Innovative companies and leading knowledge institutes in the Arnhem – Nijmegen and Wageningen region join forces around the themes of Food, Health, and Energy. Together they form ‘Lifeport‘, with which they want to grow into an important innovative region in the Netherlands, Europe, and far beyond.

“Food, health, and energy are important themes that matter if we want to keep things alright in this world,” says Sigrid Helbig, director of The Economic Board, a triple helix collaboration between government, knowledge institutes, and the business community in the Arnhem – Nijmegen and Wageningen region. “And it is precisely in these areas that a lot is happening in our region. We have excellent universities, scientists, and innovative companies here. These include a Max Planck institute, Alliander, NXP, Amplion, and the Novio Tech Campus. We have companies with sometimes billions in turnover and enormous innovative power. We are rather modest and sometimes do not realize that we really have something special in our hands.” All the available knowledge and expertise does not automatically lead to a region that strengthens itself. That has to change, according to The Economic Board.

Mainport status

With the Lifeport concept, innovative companies and knowledge institutes in the region join forces around the spearheads of Food, Health, and Energy. In the Arnhem-Nijmegen region, for example, a great deal of hard work is being done in many areas on new techniques that contribute to faster recovery of patients after an illness.

Researchers in Wageningen and Nijmegen are working on innovations to influence people’s lifestyles in such a way that healthier choices are made. This is done, for example, through the Food and Cognition program where renowned scientists study how nutrition affects our brain.

And solutions are being sought for energy issues and related behavioral change, for example through Connectr – Energy Innovation. At Industriepark Kleefse Waard in Arnhem, the power of knowledge institutions and companies comes together. This is where innovations in the field of new energy originate and grow.

With Lifeport, the triple helix collaboration of businesses, knowledge institutes, and governments within The Economic Board sets high standards. The goal is to obtain a mainport status. So far, the Netherlands has three regions with mainport status: Rotterdam Port, Amsterdam Airport, and Eindhoven Brainport. These areas are recognized by the government as ‘economic core areas of national significance’ and therefore have access to attention and national resources. This has a direct impact on the business climate, facilities, research & development, and infrastructure. “They need to watch you before they see you. Lifeport is like the rubber band that brings the varied bouquet of flowers together”, says Helbig. “Lifeport has to connect the innovations and the accompanying stories.”