Liveblog: From the 11th until the 13th of June guests from different European counties visit the region South Netherlands and the Cluster Sports & Technology in Eindhoven. The goals of this event are to learn from each other, and to place Innovation for Sport and Vitality higher on the European agenda. This group’s first meeting was in Valencia, where for example a drained river was shown that had been transformed into a (sports and movement) park. We show our guests what is happening in the Brainport region on the area of innovation for sports and vitality. With this liveblog we keep you up to date.

Day 1: 11th June


Yesterday and this morning our guests from among others Spain, Hungary, Finland and Poland arrived in Eindhoven. This morning we start in the SX building with a welcome from Rene and Marc. They welcome the partners, present the program of the coming days and introduce the region South-Netherlands and the position of the Cluster Sports & Technology in the region.  Also the concept of the SX building is presented.


The first speaker of today is Michel Reinders, director of BrabantSport. BrabantSport has 4 themes:

  • Talent
  • Event organisation
  • Sports for disabled
  • Innovation for sports

He starts by explaining that the Cluster Sports & Technology is the coordinator and activator for the theme Innovation. Michel Reinders furthermore shows the audience how many people in Brabant exercise and move. Do you know that a big part (>60%) of the Brabanders is member of a sports club? He tells us how sports are embedded in (political) policies. BrabantSport focusses on:

  • Organizing big sports events;
  • Facilitating adapted sports;
  • Innovation for sports and vitality;
  • Supporting sport talent.

BrabantSport has been founded 1,5 years ago, and within one year activated over 35.000 people with a disability to exercise, organised ten sports events with a turnover of more than 6,7 million for the regional economics, developed new products and applications to promote sports and an active lifestyle, supported more than 200 top athletes, and started with the promotion of Urban Sports. Brabant Stronger by Sports.


Pieter Liebregts from OPZuid is the second speaker. OPZuid is a European funded program (ERDF) for the provinces of Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland (all located in the South of the Netherlands). Promotion of innovation is their main goal. OPZuid focusses on crossovers between international top clusters (high-tech, systems, chemistry, agri-food) and on crossovers between national top clusters with international potential (life sciences & health, bio-based, logistics and maintenance). Innovative solutions will be found for challenges in society. The grant program focuses on bringing together business, knowledge institutes and governmental institutions. Specific goals are:

  • Reinforcing economic structure: The goal is to get economic structures in place and be competitive in world and/or Europe. For this, field labs are very important. The cooperation needs to be business-driven.
  • Valorisation SME: To stimulate business investments in research and innovation (universities, pilots/trials). The focus lies on cross-overs between sectors. A nice example is ASML, which started with some money of Stimulus.
  • Human capital agenda: bridging the gap between supply & demand in technology. A better link or cross-over will be created between business and knowledge/education. Business should be able to get well-educated people in tech-businesses. It’s not aimed to subsidise infrastructure, but life-long learning. “We don’t subsidise the buildings, but what happens in these buildings.”

The OPZuid program supports the development of the Cluster Sports & Technology by co-funding the project Vitality Living Lab (VLL). This project will be presented on day 2.

Brainport Development

Anne van der Velden explains in which way Brainport Eindhoven combines forces of business and public organisations in the area of Eindhoven to address social challenges. She tells us that DAF and Philips are founding fathers of this innovative region. In bad economic times in the early nineties, collaboration in a triple-helix was needed. This collaboration developed into the current collaboration: Brainport Eindhoven with board members of companies and knowledge institutes. Anne explains that the Cluster Sports & Technology is one of the clusters in the Brainport Region. Beside this cluster more clusters work together on long-term goals, such as Brainport industries and Food Tech Brainport. Brainport Eindhoven developed an action agenda with priorities matching our cluster goals:

  • Talent;
  • Improving Brainport as a place for business, knowledge and innovations;
  • New technologies and social challenges.

After all this information about the region it is time for a good lunch and some networking. After the lunch the project leaders attend a steering group meeting. Tonight, we will show Strijp-S’ industrial appearance during a diner at Radio Royaal, where the old machines are still present.

