Flashback to the Science, Education & Innovation Festival

TU Delft’s Tim van der Hagen: ‘Convergence reached critical mass.’

December 2022

More than 500 scientists, medical experts, policymakers, entrepreneurs and students visited the Science, Education & Innovation Festival in the Van Nelle Fabriek. The main topic: How can we sustain the future of healthcare? It’s one of those ‘wicked questions’ we address at Convergence Health & Technology. As guest speaker and former chairman of the advisory council for Science, Technology and Innovation, prof. dr. Uri Rosenthal observed, we cannot approach health in isolation from our environment or technology: ‘We need a transdisciplinary approach. Convergence is vital!’

Panel discussion

Erasmus MC Vice Dean Maarten Frens started the day by highlighting the most critical challenges in healthcare. A panel discussion followed between experts from the field. Panellists prof. dr. Diederik Gommers, dr. Yogi Hale Hendlin, Max Wagenaar, prof. dr. Jane Murray Cramm, prof. dr. ir. Herman Russchenberg and Mercy Kataike also addressed questions from the audience. The main topics were prevention, health inequality and climate change. Hendlin: ‘Until we – as doctors, as medical practitioners, as public health professionals – make climate the number one thing, we will be completely overwhelmed as clinicians.’

Shocks and turbulence

DRIFT’s prof. dr. Derk Loorbach concluded the morning program with a lecture on transitions: ‘We should start to think about the most desirable transition in health care, anticipating the shocks and turbulence, but recognizing that as a transition moment. The most desired outcome is nature-positive, to move to an economy and a living environment where people are healthy and can deal with their health issues themselves as much as possible.’

With that statement, visitors left the main stage and attended the innovation market. With more than sixty booths and poster presentations, the fair showed the vastness of the Health & Technology landscape. Participants made new contacts here, innovators performed demonstrations, and active discussions took place at the flagship projects’ poster presentations.

 

Parallel program

In the extensive parallel program, visitors could attend lectures from various speakers throughout the day. The speakers further illustrated the themes of Science, Innovation & Education in three domes. For example, Prof. dr. Arfan Ikram of Erasmus MC talked about the What, Why and How of Diversity and Inclusion within academia. Attendees explored the learning landscape for impact-driven education with Erasmus University’s Almar Blok & Ines Labarca Hoyl. TU Delft’s prof. dr. ir. David Abbink shared his learnings from the transdisciplinary research centre FRAIM and argued that robotics designers, social scientists, and nurses must integrate knowledge and work practices.

Movement

Prof. dr. ir. Tim van der Hagen concluded the day: ‘Collaboration is not enough; we need to truly merge our disciplines. And we see this happening now. Convergence Health & Technology reached critical mass. Which makes it a movement.’

Just before the reception, Ivan Words took the stage. He summed up the day in a spoken word performance: ‘So right now, as we speak, we are in the fog of greatness. So many brilliant minds, and every single individual here, brings a unique set of knowledge and experience to create limitless possibilities.’

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