Leading Dutch players in healthcare and technology join forces in healthcare innovation

April 4, 2012

  • University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Philips sign memorandum of understanding to bring healthcare innovations to patients faster
  • Public-private consortium also focuses on training engineers, top researchers and doctors


Amsterdam, the Netherlands – University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Philips today announced their intention to share their knowledge, expertise and capacity for innovation to research and develop new methods for disease diagnosis and treatment based on medical imaging. Through the establishment of the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging (IDII), they will focus on more effective treatments for cancer, brain disease and cardio-vascular disease. This public-private partnership is essential to speeding up the development and use of new medical solutions that aim to improve patient care and make it more cost-efficient.


The consortium will focus on the development of new image-guided minimally-invasive treatments based on MRI and X-ray imaging. The 2-D, 3-D and 4-D (3-D + time) images that can be produced using these imaging technologies are already providing doctors with an increased amount of meaningful information about each patient. The consortium aims to further develop this medical information and use it in new treatment methods. It also intends to develop new navigation technologies with the objective to make minimally-invasive procedures more precise and less complex.


‘Operating’ without making an incision
Thanks to advances in medical science and technology, it is increasingly possible to carry out treatments using a catheter or needle rather than having to perform open surgery.  In some cases, treatment can be given without making any incision in the patient at all − for example, using image-guided radiation therapy based on X-ray radiation or ultrasound waves. Because such treatments can be performed more targeted and less invasively, patients may be able to leave hospital sooner, which is an example of why medical imaging is playing an increasingly important role in the search for answers to the rising demand for healthcare, the increasingly acute shortage of hospital personnel and the rising cost of healthcare provision.


Public-private partnership
The opportunity for the consortium partners to not only share their knowledge but also share expensive and complex innovation facilities, such as clinical laboratories of the UMCU and the scanner technology research facilities at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, will make cooperation easier and speed up innovation. The knowledge, methodologies, software and technologies that are acquired through the consortium’s combination of academic science and industrial R&D will be translated into the industrial manufacturing of new systems that can be used in clinical practice. Philips' development and production site in Best will play an important role in bringing to market new solutions that arise from the partnership and in bringing them closer to the patient. In the future, the cooperation will be expanded to include other innovative private partners as well.


Call from the World Health Organization (WHO)
The Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging (IDII) forms part of the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative NL ( This was set up after a call from the WHO in 2007 for greater technological innovation in the healthcare sector. The initiative aims to strengthen the knowledge infrastructure in the field of medical devices in the Netherlands. Through this, the aims to ensure that healthcare in the Netherlands is safe, affordable and mindful of the shortage of personnel. The also aims to make a meaningful contribution to the economy and science in the Netherlands.


Through this initiative, the Netherlands' is reaffirming its role as a leader in the field of innovation in healthcare. The initiative also further strengthens the Netherlands' leading international economic and scientific position in the field of medical imaging.


Prof. Dr. Jan Kimpen, chairman of the Executive Board of the University Medical Center Utrecht: “Medical imaging is a promising and versatile technology that can be used in many ways in patient care. With this collaboration we will be able to innovate close to the patient. By involving patients, we will not have four, but actually five partners!”


Mr. Frans van Houten, CEO Royal Philips Electronics: “Today we are creating a powerful triangle of academia, industry and clinical practice in order to improve our healthcare provision. This initiative means that all parties are involved more closely and at an earlier stage in the innovation process, and it also gives Philips new and valuable insights based on the most up-to-date clinical practice. It is only by working together in this way that we will be able to develop new and promising medical solutions at a faster rate and apply them in global healthcare.”
Dr. ir. Arno Peels, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e): “The added value of this public-private partnership is faster innovation that will lead to the more rapid discovery of solutions for society's problems and, in due course, faster economic results. This ties in seamlessly with our input for the 'top sector' policy: innovation in both society and the economy − innovation to produce solutions for major challenges in society.”
Ms. Yvonne van Rooy, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University: “With the UMC Utrecht and the faculties of science and technology as well as veterinary medicine, the Utrecht Science Park boasts a unique concentration of knowledge institutes in the field of life sciences. Thanks to the strategic alliance with the Eindhoven University of Technology, we represent a strong partner for industry, both on a national and a European level, at the promising interface of technology and life sciences. This new consortium is further evidence of that.”