Day 2: 12th June

This day, we start with a typically Dutch cookie: the ‘Stroopwafel’. We start at OpNoord, an inspiring location, which makes movement attractive, and where the InnoSportLab Sport & Move! is housed.


Rene gives us an introduction and outlines a framework for movement and vitality in the Netherlands. He tells us about The Vitality Living Lab (VLL) project. This project is one of the strategic projects of the cluster Sports & Technology in which most of the speakers of today are active partners. The aim of this project is not only achieving results at the area of sports and vitality, but also improving the processes and collaborations within the ecosystem of the Cluster Sports & Technology


Harmen Bijsterbosch, manager of InnoSportLab Sport & Move!, tells us about the partnership #040Beweegt! (English: 040Moves!). The aim of the partnership is giving each citizen of Eindhoven the chance to sport and move in their own way, matching their own wishes. #040Beweegt! is an initiative by several of our cluster actors: the InnoSportLab itself, Technical University Eindhoven (TU/e), Fontys School of Sports Studies and the municipality of Eindhoven. Public spaces are used as a lab with the goal of getting as many people as possible durably involved in sports and activity by technological innovations. The ultimate goal is an active city with healthy citizens. #040Beweegt! involves citizens in an accessible way, by setting up experiments and research projects.


Loes van Renswouw, PhD at the TU/e, tells us about data from the VLL project. She highlights how running is a popular sport, in which a lot of people gather information with apps and wearables. This data shows, for example, that less people run in districts without street lights, where placement of streetlights as an experiment has improved running in the evening. Data also showed that runners who run further run also faster, because they practice the sport at a higher level. With this data, Loes builds a database with different figures about sports and vitality in the region of Eindhoven. Professionals often want to get access to data from her database, while being reserved in sharing data. Loes’ database is a part of the VLL project, and she makes relevant data better accessible for project partners.

The innovation in the neighbourhood approach

One of the parts of the VLL project is the innovation in the neighbourhood approach, which Marc explains to our guests. We want to use innovative solutions for societal challenges. The approach focuses now on specific districts of Eindhoven and in the afternoon, we will cycle to one of these districts. The neighbourhood approach consists of firstly looking into the problems of a certain neighbourhood. We then ask the local residents themselves which problems they experience. After gathering the identified problems and possible opportunities, a decision is made of which problems we want to tackle. Subsequently, we look for solutions for these problems, which can be existing innovations or innovations which still have to be developed. Companies then are able to pitch solutions, after which an innovative solution is chosen to implement. What is unique in the neighbourhood approach is its intensive involvement of citizens and the use of data to monitor the effect of the solutions.

Accelerator Program

John van de Laar tells us about another part of the VLL project, the Vitality Acceleration Program (VAP). He tells us why the Cluster Sports & Technology needs a specific acceleration program. One of the reasons why a lot of start-ups fail, is that they are not able to sell their product or because they do not know which problems they solve with their product or service. An acceleration program helps start-ups with formulating their product/service, defining their clients and improving their skills and knowledge about how to reach out to the market. All start-ups in the Vitality Acceleration Program had a  solutions for a problem in the area of sports and vitality. The VAP was unique because it was not a fulltime program and attending the workshops was voluntary. In this way, it was possible to participate for people who had already a company or another job. Workshops were given by partners of the Cluster and participants were coached intensive. Plans exist for a new program in the near future.

Urban Sports

Within the Cluster Sports & Technology an Urban Sport Performance Centre has been set up with the aim to bring the Urbans Sports to a higher level and make Urban Sports more attractive through knowledge, innovation and technology. The centre works together with other cluster partners, for example Imec, to reach these goals. Maxime Verdijk showed us some inspiring results of the centre’s activities. An example is a sensor for a skateboard which is able to measure the position of the athletes feet on the board. It gives you feedback which can help to improve your tricks. Gathering data can help the jury to judge the tricks. The centre also develops City legends, an app for Urban Sport. The app is a combination of Instagram and Pokemon Go. You can challenge others with this app and film yourself. The aim of the app is to make Urban Sports more attractive. The Urban Sports centre also focusses on injury prevention by gathering data during trainings.


