East Netherlands


East Netherlands leads European Robotics Innovation

Two – out of four – of the European Digital Innovation Hubs in the field of robotics are managed in East Netherlands. University of  Twente manages the DIH-HERO program, developing robotics applications in healthcare. Wageningen University manages the agROBOfood program on robotics applications in the Agriculture & Food sector. Each program amounts  16 million euros. The world of European Healthcare Robitics visited the University of Twente on , to discuss healthcare sector challenges, on October 30 – 31.

Sharing knowledge 

During the so-called ‘brokerage’-event, end-users such as hospitals, rehabilitation centres and care institutions came into contact with technology suppliers that have the knowledge and skills to use robotics as solutions. Here, the first matches for new projects were made, and may lead to projects that will accelerate a proper use of robotics in healthcare. European SME-companies and somewhat larger companies can apply for financing in open calls. Françoise Siepel, DIH-HERO’s coordinator was impressed by the first day. “We have seen a lot: from automatically moving beds to precise robot hands for surgical procedures by virtual surgeons. It is impressive to see how medical professionals, companies and research centres join forces”. DIH-HERO will stimulate innovation by involving stakeholders in the development.
Digital Innovation Hubs

The European Commission has established four programs, aimed at accelerating innovation and implementation around robotics applications. These four programs focus on several application fields: robotics in healthcare, agriculture & food, inspection and maintenance, and the manufacturing industry. The programs are known as ‘Digital Innovation Hubs’. The target is to create a pan-European network to disseminate knowledge and innovation throughout Europe. Half of the available funding is used to develop these networks. The other half is used to start innovation projects, by helping the industry to take the next step in their robotics-developments. Of these four European robotics hubs, the Agro & Food Robotics Hub (agROBOfood) was won by the Wageningen University. The hub of the healthcare field was won by the Twente University. A third digital innovation hub targets inspection and maintenance-robotics. In this hub, Novel-T, Space53 and the Twente University have a role too.

Innovative Strength Of East Netherlands

By managing three Digital Innovation Hubs in total, the Netherlands – and East-Netherlands in particular – have established an excellent position in the European landscape. The two universities as drivers of these consortia, will be the linking pin for research proposals within these fields. They are responsible for testing and reinforcing the ecosystem and that is why they are active in strengthening the innovative strength of industry in the Netherlands and abroad. This is not only advantageous to knowledge institutions; it is also good news to the industry. They can start up innovative projects with other companies or with end-users throughout Europe. Moreover, DIH’s position enables them to connect with numerous relevant parties that are interested in robotics solutions.


The European project DIH-HERO (Digital Innovation Hub Healthcare Robotics) aims to accelerate innovation and implementation of robotics applications for the healthcare sector. A consortium of 17 partners in 11 European countries, headed by the Twente University, makes up the project. DIH-HERO stimulates collaboration between companies, knowledge institutions and investors, to bring products and services to market faster. More information: DIH-HERO



Wageningen University research ia focused on how agrifood’s productivity can be increased with the aid of robotics. The EU-robotics project agROBOfood accelerates digital transformation in order to improve the European agrifood sector’s efficiency and competitiveness. Through the agROBOfood program, the sector can come to a close collaboration with the broader European robotics community. The target is to enhance the synergy with similar initiatives. The agROBOfood-network consists of 49 Digital Innovation Hubs and 12 competence centres, and will be expanded further during the project. ore information: agROBOfood

The agROBOfood project supports companies all over Europe with implementing innovations in agrifood and in company processes that are powered by robotics. The Digital Innovation Hubs’ network enables cross-border collaboration and combined strength on a European level. AgROBOfood will show new robotics techniques and accelerate its development. This will improve the efficiency and competitive position of the European agrifood sector.