Looking back on the Research Meetup of 1 October


Just a few days into autumn, HTRIC managed to throw one of the most exciting events of the season: our very first Research Meetup. The turnout was overwhelming. More than 140 scientists, clinical practitioners and other professionals came together to witness HTRIC take its first steps towards uncovering and expanding Groningen’s potential in health technology and innovation.

‘Delicious cookies’

Perhaps the most significant part of the event was the bustling energy and enthusiasm that could be felt among all participants. From the start of the meetup, HTRIC’s figureheads engaged with other researchers and attendees about their joint reason for being there – impacting the future of health technology. By the time everyone had taken their seats in the congress hall, valuable connections had already been made.

The tone of the day was set when co-founder Erik Boddeke spoke to the audience and compared the research that inspired HTRIC to a ‘box of delicious cookies’ – a box that needs to be opened and shared with the world. He told us the story of HTRIC and how the idea for this cluster came about. The bottom line? HTRIC knows what it brings to the table and is eager to make a difference in healthcare.

After co-founder Jacquelien Scherpen shared her vision and ambition for the community, HTRIC’s figurehead Hélder Santos (Head of Biomedical Engineering at UMCG) talked about his research on nanoparticles. In his presentation he underlined how there isn’t any need for modesty in Groningen, given all the potential and effort among students and researchers. He shared some of the great developments that are underway to improve people’s quality of life.

Nanodiamonds for the win

Lunchtime provided another enjoyable yet valuable opportunity to talk about the current innovations in health technology. Several PhD students had the honour of presenting their research in a poster presentation contest. While the jury carefully studied their posters, the audience was allowed to leave comments and suggestions.

Despite all posters being impressive, there could only be two winners… The jury picked Aldona Mzyk’s research on Diamond Endoscopy – a clinical application of the nanodiamond magnetometry as their favourite, while Alina Sigaeva received the audience prize for her research on Diamond Nanomri for drug discovery & precision medicine.

Everyone who joined the Research Meetup got to partake in various theme sessions and workshops. Topics ranged from ideas related to HTRIC’s three development programmes to insights in design thinking, patents, and the economic value of new technologies. Researchers from all over the country came in to talk about their research and engage in fruitful discussions. Peers shared thoughts and different perspectives with each other, and new ideas were born.

No way back

The last presentation of the day was by Go van Dam. He talked about the early beginnings of his company Tracer and shared some of his best practices. The title of his presentation – ‘No Way Back’ – seemed a subtle hint to us all how this Research Meetup had been a preparatory yet very important step towards launching HTRIC and introducing the cluster to a wider audience. We had all been set off on a big journey towards changing the future of healthcare and making a difference for the people around us. Everyone must have felt how HTRIC is ready to explore and unite the strengths in the North Netherlands to enable more years of great health for those who need it.

We want to thank all the people who made this day into a great success, and we can hardly wait for the official opening on 4 March 2022.