched spin-offs. These included Moving Motives (an employee well-being programme), De Tijdmachine  (heritage education for schools, museums and cultural institutions), the Nederlands Instituut voor Persoonlijke Ontwikkeling (NIPO) , and Letterprins (an educational game for children).

Spotlight on an entrepreneurial initiative: Soluxa

The start-up Soluxa has combined necessity with aesthetics to create coloured solar panels that can be used on building facades. Lourens van Dijk developed the idea during his PhD research, followed by a feasibility study with John Schermer’s Applied Materials Science research group. The results were promising and led to a pilot project in which the coloured panels were installed on a facade of the Huygens building on Radboud University’s campus. Soluxa also received a boost by winning the 2021 Jan Terlouw Ambition Prize.

Lourens van Dijk, Soluxa’s founder, beside the Huygens building on Radboud University’s campus / Photo: Erik van ’t Hullenaar

Van Dijk: “The facade on the Huygens building is a showcase for us. It shows potential customers what our product looks like and the types of colours that can be used. If it’s successful, we’d like to explore the option of making the entire Radboud University campus more sustainable.” Van Dijk also notes that the possibilities extend beyond installation on facades. “For example, think of dykes, noise barriers and solar farms.”

For the coloured panels, Van Dijk uses a coating that can be applied directly to existing and future black panels. This development offers opportunities due to a new law that stipulates that new buildings must generate 40% of their own energy. Simply having solar panels on the roof is not enough.