Every week we will give you a sneak peak into the international MicroNanoConference 2019.  This week we will talk with Schroën…

Karin, can you share with us what you do at MinacNed?

I have joined the board of MinacNed in 2015. First as a regular member representing academia. More specifically Wageningen University where I work. After 2 years I took over the role of treasurer, and I’m still in that function now. Besides my activities for the board and being involved in strategic research programs such as NanoNextSteps I’m also active in the Programme Committee which is involved in organizing the IMN19. Being a part of the board has really helped my development on technology development. MinacNed is a lively community with a big drive to make a difference and I enjoy my participation in that eco-system.

You are one of the speakers at the iMNC19. What will you be talking about?

I will discuss the work that we do at Wageningen University within the food process engineering group. I will show how we apply insights obtained at micro- and nanoscale . This to make better and healthier food products that fit within the sustainable development goals of the UN. For example you can think about the use of plant based proteins, that in essence are more sustainable then their animal / dairy base counterparts, but that have less high technical functionality. We have developed microfluidic tools with which we can test the technical functionality using highspeed imaging. This allows us to look at functionality within microseconds, and sometimes even faster, which is also very relevant for processes as they occur in large-scale processing equipment. Based on these insights we can either up-scale microfluidic devices , redesign current processes making them intrinsically more sustainable.

How is you work at the university aligned with microsystems and nanotechnology?

The topic is very much in the core of the work that we do within the food microtechnology group. In itself the approach that we have chosen is a very exceptional one within the field of food striving for mechanistical understanding. Because of this, it also attracts a lot of attention. To share an example: on September I presented our work as one of the plenary speakers at ICEF, the largest world food conference in Melbourne and the audience was amazed about the options that now are within reach. Even more on how that can contribute to more sustainable food production.

What can visitors expect at your speaking session?

They will be exposed to a completely new way of looking at food and food production and how this can be used to make our future more sustainable! Besides this, I will also try to link to some of our future research ideas on how to investigate technical functionality and also digestive functionality, and links to organ on chip technologies to maybe establish food that is intrinsically healthy, possibly even at the level of individuals. I always like to think that if people can eat themselves healthy, this would reduce the burden on health care a lot and thus greatly contribute to the economy. Obviously also micro- and nanotechnology for health hold great importance, but I see options to add a different dimension using these technologies for e.g. screening of ingredients, and food product design.

The title of the conference this year is: Where science meets industry..what’s your take on that?

What I truly hope will happen is that there is going to be mutual inspiration. As an academic researcher I always hope that the things I investigate are going to be useful for society as a whole! Being active in the field of food also implies that if I can come up with new concepts… that can have a huge effect on the world that we live in. On the other hand, I am not ultimately equipped to bring these findings to the market because start-ups are of essence in that process or a larger company that can embrace that technology. At the IMNC, all parties that are needed to bring scientific discoveries to the next level are present, and I hope to be part of the inspiration needed to make the world a more sustainable place for generations to come!

What do you want visitors and exhibitors to still remember and take home after the conference?

Because food is not a standard topic for micro- and nanotechnology, I hope that the visitors will be fascinated by what this field has to offert and the extent to which our technology can contribute to the production of healthy, and sustainable food. What I hope is that the vastness of food production remains in visitors’ minds and that even small changes will have a great effect on the world that we live in.

Meet Frank van de Scheur.  He is the Department Head, MEMS & Micro Devices at Philips in Eindhoven. His background in Chemical Engineering is a valueable contribution to the MinacNed board which he has been a part of since 2016.

How did you get involved with MinacNed? “ I was asked to take the vacant seat of my predecessor as department head and I have been a member of MinacNed board since 2016 and I have also taken moderator roles in several MinacNed meetings.” Most recent Frank was the moderator of the MEMS & Photonics Innovation Event on October 29th in Amersfoort.

What’s your input from a company side to the work of MinacNed?“Microsystems and nanotechnology is the core technology for my department in Philips. As a large company, Philips takes responsibility to help build the ecosystem in the Netherlands. Philips is a globally operating company which has an international scope.”

