Delft University of Technology and Rabobank will together explore ground-breaking innovations in the fields of smart cities, health and agrifood. For this reason, Rabobank has joined X!Delft, the new collaboration programme of Delft University of Technology and large companies, supported by Roland Berger. The contract was signed by rector-magnificus Tim van der Hagen and Bart Leurs, member of the board and Chief Digital Transformation Officer at Rabobank.

“We are good at education and research at Delft University of Technology, but we also want to contribute to a better society,” said Van der Hagen during the ceremony. “We do this by involving companies. We are therefore pleased that Rabobank is sharing their expertise to work together on pioneering innovations.”

Shared ambition

Rabobank’s mission aligns with Delft University of Technology’s, Leurs stated. “We want to help our customers innovate, and at the same time have an impact on society.” The process of innovation has become more and more complex, and companies often no longer can manage on their own. “With the knowledge and know-how of Delft University of Technology we can help our customers to implement new, promising technology quickly.”

Smart buildings

The three themes on which TU Delft and Rabobank will work together are also central to the bank’s innovation strategy. For smart cities, for example, it is about developing sustainable energy systems and new concepts in the field of urban planning and smart buildings. Besides the Faculty of Architecture, AMS Institute, The Green Village and EIT Climate are also involved.

Swarm drones

One of the planned projects around the agrifood theme is a matchmaking event between 35 companies and researchers, thereby making use of Rabobank’s sector knowledge. Delft University of Technology has several faculties within which technology is being developed with a possible application in the agrifood and horticulture industry. Think of sensor technology, plant computational biology, new robot technology for picking tomatoes, processing food or allowing drones to fly in swarms and to communicate with each other.

The cooperation in the field of health will start with a ‘deep dive’ session to identify the areas in which the combined expertise of Rabobank and Delft University of Technology can lead to radical innovations.

Joint innovation programmes

X!Delft was established earlier this year. Corporate partners are Heineken, Nouryon, VolkerWessels, NS, Aegon, Leaseplan and Rabobank. With an annual contribution to X!Delft, they kickstart the development of joint innovation programmes.

These programmes are drawn up on the basis of both the strategic challenges of the partners and the scientific challenges for the researchers, and are expected to lead to intensive experimentation and innovation within the entire innovation ecosystem around Delft University of Technology: from students and researchers, to fieldlabs and startups. It will request a new way of thinking and working and challenge companies to be open to totally new insights from students and researchers that question the status quo.