We are facing what might be called the greatest challenges ever. What are the consequences of climate change for cities, and what has to be done when rivers flood? How do we prevent health costs from skyrocketing, or rather, how do we help people become healthier? How can we shape the digital transition with human-centred technologies in a responsible way? How do we prevent the next pandemic?
Answers to these complex societal challenges cannot be found in classical monodisciplinary approaches. Healthcare and technology are increasingly becoming intertwined, social problems in neighbourhoods cannot be separated from urban planning, and artificial intelligence cannot be used without taking ethical and privacy issues into account. The answer to the complex challenges of our time is therefore ‘convergence’; the integration of disciplinary approaches leading to new perspectives and solutions.
Three complementary top institutions
TU Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University Rotterdam have a great deal in common in this approach and are now jointly investing in Convergence. This is a necessary and logical step, as the three institutions with their complementary disciplines are among the best in the world, have been working together in LDE and Medical Delta for many years, are geographically close to each other and have a common ambition to provide answers to the major societal challenges of our time. The integration of our knowledge and expertise within the medical, technical, social and economic sciences, as well as the humanities will give rise to new insights, technologies, and methodologies. We believe that the unique strength of this convergence between three top institutions in the region with their complementary disciplines will lead to research and education with great societal impact.
Ecosystem for research and innovation
Within the alliance we are working on a number of themes: Resilient Delta, Health & Technology, AI, Data & Digitalisation. We are collaborating on these themes with companies in the region, such as the Port of Rotterdam, with government bodies, such as the municipality of Rotterdam and the province of South Holland, and with societal partners and other academic institutions, including Leiden University and the LUMC. In this way, issues arising from society can be tackled in a targeted manner, and results can be tested and implemented immediately. The cities in the region serve as living labs – as testing grounds for innovation. Convergence thus creates a leading ecosystem for research and innovation in South Holland with great national and international appeal and ambition, including the export of knowledge and applications to metropolitan areas, deltas and ports in the rest of the world.