Loads of new ventures and inspiration: five years of IXAnext program

April 21, 2022

On 14 April we concluded the valorisation program IXAnext: talent for innovation with a festive gathering. This event – kicked off by Jan Lintsen, member of the Executive Board of the UvA – celebrated the successes and results of this program from several angles. In its five-year existence, the valorisation program has proven to be a driving force for new activity, public-private partnerships and applications of knowledge and research results at all the participating Amsterdam knowledgeIXAnext event 2022_panel institutions.

It all started in 2016 when the Amsterdam knowledge institutions UvA, VU, HvA and Amsterdam UMC, and the NWO research institutes AMOLF and Nikhef, developed the IXAnext valorisation program in close collaboration with the Municipality of Amsterdam. The aim was to give an impulse to valorisation and knowledge-driven entrepreneurship. The diverse program offered the institutions and their joint Knowledge Transfer Office Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) the opportunity to expand existing valorisation programs and facilities.

Impact in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, IXAnext has led to more demand-driven collaborations between researchers and industry, spin-offs and startups, educational materials and methodologies for entrepreneurship education and permanent valorisation facilities. The social and economic impact of Amsterdam’s research has thus been given a considerable boost. Didier Manjoero (Municipality of Amsterdam, Economic Affairs) mentioned that IXAnext has laid a wonderful foundation on which to build. And we will continue to build: adding shop windows in which we can show and share Amsterdam knowledge and expertise.

IXAnext lowered threshold to entrepreneurship

From the IXAnext valorisation program, the incubators Demonstrator Lab and Amsterdam Venture Studios – where researchers and students can develop and test research-based ideas for a product, service or innovation – have jointly spawned dozens of successful startups. Jardo Stammeshaus (co-founder of startup Liion Power and most innovative student in the Netherlands 2021) said that the most important thing you need as an entrepreneurial student or employee with an idea is the space and facilities to be able to ‘start’. And that is what Demonstrator Lab offers: Technical facilities and support in making a prototype, and coaching. In this way, Demonstrator Lab reduced the step to entrepreneurship for him. Watch the video about Demonstrator Lab and Amsterdam Venture Studios

In addition, the Physics2Market fund offered researchers the opportunity to transfer scientific research from lab to society. For example, by building a prototype or proof-of-concept study, collaborations with companies were established. All these living labs, operating at the intersection of research and entrepreneurship, have produced many innovative projects, a large number of successful startups and inspiring collaborations. Watch the video about Physics2Market.

Sharing knowledge and inspiring education

In order to take entrepreneurship education in Amsterdam to a higher level, cases have been developed for teachers active in entrepreneurship education that describe a variety of companies from the Amsterdam region and their challenges. This allows lecturers to work with recent, regional and inspiring examples in their lessons. Furthermore, pilots with blended learning have been conducted and a Post-Experience Program with masterclasses and courses has been developed for alumni. A matching platform has been developed for student startups: Startup and Running. Here, startups can find a mentor for coaching and business people can share their valuable experience and knowledge with startups. For more information watch the video about Entrepreneurship education.

Looking ahead to a future of new knowledge-intensive activities

The Demonstrator Lab recently opened a second location at the Amsterdam Science Park, and the VU StartHub will open on the VU campus in June 2022. In the coming years we are positively looking forward to what is to come and how the further development of valorisation and knowledge-driven entrepreneurship in Amsterdam will proceed.

Jan Lintsen (member of CvB UvA) said he could speak on behalf of all the colleges of the Amsterdam knowledge institutions that they are extremely proud of what this collaboration has produced. More impact with research, more collaborations outside the institutions. The IXAnext program has inspired them to do much more to realise social and economic impact with Amsterdam research.

The IXAnext valorisation programme is made possible with a contribution of the City of Amsterdam.