In 2013, Maastricht University, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+) took the initiative for Kennis-As, a strategic ten-year programme to strengthen the social and economic structure in Limburg. In March 2015, the Fontys University of Applied Sciences joined as the fourth knowledge institution. Central to Kennis-As is the reinforcement and connection of the four Brightlands campuses that are generally regarded the current and future flywheels of the economic development. Kennis-As also stimulates a healthy and vital population.
Kennis-As dovetails with the nationwide programme Brainport 2020, aimed at transforming the south-eastern Netherlands into a knowledge economy of international stature in the fields of biomaterials, agri/food and health. The programme also fits in the European agenda, which explicitly incorporates ageing, health and sustainability.
Together, the three founders and Fontys invest €190 million in engaging projects and developments on and around the campuses in Maastricht, Geleen, Venlo and Heerlen. The Province of Limburg matches the investments with the same amount; this leads to a total of €380 million that is available to initiate and expand projects.
Together with the investments by trade and industry and (inter)national subsidies about €600 million will expectedly be invested in the Limburg economy. Calculations indicate that this will lead to 2300 direct and 10.000 indirect jobs. The further expansion and linkage of the campuses also has international effects. Collaborations with various knowledge institutes in the border region are being initiated.
In recent years, major projects have been launched within the framework of Kennis-As Limburg, often at the initiative of Maastricht University. These projects share a series of characteristics. Without exception they are multidisciplinary and nurtured by various (scientific and social) partners; they seek connections with trade and industry and focus on either the social issues in Limburg or the economic strengths in the region. That way they guarantee a sustainable reinforcement the economic and social structure in Limburg.
Examples of Kennis-As projects:
Aachen Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials: AMIBM
- Business Intelligence and Smart Services Institute: BISS
- Educatieve Agenda Limburg: EAL
- Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross border cooperation and Mobility: ITEM
- Limburg Invests in its Knowledge Economy: LINK
- The healthy elementary school of the future: Movare
- University College Venlo
- Healthy Eating and Food Innovation: HEFI
Several new initiatives of the Kennis-As partners will soon be realised.
The Kennis-As programme of Maastricht University and its partners gives a new impetus to the region. It can certainly make a difference in Limburg. The robust support from the Province of Limburg enables us to work on the Brightlands campuses, together with the other knowledge institutes and trade and industry, towards sustainable reinforcement of the knowledge infrastructure and the Limburg economy. And UM has the best of both worlds: in our quest for the translation of knowledge into new applications for trade and industry, this a clever and effective way for us to realize innovations in education and research. The first project results are promising in that respect, but they are long-term developments that need time to flourish. In 2023, we will take stock. I am confident that we will have come a long way by then.”
Nick Bos, Vice-President Maastricht University