What’s your take on the eco-system of microsystems & nanotechnology in the Netherlands, from a science and industry side? “There is a good basis with several organizations supporting the science and industry side. Too much fragmentation is not very helpfull in a small country like Holland. I think we must join forces if we want to win internationally. Therefore I am a strong supporter of an initiative such as Nano4Society, where MinacNed and Nanonext.nl cooperate successfully.”

iMNC19 is titled ‘Where science meets industry’ –  What can visitors and exhibitors expect? “ MinacNed has a good mix of members from business and academia. Vistors can expect a program focusing on creating value in the industry based on world class technologies from universities. What I want vistors to get from iMNC19 is fresh inspiration and new ideas to develop their business and/or research. I want people to get nsight that true cooperation in networks is essential and indispensable to win over the competition in microsystems and nanotechnology.”

Intriged about how Philips Innovation Services works? Click here for more information.

During the track Nano4security Jaap Knotter, lector at the Saxion University of Applied Sciences and also working at the National Police Academy, will hold a talk about the use of nanotechnology. With the chair Advanced Forensic Technology Knotter and his colleagues develop new techniques to use nanotechnology for forensic purposes in an attempt to solve crime cases faster.

 By: Dimitri Reijerman

His aim for attending and speaking at the international MicroNano Conference is clear: “What I’m trying to do is building a bridge between fundamental knowledge, developed at the classic universities during the years, and the application of these techniques in the security domain, in particular for investigation purposes. I hope that during the conference new consortia will stand up and say: we might have developed new technology that might be useful for the police and others.”

Knotter is, as an expert in forensic technology, always searching for new techniques and methods, both in prevention and investigation cases. He explains: “There are reactive and proactive Investigations. Reactive investigations start at the crime scene after an offense has been committed. Detectives will start collecting evidence, but finding the right traces afterwards can be really hard.”

Crime scenes

And that’s not only because crime scenes are tough, Knotter says: “A crime scene is continuously threatened with contamination, while detectives also feel the constant pressure of time. And there’s also the fact that in many cases you have to search for very tiny pieces of evidence. There isn’t always a puddle of blood or a loaded weapon laying around at a crime scene. Criminals try to conceal their crimes with contra strategies. But with nano technology, like lab-on-a-chip-technology, you can start the analysis right away on the crime scene. This makes it possible to make much faster a substantiated decision for which trail to follow. Rapid analysis on the crime scene is one of the most crucial technologies investigation services need.”

A time stamp on evidence is also crucial: “You need trusted answers on that questions. When did this incident happen? When did the victim die?” Nanotechnology could help with quantum dots, modified nano particles, Knotter says: “These particles could be attached to the biomarkers in a piece of evidence. The quantum dots will give a certain amount of reflection, which could, after measurement, say something about the age of the evidence.”


Knotter also thinks nano technology could play a role on the pro-active side of police work: “Take  the production of narcotics as an example. During the production of synthetic drugs al lot of chemicals go up in the air. With very sensitive detectors we might be able to pin point production facilities. Nowadays there are no commercially available detectors on the market which can trace XTC-production, but it’s certainly technically possible, like ring resonators or using golden nano particles.”

While Knotter is very enthusiastic about the technological possibilities nowadays, he emphasises that many innovative products and techniques are not being used in the forensic field: “Companies shouldn’t just release new products, they need to go to the end users and say: how do we implement these? And end users should be more active in the development stages of these products. I hope this conference can help to work better together. Let’s build new coalitions.”

Bedrijven, kennisinstellingen en overheden gaan in 2020 gezamenlijk voor bijna vijf miljard euro investeren in het vernieuwde topsectoren- en innovatiebeleid van het kabinet. Daarvan komt 2,05 miljard van bedrijven en 2,85 miljard uit publieke middelen. Vanuit private partners uit de ict-sector komt nog eens 59 miljoen. De totale investering in innovatie is verdubbeld ten opzichte van vorig jaar (2019). Toen bedroeg het innovatiebudget nog 2,4 miljard euro.

