Professor Jacquelien Scherpen is currently researching control methods for smart energy and network applications, as well as regulating mechanical systems such as those used in robotics. Within HTRIC, her technical knowledge is a perfect match with other kinds of expertise found in highly ambitious professionals with a fresh perspective. For Jacquelien, combining stimulation, innovation, and creation was an important goal in developing the idea behind HTRIC. Creating solutions for our healthcare is an important target, but it is not the end stage of the process. Jacquelien has noticed that these new medical developments do not always find their way to being used in practice. And that is a problem she would like to see get tackled by HTRIC. Many beautiful discoveries just end up disappearing, she remarks. When we give those developments the attention they deserve, they can be embraced and implemented, and we can make a difference together.
As the scientific director of the Groningen Engineering Center, Jacquelien expects many new connections to be made thanks to HTRIC. All chains in the fields of research, development and implementation will be linked and brought closer together. These agglomeration benefits, academic or otherwise, can push scientific progress into high gear. The result? World-class research!
And if there is someone who knows what good research entails, that would be Jacquelien. Despite being a part of the administration, she still gets plenty of hands-on experience as a researcher. Take, for example, the study she is conducting with her colleagues at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. This study is partly responsible for the fact that the Groningen Engineering Center is a major player on the intersection of engineering and exact sciences. Here, the connection with other fields of study is actively pursued. With this, Jacquelien has become the face of engineering in Groningen. And that’s not something one becomes easily!
“HTRIC will become a hotspot in the northern Netherlands where engineering and clinical practice will join forces on a very practical level to generate more healthy years.”
It is a fact that we have plenty of research and engineering talent available here in the northern Netherlands. HTRIC has taken upon itself the noble task of building a chain from this talent that in its interconnectedness will generate a bigger impact than the mere sum of its parts. When these talented people join forces and everybody is right where they belong, it will be possible to realise ideas quicker. And that is a prerequisite for having an impact outside of the labs. HTRIC will become a hotspot in the northern Netherlands where engineering and clinical practice will join forces on a very practical level to generate more healthy years.
For Jacquelien, curiosity is the common thread within both her own area of research and the collaborations she sets up. Taking this curiosity as a starting point enables Jacquelien to ask the important questions. How do you bring a field that is currently still highly fragmented together? How do you encourage independent researchers to join forces to create innovative solutions together in order to better the lives of others? This curiosity and drive to find solutions power her ambitions, which closely parallel the ambitions of HTRIC. HTRIC strives to become an intersectional academic playing field where innovation can be achieved together, to offer better care in the future. This offers professionals from various domains the possibility to interpret data in their own way, and then make the connection together. This connection is the very foundation on which the prime goal of HTRIC is built. Using this shared goal as a target, any fragmentation will disappear. This shared perspective also pushes the boundaries we currently experience in finding solutions for important problems, and will create a climate in which research can be performed on a world-class level. And the solutions we will find? Those will be implemented as quickly as possible in the world outside of our labs.
“I want to organise coincidence.”
The heart of the story is innovating together, together being the operative word. Making connections is in Jacquelien’s DNA. She believes that cooperation is an absolutely crucial condition for good solutions. If you truly like working together, one + one does not equal two, but will become three, which is exactly the result Jacquelien strives for with HTRIC. This combination of unadulterated enthusiasm and ambition will ensure that all HTRIC participants will look at that same dot on the horizon. This common journey to those perspectives on the horizon will create an academic climate characterised by new, organised coincidence, enabling professionals to flourish. This coincidence will not simply happen. The unforeseen circumstances in which the most beautiful things are created are just what Jacquelien is looking for. She is, and always will be, a scientist, but having a rational mind does not mean that you cannot believe in the power of coincidence. These coincidences are what Jacquelien wants to organise in HTRIC.
Professor Jacquelien Scherpen is a professor at the University of Groningen. She conducts research in automation and control engineering, applied mathematics, and mechanical and electrical engineering. She is a co-founder and member of the management team of HTRIC. Her other positions are: