"When people hear the phrase 'Innovation in Delft,' they of course immediately think of the TU Delft," says Gerben Jacobs. "Just a few hundred meters from the university, however, we are doing equally groundbreaking work, in terms of both products and research. It's just that not everyone knows that." The municipality of Delft and the Biotech Campus Delft have decided that it's time for this to change. The first step is for the Biotech Campus Delft and the city to map out the developments and set down a partnership agreement. "That will provide structure and support. The municipality of Delft and the Biotech Campus Delft will then be able to announce their partnership."
Developments at the Biotech Campus Delft are occurring at a rapid pace. For example, the campus owner and largest employer DSM recently merged with Swiss company Firmenich. The new company, dsm‑firmenich, is currently building a brand-new head office with application facilities for the Taste, Texture & Health business unit on the site [article on page 1, ed.]. There is also a growing ecosystem of start-ups and scale-ups, under the flag of Planet B.io. "The number of industrial biotechnology and food technology companies is increasing," says Jacobs. "These companies need office and laboratory space. In the future, the ASR Dutch Science Park Fund will develop the necessary space and will manage and rent it together with Planet B.io. It is great that there is a professional party taking responsibility for that and contributing ideas for new activities." And then there are the Grand Office, the Bacinol site and the renovated Calvé site, where new activities will take place.
The municipality of Delft and the Biotech Campus Delft are intertwined in many different ways. "Not only our history, but also our future lies in Delft. As a large employer, we feel connected to the city. We already sponsor various activities in Delft, aimed at all social groups. We have regular meetings with the municipality. These meetings can be about Planet B.io, in which the municipality is involved as a founding partner, but also practical issues such as permits and spatial development." The latter is important, because more companies, more research and more production also mean more employees. "These employees also want to live somewhere nice and they need to be able to get to work," says Jacobs. "Of course, the municipality of Delft needs to be in a position to anticipate this in its spatial plans. At the Biotech Campus Delft, we are aware of the possibilities and limitations of the available space in Delft."
On the map
Creating a clear document that combines all the developments at the Biotech Campus Delft, the joint profiling and social connection with the city provides a solid basis for the future for all parties involved. This also helps the municipality put Delft on the map as the 'City of Innovation.' "Just as everyone sees Eindhoven as the center of high-tech manufacturing [production of innovative and complex products with an emphasis on high precision and quality, ed.], everyone should see Delft as the center of industrial biotechnology," says Jacobs. "Just like the Biotech Campus Delft itself, the municipality wants to make this a reality. We wholeheartedly support this!" Delft residents also need to get to know the Biotech Campus Delft. The next step is for both parties to map out the developments. On 20 November, there was a kick-off event with all parties involved. "It was very inspiring," concludes Jacobs. "It's great to work together to build the future of Delft."