Without Frontiers

Masterclass Exploring innovation in the Brainport Region in the Netherlands

From 29 to 31 October 2014 Strabrecht College in Geldrop (the Netherlands) Masterclass on ‘Innovation in the Brainport Region’. The Masterclass was attended by 28 students and 10 teachers from Austria, Luxemburg, France, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Germany and – of course – the Netherlands.

The participants visited a number of large companies which have been responsible for a large proportion of the technological and economic development of the region, such as Philips and ASML. ASML is a huge company with an annual turnover of about 6 billion euros, producing the high tech machines that produce chips. During the visits the students were not only given information on the innovative activities of the companies but they were also asked to develop new ideas and business proposals based on the technologies of the companies. The students, working in ‘multinational groups’ showed a remarkable creativity to come up with bright ideas.

The Brainport Region in the south of the Netherlands is not only populated by large companies but also by thousands of smaller, highly innovative companies. That is the reason why we also invited Mr. Ad Vermeer, an inventor who has been involved in the start-up of many new, innovative companies. Mr. Vermeer explained the important role of the small companies in the Brainport Region.

In only three days the participants of this Masterclass became a close group enjoying each other’s company during the programme and outside the programme. For the organizing school it was a real pleasure hosting them. After the farewell party on Friday evening quite a few tears were pledged.

The evaluation of the Masterclass indicated that the participants were very pleased with the programme and with the organization of the Masterclass. They found the topic of the Masterclass  highly interesting. According to the participants there were also a few aspects of the Masterclass which could be improved. For example, some of the lectures were too long, and it would have been better to have more ‘hands on activities’ for the students.

This Masterclass was another very successfully organised project within the EON project of our network of 20 European schools.