Getting inspiration — that was the main reason for the 400 or so visitors to come to WUR’s first Company Day on 27 September.
Organizer Sebastiaan Berendse (left) and keynote speaker Rudi Cartuyvels at the Company Day. Photo Jonne Seijdel.
Managers, innovators and developers from companies large and small attended thematic sessions where they were updated on the potential applications and impact of big data, blockchains, climate-smart and circular food production, CRISPR-Cas, photosynthesis and precision agriculture.
Rudi Cartuyvels from the Belgian research institute Imec kicked off with a keynote speech about the relevance of nano-electronics for agriculture, the food industry and the healthcare sector. It was announced last month that Imec is planning a joint research centre with WUR and RadboudMC. Gelderland province has been asked for a cash injection of 65 million euros. Provincial executive member Michiel Scheffer for the D66 party followed Cartuyvels with a speech praising the favourable climate for innovation and start-ups in the province. However, he was unable to confirm the grant of these funds.
There will almost definitely be another Company Day, says the organizer Sebastiaan Berendse, director of Corporate Value Creation. Perhaps the target next time will be not just companies but government organizations too, making it more of a Customer Day. Berendse found it striking that the session with the least pre-registrations, the presentation on photosynthesis, still got a very enthusiastic reception. Berendse: ‘It’s an incredibly very challenging field of research with a lot of opportunities for collaboration with companies.’