Rotterdam and other cities throughout the world are having to face major social challenges in the way of sustainabilisation, digitalisation, urbanisation and health. Walls between several disciplines must be broken down to be able to achieve intelligent solutions. Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC and TU Delft are therefore going to intensify their cooperation in the fields of Health & Technology, Sustainable Rotterdam Delta and Artificial Intelligence & Data Science.

How do you make transport in the city smarter and cleaner? How can Data Science support jurisdiction? And how can you live more healthily using Artificial Intelligence? We must solve complex issues if we are to maintain liveability in Rotterdam and other urban areas in the world; looking from the perspective of one single science will no longer suffice.

Realising ground-breaking solutions

‘By virtue of this far-reaching collaboration we are going to improve the possibilities for realising ground-breaking solutions and to ensure systematic stimulation of the social embedding and acceptance of new technological and medical developments’, says Hans Smits, interim chairman of the Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Executive Board. ‘This combination makes the two universities and our medical centre even more attractive for students, international top-level researchers and valorisation partners from governmental circles and the corporate world.’

Health & Technology eco system

An eco system is being created in which top-level scientists from wide ranging disciplines can integrate their knowhow, expertise and research methods. Thus, they make new discoveries and come up with intelligent solutions that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of health care, improve health and the quality of life as well as enabling people to manage their health themselves, remotely from the hospital. Smart sticking plasters are an example, or other types of technology that measure data and forward them to the hospital without delay. Patients then need to attend check-ups less frequently whereas care professionals can quickly avail themselves of the correct data.

The HealthTech Campus, which will be set up in Rotterdam, is going to provide physical space to scientists hailing from various disciplines, ranging from medical science and health sciences to technical and social sciences, with the aim of collaborating with businesses and institutions on start-ups, scale-ups and wet labs.

Erasmus MC. Photo: Rob van Esch

Co-creation in the Sustainable Rotterdam Delta

It is crucial for Rotterdam and other metropolitan areas that solutions be realised for various social issues in relation to climate and energy transition, amongst others. The resulting Sustainable Rotterdam Delta initiative considers Rotterdam and its region as a ‘living lab’ for challenges in terms of mobility, the built-up environment and water management, but also in relation to associated social aspects such as equal opportunities, healthy living environment, crime prevention, avoidance of health discrepancies, economy and employment. The Sustainable Rotterdam Delta initiative is meant to be set up in Rotterdam, along with several regional co-creation cores. Cooperation with the municipalities within the Rotterdam delta and other social partners is going to form an essential part of the approach.

Artificial Intelligence & Data Science

In addition, Erasmus University Rotterdam will be committing itself to enhanced expertise development and education on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI). ‘Both the Faculty of Economics and the Rotterdam School of Management already boast extensive expertise on Data Science and AI. Beyond that, however, extensive research is being done into the consequences of the practical application of new technologies’, says Rutger Engels, Rector Magnificus of Erasmus University. In this context, one may think of the recognising of fake news or the avoiding of prejudices in data-driven HR & selection. Another recent example is a study into how trust in the internet economy has be fosteredhoe vertrouwen in de interneteconomie kan worden gerealiseerd.  ‘We can make an important contribution towards the legal, ethical and governance issues that are associated with the introduction of new technologies. This dovetails perfectly with the mission of the university: the creation of positive social impact.’

Erasmus University Rotterdam Photo: Chris Gorzeman
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