Connectr starts construction of Innovation Lab

Contribution of 5 million euros for realization of energy hotspot

The construction of the Connectr Innovation Lab at Industriepark Kleefse Waard (IPKW) has begun. The Provincial Executive of Gelderland has given the green light today to a contribution of 5 million euros. The province of Gelderland and the Municipality of Arnhem have already contributed to the first activities of the initiative earlier this year. The goal of the initiative is to accelerate the energy transition. 

The Innovation Lab of Connectr – Energy innovation will be an inviting place, where all players in the energy cluster will physically meet, work together and accelerate each other’s growth. The Core organization, consisting of HAN, IPKW, Kiemt, Oost NL, and the Connectr Foundation, will also be concentrated at this location, together with part of the Shared Facilities.

They will receive financial support from the REACT-EU program, which helps the Eastern Netherlands invest in innovative solutions and quick economic recovery after the corona pandemic. The contribution will be mainly used for housing education and start-ups. IPKW and the business park owner, Schipper Bosch, are also investing more than ten million euros in the realization of the lab.

The ultimate mix

Connectr sees added value in housing and facilitating a mix of start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs, large companies, social organizations, governments, and education. This promotes working together, learning from each other, and inspiring each other – just what is needed for innovation.

“Bringing education and business together is a success factor”, says Rob Verhofstad. Verhofstad is president of HAN University of Applied Sciences and recently became a board member of Connectr. There will be plenty of room for HAN’s hybrid learning work environments within the Innovation Lab. “We are extremely pleased that an important part of the Connectr plan is being implemented right now. This investment ensures that we can create a meeting place and breeding ground for the energy cluster.”

Off to a flying start

The realization of one of the components of the Innovation Lab was immediately started at IPKW: the Elaad Testlab, a European testing facility for electric charging infrastructure. Connectr’s dynamic approach shows the ambition and drive behind the project.

IPKW director and Connectr board member Kevin Rijke: The Innovation Lab is a place that will soon deliver the latest innovations. Parties will work together here and grow. This also contributes to our ambition of being the most sustainable business park in the Netherlands. Moreover, this brings us even closer to the source of innovations, which will allow us to accelerate the energy transition at the park and in other projects.”

Bernold Kemperink, team manager Energy at Oost NL: "We create on-site strong dynamic cooperation between business, education and government. This vibrant community around innovation, testing and validation of energy innovations resulted in a much faster market approach for all new and exciting innovations. In other words, this Lab is a strong accelerator for the energy transition.”

“As far as I know, Connectr will be the first platform for new energy on this scale”, adds Bart Schoonderbeek, director of Schipper Bosch. “It is truly the result of what we have been tirelessly working on together with the municipality and other partners – a professionalization, connection, and acceleration of the sustainable initiatives that are already taking place in this region. This important moment heralds a new phase, and we are immensely proud to be part of it with IPKW.”