Public-private research is full of pitfalls, both for universities committing extensive resources and for companies that lose money when promising technology fails. In Delft, a different approach is underway. Erik te Roller reports.
Delft University of Technology has recently started working with eight companies, but it is doing so in a novel way. The partners do not collaborate on a contract basis or in a clearly defined public-private research project. Instead, they are jointly exploring technologies in order to arrive at interesting innovations.
This form of collaboration has been named X!Delft. The idea behind it is that meeting global challenges requires technological innovation that is complex, multidisciplinary, capital-intensive and potentially disruptive. No company, research institute, government or industry can develop and introduce such innovations on its own.