On 10 and 11 December the TCI secretariat’s CEO and three board members paid a 24-hour visit to Eindhoven. It represents the start of a fruitful cooperation towards the 2016 TCI Global Conference, which will take place from 8 to 10 November 2016. The organising partners, Brainport Development and Wageningen UR, bring together the different worlds of high-tech manufacturing and agrifood. During the visit the TCI delegation (Patricia Valdenebro, James Wilson, Madeline Smith and Klaus Haasis) were shown around and were given an impression of the regional clusters. The members of the delegation, on their part, positioned the TCI Network towards regional partners and enriched the current plans with their ideas and experiences.
The visit started with a lunch together with the Mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel, who enthusiastically talked about the Brainport Eindhoven Region and the challenges it is facing. "It is an honour for Eindhoven to be part of this global and experienced network of professionals and I am looking forward to the discussions which will take place on how technology will change our society. I am convinced that disruptive innovations will fundamentally change both our economy and our lifestyle. And this development will endure. We stand at the beginning of a new era and have to find answers, in economy, society and government. The answers can only be found in an open debate with our citizens, businesses and NGO's. A learning society. Eindhoven, a city which has already proved it is a place where the future is made, will gladly host these discussions"
After a tour through the main conference venue, Van der Valk, there was a meeting on the overall 2016 programme. The TCI organising team Brainport Development and Wageningen UR wants the Global Conference to be optimally informative, interactive, inspiring, enriching and entertaining. To this end some new ideas were proposed. The overall programme for next year might look different from what the TCI Network is used to!
Then, the delegation visited Food Tech Brainport, a local food cluster working on food conservation and separation in Helmond. Ivo Ploegsma, the cluster manager, and Frank de Boeff , Director of Bodec (expert company in process optimisation in the food industry), explained how their cluster operates and the challenges they are facing.
Early on Friday morning there was a tour at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. This was combined with a local partner meeting where TCI introduced the network. The visitors also actively contributed to four working sessions around the themes agrifood, interactive forms of work, cluster policy and the scientific programme. This made the meeting very fruitful and brought ideas and inspiration for the Global Conference 2016. Madeline Smith, one of the TCI board members explained:
“I am very glad to be involved in next year’s conference at this early stage. I think that the organising team and the local partners have got some great ideas to build on successful conferences before, but also to make it more interactive and even more inspiring. Now is the right moment to start developing these ideas and to find ways of doing things differently.”
Both the organising team and the TCI delegation were happy with the 24-hour visit. Klaus Haasis, TCI board member: “It was a very good visit to Eindhoven. I am impressed by the willingness of all parties to cooperate for regional success, and the food cluster in Helmond is a great example of that.”