East Netherlands has been attracting a growing number of companies and R&D organizations in the area of health and life sciences, from global pharma companies’ branch offices to research-driven startups. They are being drawn in by the region’s extensive network of innovation-minded knowledge and health organizations, a large and well trained multilingual labor pool, ample inexpensive business locations and consistent support from local governments.
A growing cluster of leading commerce in Health
East Netherlands’ growth in the areas of health and life sciences is well illustrated by the rapidly growing number of business parks and campuses housing new company players.
A few decades ago, the strategically located region counted just one business park; today, it has four: Novio Tech Campus Nijmegen, Mercator Technology & Science Park Nijmegen, Knowledge Park (‘Kennispark’) Twente Enschede, and Health Innovation Park Zwolle.
Many of the world’s leading life sciences and health companies have already chosen to settle here. Among them are well recognized European names such as Astrazeneca, Biotronik, LeadPharma, Synthon, and Wassenburg Medical.
Even more telling may be the number of players from North America and Asia, with names such as Abbott, AbbVie, ASO, Exerion, Medimmune, GE, MDx Health, Microtek, Mindray, New Brunswick Scientific, Stryker, and Synergy Health.
Knowledge organizations in Health
Regional business players gain access to East Netherlands’ many health-related knowledge organizations, which include research universities, academic medical centers, research institutes, research-oriented hospitals and outpatient service providers, as well as universities of applied sciences. They offer companies in the region lots of new ideas, a large and well suited labor pool, and invaluable access to patient cohorts, lab equipment and other research infrastructures.
East Netherlands research universities
- Radboud university and medical center (Nijmegen), a century-old general research university with almost 5,000 staff and over 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students, specializes in organic chemistry, microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology, human genetics, and brain research, among many other fields. It includes the Radboud Institute for Health Sciences and the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, spanning the faculties of Medicine and Science and focusing on molecular medicine, cell biology and translational health research in areas such as cell differentiation and cancer; genetic and metabolic disorders; renal disease; and structural and computational biology. Radboud University is home to ParkinsonNet, the Dutch network for treatment and research related to Parkinson’s disease. The renowned Donders Center for Neuroscience (affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) is part of Radboud University as well. A dedicated program called RockStart is connecting young digital health companies with patients and health professionals, helping them to bring innovative products to international markets.
- University of Twente is a multicultural community of talented, ambitious people that offers students, scientists and educators from around the world the best possible conditions. It has over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 3,300 staff. Core technologies, among the world’s best, in fields such as nanotechnology and biomedical engineering, IT, robotics and geo-information science, are major research fields of this energetic university, which has spun off more than 1,000 companies so far.
- Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the largest food, nutrition and agriculture research community in the world, ranks in the top-30 of life sciences universities globally. Its more than 6,500 staff and 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students from over 100 countries focus on healthy food and the living environment.
Proximity to high-end public and public/private technology research gives companies access to the latest knowledge, infrastructure and collaborative development projects. East Netherlands offers many such opportunities. To name a few:
- The Technical Medical (TechMed) Centre is a leading innovation hub impacting healthcare by excellent research, innovation and educational programs. Research domains are: Bioengineering technologies, Biorobotics, Health, well-being & technology, Imaging & diagnostics and Medical physiology.
- Radboud University’s Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) works in hot areas such as molecular life-like systems and molecular materials design, with research groups covering all forms of organic chemistry including diagnostics and drug discovery. Bioinformatics is another of Radboud University’s key areas.
- The Sint Maartenskliniek is a research clinic dedicated to disorders related to posture and movement. The clinic specializes in orthopedics, rheumatology, and rehabilitation techniques, with a capacity of 300 in-patients and 400 out-patients. The clinic has its own research department.
- Sports and Innovation Center Papendal is a leading center for research and innovation in the area of sports. It harbors medical research and a Sports Innovation Lab for privately funded development and validation of innovative products, services and facilities. The lab specializes in performance monitoring, physiology, recuperation, sleep, and nutrition.
Universities of applied sciences
Approximately 100,000 (under)graduate students are trained at universities of applied sciences across the region, such as HAN, Saxion, and Windesheim. Many of those students follow curricula directly related to health or healthcare.
Profit from the support of committed governments
Health and life sciences entrepreneurs in East Netherlands benefit from government support, both financial and general, at regional, national, and European levels.
- In Europe, the presence of many internationally acclaimed researchers and institutes helps to bring millions of euros into public-private collaboration projects that are part of the EU’s Framework Programmes.
- At the national level, the Dutch government has consistently named ‘life sciences and health’ as a key innovation priority, which has ensured long-term incentives and access to hundreds of millions of euros in public contributions to public-private R&D projects.
- Regional governments, i.e. the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, provide support in many ways, for example by supplying venture capital and by co-funding regional health innovation initiatives. Examples include collaborations such as EFRO and Interreg and Health Valley, a public-private network organization that covers the wider East Netherlands region especially in areas such as molecular diagnostics, translational medicine, robotics and medical devices for care and cure, and e-Health.
Regional governments also contribute by actively providing attractive business campus locations.
Establish your business at a strategic location
Part of East Netherlands' allure is its strategic location, right between and very close to the economic engines of Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the German Ruhr District.
East Netherlands offers an excellent work, live, and play environment:
- companies and employees profit from top-rated connectivity: both digital and transportation infrastructures that include Europe’s largest seaport and airports serving global destinations.
- employees and their families enjoy excellent healthcare and education systems.
- the Netherlands is top-ranking in the 'World Happiness Report' for many years.
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