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The creation of the Automotive House on the outskirts of Helmond (within the Eindhoven city region) had a dual purpose. It was conceived to operate as a focal point to promote the automotive sector in the Netherlands while at the same time representing the first building block of the High Tech Automotive Campus. In this sense it has played a crucial role in catalysing the development of the campus and now functions as the heart of this automotive cluster. It is fully consistent with the ‘Brainport’ high-tech, innovative growth strategy for the region.

Executive summary

The term ‘smart growth’ could almost have been coined to describe economic development policy in and around the Dutch city of Eindhoven over the last 50 years. Today this is translated into the ‘Brainport’ strategy for the Eindhoven City Region. This framework for growth and employment is based on exploiting the experience, production tradition, and know-how existing in the south Netherlands, since the Philips company established what would become the High Tech Campus Eindhoven in the 1960s.

The aim of the ‘Brainport’ is to cultivate a top technology, open innovation hotspot through cluster formation involving various sectors (particularly medical technology, life sciences, food and nutrition, high-tech systems and materials), including the automotive industry as a key element of existing and future opportunity.

Despite the collapse of vehicle production in the area (by DAF, NedCar and Volvo) at the turn of the millennium, the automotive supply chain and R&D activity still provides jobs for some 45 000 people in the Netherlands (half of them in the greater Eindhoven area) and retains a role of global importance. In a sector which has suffered significant difficulties in recent years and is redefining itself globally, a focus on innovation and development of top technological, engineering and IT solutions linked to an evolving product range (low-carbon solutions, alternative public transport technologies, smart route/vehicle guidance) is seen as a viable and sustainable path for growth and investment.

As a consequence policies at national, provincial, city region and municipality levels have combined to encourage the formation of a High Tech Automotive Campus at the heart of the former NedCar production location (Eindhoven, Helmond and Born). This aims to secure and exploit employment and skills present in the locality but also to maximise the benefits of high-tech open innovation. In order to kick-start this campus formation, ERDF funding was sought for the establishment of an Automotive House on the campus site in 2008, and the setting up of the management office to coordinate and run the High Tech Automotive Campus. The physical entity was conceived to function as a focus point to promote and support the automotive sector in the Netherlands, but simultaneously to operate as a centre for campus activity and as a driving force for its ongoing development. The triple-helix initiative has resulted in accommodating some 30 organisations on the campus, which carry out such diverse activities as precision engineering, design, testing, automotive research and vocational training. Already 11 collaboration projects between business and knowledge/research bodies have been established.

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Technical information

Title

Innovation on the open road

Member State and Region

Netherlands - Zuid Nederland – Eindhoven Region

Duration of project

35 months (09.2008 – 08.2011)

Funding

Total budget: 2 270 000 € - ERDF contribution: 908 000 €

Cohesion Policy Objective

Competitiveness

Managing Authority

Provincie Noord Brabant (Province of North Brabant)

CCI nr of OP

2007NL 162PO003 – OP ‘South Netherlands’

Contact

Daniel de Klein, Projectmanager Investeringsbevordering / Automotive Clusterontwikkeling (Investment promotion / Development automotive cluster):

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Keywords

Triple Helix, Innovation awareness-raising, education and training, Clusters and business networks

     
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