28-07-2022

Novel-T to combine its strengths with Defense

Novel-T to combine its strengths with Defense

Novel-T will be collaborating with the Ministry of Defense under the banner of the MINDbase concept: Military Innovation by Doing. MINDbase’s director Hans Kuijper and innovation manager and major Teus Meijering shed light on this unique partnership.

Author: Vera Boertien 28 July 2022

An innovation incubator from Twente working together with the Dutch Ministry of Defense; at first glance, that does not seem like the most obvious combination. Nevertheless, it represents a logical step for both parties. Hans: “Innovation is incredibly important to the Ministry of Defense. Technological developments are happening extremely quickly and we sometimes struggle to keep up. At the same time, we have to deal with an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. Our armed forces are under enormous strain. That means we have to keep innovating in order to keep pace with our neighboring countries. MINDbase will allow us to realize and maintain that accelerated pace of innovation.”

Bridging the gap

The first MINDbase was established in Rotterdam in 2020. Eindhoven was next and now it is Enschede’s turn. MINDbase is an initiative of the Defense Materiel Organization (DMO), in which the Ministry of Defense actively collaborates with knowledge institutions and businesses to expedite innovation. “That makes Novel-T an ideal partner for us,” Hans explains. “Novel-T bridges the gap between the knowledge institutions and the businesses in the region. Being given a chance to look over their shoulder and raise our hand when we see something we think we can use for our own purposes will bring us one step closer to innovation. Novel-T has the ideal network with which to expedite innovation. This partnership saves us precious time because we gain access to Novel-T’s network. We are thrilled about that.”

Expanding the network

The person who will be making optimal use of that network is Teus. He will now take on the role of innovation manager. It will make for a fine challenge, he says. “The Ministry of Defense has a need for innovation. As a result of the budget cuts made in recent years, we are working with some outdated material and we are not quite where we want to be in certain areas. We now have a chance to catch up. With MINDbase, we can expand the Ministry of Defense’s network. I will be looking around the region to see what is available. What new developments are people working on? Can we come up with innovative applications for Defense? We are looking for businesses and researchers who have made great progress in their field and want to capitalize on their work to make the Ministry of Defense smarter, faster, more effective and more secure.  This partnership will help us achieve that goal.”

Strengthening the region

Is the Ministry of Defense only out to use Twente’s knowledge and expertise for its own gain? “Certainly not,” Hans says. “We also want to strengthen the region. For example, when we find a promising innovation that a local business or knowledge institution is working on, we can contribute to its further development for Defense applications.  You can find such innovations everywhere, because Defense is almost like a society in its own right. Hospitals, transportation, cybersecurity: it’s hard to think of something that Defense doesn’t do. In this manner, we will do our part to boost the innovation in the region. That means our partnership with Novel-T is a true win-win situation.”

Would you like to know more about this initiative or do you want to get involved? Contact Teus Meijering via t.meijering@mindef.nl

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