 Signing of the memorandum of understanding for the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging. From left to right: Ms. Yvonne van Rooy (President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University); Dr. ir. Arno Peels (Chairman of the Executive Board of the Eindhoven University of Technology); Mr. Frans van Houten (CEO Royal Philips Electronics); Prof. Dr. Jan Kimpen (Chairman of the Executive Board of the University Medical Center Utrecht).


 Researchers analyzing the results of an image-guided drug delivery experiment. By allowing drugs to be delivered to disease sites via the bloodstream and then to be locally activated by focused ultrasound pulses, the research aims to maximize the therapeutic efficiency and minimize the side effects of drug treatments for cancer.


 It is increasingly possible to carry out treatments without making any incision in the patient at all, for example, using image-guided therapy based on ultrasound waves.

For further information contact:

Harma Plaggemars
UMC Utrecht
Tel. +31 6 42 95 2502


Joost Maltha
Philips Healthcare Benelux
Tel. +31 6 10 55 8116


Floris Ran
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Tel. +31 6 2115 1208


Wietske de Lange
Utrecht University
Tel. +31 6 45 75 82 44


About the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht)

The University Medical Center Utrecht is one of the largest public healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. With almost 11,000 employees, it is constantly building on the provision of good healthcare services based on knowledge and people. The UMC Utrecht strives to be a leading international university medical center where knowledge about health, disease and healthcare is generated, tested, shared and applied. UMC Utrecht forms part of the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centers ('Nederlandse Federatie van Universitair Medische Centra, NFU'). The NFU is a partnership that brings together the eight university medical centers (UMCs) in the Netherlands. Visit the site for more information about the NFU. More news about the UMC Utrecht can be found at:


About Royal Philips Electronics

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 122,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 22.6 billion in 2011, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at


About Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a research-driven and design-oriented university of technology with a strong international focus. The university was founded in 1956 and currently has over 7,200 students and 3,000 employees. The TU/e focuses special attention on societal challenges in the field of Health, Smart Mobility and Energy. In Health there are approximately 250 researchers working on health technology across nine departments. The Department of Biomedical Technology even focuses entirely on this topic. At the TU/e, Health comprises the fields of Smart Environment, Smart Diagnosis and Smart Interventions. Examples of developments at the TU/e include the use of ultrasound and MRI to detect and treat cancer, a baby-friendly jacket with invisible sensors to monitor premature babies, the culture of heart valves and renal tissue from the body's own cells, and minimally invasive robotic surgery. More news about the TU/e can be found at:


About Utrecht University

With over 30,000 students and more than 5,000 employees, Utrecht University is one of the largest universities in the Netherlands. Its overall quality is reflected by high positions in the relevant ranking lists. Featuring in the top one hundred universities in Europe according to the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, Utrecht University ranks top in the Netherlands, twelfth in Europe and 48th worldwide. As one of the world's leading research universities, Utrecht University enjoys a high profile in the strategic field of life sciences, amongst others. The university is well represented in life sciences thanks to its intensive cooperation with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (the only such faculty in the Netherlands), the University Medical Center Utrecht with its Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science and Technology. The focus in life sciences lies on questions such as: What are the possibilities with stem cells? How can we prevent and cure cancer? How do we ensure public health? Utrecht University has joined with the UMC Utrecht, the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, the province of Utrecht and the municipality of Utrecht in the Utrecht Science Park. There are dozens of businesses located at the USP, including research institutes such as TNO and the Hubrecht Institute.