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Minister Dijsselbloem visits the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen

On Friday, March 3, 2017, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch Minister of Finance visited Techruption at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus. During his visit, the minister learned about the latest developments in the field of new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Techruption is a new community at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen that is made up of small and large enterprises and organizations, start-ups and academic institutes working together to build further on technological innovations in blockchain and artificial intelligence, and on new smart solutions to fight climate change and its effects. The community acts as a breeding ground for concrete, practical applications in these fields.

The visit consisted of a plenary program in the Brightlands Smart Services Campus auditorium, where the minister was first welcomed by Twan Beurskens (Deputy for Economic Affairs and Knowledge Infrastructure) and Peter Verkoulen (CEO of Brightlands Smart Services Campus). This was followed by the visit to the Techruption workspace, where companies and scientists pitched their use cases.

Winner of first prize in the Energy Track at the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon in Groningen on January 12th of this year, start-up TOBLOCKCHAIN pitched its winning use case “Power to Share” to the minister. Eneco, IBM and TNO presented their pitch, “CleanEnergy”, which garnered them second prize at the Energy Track during the Hackathon. APG and PGGM pitched their use case, “Transfer of value for pensions using blockchain”. Zuyd University of Applied Sciences presented several matters to the minister involving legislation and blockchain.

The Business Intelligence & Smart Services (BISS) Institute (comprised of Maastricht University, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and Open University) updated the minister on the latest developments in robo advisory and emotion recognition.

Assisted by Joep Beukers of APG’s Innovation Division, Chairman of the Techruption Advisory Board, Willem Vermeend, provided insight into smart solutions to fight climate change and its effects.

The visit was concluded in the auditorium where the Techruption work groups had the opportunity to put their burning questions to the minister in a college-tour-like setting. One of these questions was how the minister would be able to help put blockchain technology on the agenda at a European level, which would enable the Netherlands to be a forerunner in the field of blockchain technology.

The Brightlands Smart Services Campus is part of Brightlands, an ecosystem for open innovation in health and sustainability. At the four Brightlands campuses, ambitious researchers, entrepreneurs and students take on global challenges in the fields of materials, health, nutrition and smart services. The campuses link trendsetting knowledge, unique R&D technology, international scope and continuous learning pathways to active valorization.

Maartje Janssen