Convergence of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC and TU Delft

Recent geopolitical and health crises have shown us that our society is not as stable and safe as we once imagined and that complex social challenges are often interrelated. They should be seen and tackled via a ‘holistic’, integrated and interdisciplinary approach. This calls for new types of knowledge, new ways of collaborating and proactive partnerships. Through a strategic alliance in the Convergence, three top educational and research institutes in the greater Rotterdam region aim to cross boundaries between institutes and disciplines and to bring new perspectives and solutions.

The Convergence of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus Medical Centre and TU Delft was officially launched with the signing of a Framework Agreement in July 2021. The goal was then as it is now: to combine strengths, knowledge and methods to address issues related to climate change, sustainability, pressure on the healthcare system, urbanisation and digitalisation. The collaboration is further enhanced by the participation of other academic, public and private partners, as well as the municipalities of Rotterdam and Delft.

Using the region as living lab, the Convergence creates a leading research and innovation ecosystem in South Holland, with great (inter)national appeal and ambitions. The three main themes around which the Convergence is centred, are Resilient Delta; Health & Technology; AI, Data & Digitalisation.

Future-proofing healthcare

The Convergence is more than an academic matter. In a broader sense, it contributes to social innovation. This became apparent in July of this year, when an announcement was made that ten flagship projects of the Convergence will conduct research aimed at future-proofing healthcare, with 20 million euros funding from the Convergence Health & Tech program, and collaboration with public and private parties adding an extra 40 million euros. These investments in joint research are a solid step forward in the collaboration between the three institutions. Hundreds of scientists and dozens of societal stakeholders are joining forces to find innovative solutions to problems facing healthcare. The flagship projects range across a wide range of healthcare related topics, including integrative neuroscience, proactive technology-supported prevention and mental health in adolescence, organ transplantation, personalized real-time health impact of climate change and pollution and more.

Preparing for future pandemics with the PDPC

Also as part of the Convergence and in answer to better prepare society for future pandemics and disasters, Erasmus MC, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). The PDPC aims to reduce vulnerabilities and risks and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures.

The recent Covid-19 crisis demonstrates how vulnerable our society has become to disasters. Due to climate change and globalization, our society can expect many more unforeseen virus outbreaks and extreme events. Densely populated areas and urban deltas are at additional risk of disruptive events such as a rise in sea levels and extreme weather events. To prepare for future pandemics and disasters, we need to build, test, and implement innovative models that combine knowledge and field data from various sources and scientific disciplines. This is precisely what the PDPC aims to achieve.

The Rotterdam way

The Convergence of knowledge, research, capacity and the interdisciplinary approach of the three top knowledge and research institutes is a major step in being able to come up with creative solutions to large, complex social issues. It’s also a shining example of the Rotterdam way of coming together, thinking outside of the box, exploring new ways and tackling challenges head-on, trying to come up with creative solutions.  If you want to know more and stay up-to-date on all the latest developments, please monitor the Convergence website.

 

Sources: Website Convergence, Crossing Boundaries | Website EUR | Website Erasmus MC | Website TU Delft
Header photo: Alexander Santos Lima (Rotterdam Branding Toolkit)

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