Dat staat in het kennis- en innovatieconvenant 2020-2023 (KIC), dat door staatssecretaris Mona Keijzer (Economische Zaken en Klimaat) naar de Tweede Kamer is gestuurd. In dat convenant is een overzicht gemaakt van de voorgenomen budgetten die de partners willen bijdragen aan vier opgestelde maatschappelijke thema’s, te weten: energietransitie en duurzaamheid, landbouw, water en voedsel, gezondheid en zorg en veiligheid. Voor deze thema’s zijn kennis- en innovatieagenda’s (kia’s) voor de komende vier jaar opgesteld. Binnen het kennis- en innovatieconvenant wordt in 2020 specifiek aandacht besteed aan sleuteltechnologieën zoals kunstmatige intelligentie, fotonica, nano en quantum. Hier wordt naar verwachting één miljard euro in geïnvesteerd. Hoe het bedrag wordt verdeeld, is afhankelijk van de behoefte van bedrijven en de kansen die onderzoekers zien.


Volgens Mona Keijzer laat het KIC zien dat meer dan 2.200 bedrijven, kennisinstellingen en overheden samen gaan investeren in Nederlandse innovatie. ‘Alle partijen die nodig zijn voor innovatie zijn aangesloten: van onderzoekers tot ondernemers die deze innovaties ontwikkelen, en van investeerders tot overheden, die hen daarbij ondersteunen. We hebben jaarlijks vijf miljard euro tot 2023 om met slimme technologieën grote maatschappelijke uitdagingen aan te pakken: Nederlandse oplossingen voor internationale, maatschappelijke uitdagingen. Zo werken we aan het veiligstellen van onze banen en inkomsten in de toekomst.’

‘We hebben jaarlijks 5 miljard euro tot 2023 om met slimme technologieën grote maatschappelijke uitdagingen aan te pakken: Nederlandse oplossingen voor internationale, maatschappelijke uitdagingen. Zo werken we aan het veiligstellen van onze banen en inkomsten in de toekomst.’

De overheid laat weten dat er in 2020 ‘een groot aantal nieuwe partners’ zich aansluit bij het KIC. Dat varieert van andere ministeries, provincies en regionale ontwikkelingsmaatschappijen tot kennisinstellingen, universiteiten en hogescholen. Het KIC brengt hun investeringen in innovatie samen om economische kansen te creëren.

Maatschappelijke missies staan centraal

Voor een klimaatbestendig, waterrobuust, duurzaam, gezond en veilig Nederland zijn grote en kleine oplossingen nodig. Van de nieuwste wetenschappelijke inzichten en sleuteltechnologieën tot praktische en menselijke oplossingen in design en gebruik. Missiegedreven innovatiebeleid stelt de maatschappelijke uitdaging centraal. Hierdoor groeit de impact op de maatschappelijke uitdagingen. Verder versterkt het de Nederlandse concurrentiepositie en een duurzame economische groei.


Sleuteltechnologieën vormen een apart thema binnen het KIC. De verwachting is dat de totale investering in deze veelbelovende technologieën voor 2020 zal uitkomen rond € 1 miljard. Dit bedrag biedt mogelijkheden voor het invullen van de al gepresenteerde Nationale Agenda’s voor onder andere artificial intelligence, fotonica en quantum-, en nanotechnologie.

Verder ligt de focus op gezondheid, zorg en veiligheid. En op sleuteltechnologieën, zoals AI (kunstmatige intelligentie, red.), fotonica (lichttechnologie, red.), nano en quantum (computertechnologie, red.) en het economisch verdienvermogen van sectoren.

Veel nieuwe partners zijn meer regionaal georiënteerd en maken het daarom makkelijker voor het midden- en kleinbedrijf om aan te sluiten bij onderzoek en ontwikkeling, stelt EZK. Het mkb is daarom onmisbaar in het innovatieproces, benadrukt het ministerie. ‘Zij zorgen ervoor dat onderzoek zijn toepassing vindt in concrete producten en diensten.’


MinacNed en NanoNextNL hebben samen het programma nano4society ingediend en zullen in december de nationale agenda nanotechnologie presenteren. Informatie over PPS-en en calls zullen gedeeld worden via de social media kanalen van MinacNed en NanoNextNL.

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