Robin Sweegers from Techonomy tells us something about one of the fastest growing sports, E-sports. Big E-sports tournaments with huge prize money are organized and a lot people often watch E-sports. That’s why E-sports is an interesting field for influencers, marketing and companies. Half of the people who play E-sports also play traditional sports. E-sports activates a generation which is difficult to activate, the millennials. That is why al lot of investors are interested in E-sports. Companies invest to look well in specific games, because it is promotion for their company. Also traditional sport clubs step into E-sports to explore the possibilities to connect more people to their clubs. For example to move E-sports to their sport fields. A new version of E-sports is full body gaming. You put clothes and VR-glasses on and end up in a game. Full body gaming makes E-sports more attractive but also makes it a physical active game.

Movement in schools

Carla Scholten from Embedded Fitness shows us how to combine gaming with movement and sports. Game sports: cycling to get a racing car moving on the screen or a dance mat with a connection with a game on a screen are examples. Game sports makes exercise more attractive for children, adults and elderly, for example because you are challenged to improve your high scores. At the moment Embedded Fitness tries to integrate game sports in sport halls and at schools. Not only developing new equipment is important, but also to implement it in public places and at schools. Possibilities for exercising at schools and learning at sport facilities are explored. Game sports are also popular at events. Who does not want to try out a skate stimulator?

Innovation & Vitality in de Genneper Parken

After the lunch we visit Fontys School of Sport Studies. After a welcome word from Pieter Cornelissen of Fontys, Mikke Leenders from the city of Eindhoven tells us how the Genneper Parken district is able to contribute to the vitality of citizens. It is an area to relax and to sport. At the moment it is unknown how many people visit the parks in Eindhoven, but they will start to collect such data soon. It is intended to measure at the entrance how many people enter and how fast they enter. By translating that data you not only know how many people visit the park but also in what way (for example by foot or by bicycle). Based on a student project also a facility to ask questions to visitors will be developed. An example of a question is ‘why do you visit the park’. Visitors can give an answer by stepping on a specific stone. Mikke aims to collect data to be able to use the Genneper Parken district in a smart way.

Visit to the Tongelreep

We visit InnoSportLab the Tongelreep. The lab collects data from (professional)swimmers to improve their performance. For example the angle of diving into the water surface influences the success of the start of the swimmer. The swimming pool contains different cameras of which the images are analysed just after the performance. In the lab researchers work to generate knowledge during daily training and matches. Dutch top athletes profit by improving their results through this knowledge. The Netherlands as a small country already won a lot of medals in swimming but the Tongelreep also focuses on innovation to make swimming more attractive, for example by interactive gaming. One of them is to make swimming lessons more attractive for children learning to swim. Research is also done on talent recognition and also Paralympic swimmers are supported with training and match data.

Cycling tour in the Genneper Parken

We cycle to the hockey fields of Oranje-Rood, to the office of the CTO (Centre for Topsport & Education), through the Genneper Parken and along the river Tongelreep. We visit Shimano and after that we cycle over the cycling high way back to the city centre (to the bicycle rental). Our guests take many pictures, because it is a beautiful district for sports and vitality.

Day 3: 13th June

Holst: vitality and health tech and smart city activities

The final day we visit the Holst Centre at the High Tech Campus. Holst is a collaboration of Imec from Belgian origin and TNO from the Netherlands. Sywert Brongersma tells us about projects on vitality and health tech; on innovation both in chips and at system level. The activities in Holst slowly change from healthcare to prevention. Imec developed the I-Change program which responds to the growing need for prevention. The program is developed to motivate people in changing behaviour. To stimulate this, Imec develops all kinds of products with sensors, for example shirts, gloves and soles to measure and feedback activity. Sywert also tells us about smart city projects. Antwerp is a pilot city for their smart cities approach. In Antwerp they have installed data sensors all over the city, for example to measure air quality, or traffic.


The second speaker is Heleen Boers, she presents the Nano4Sports project: Technology for an active lifestyle. She shows us cases on for example monitoring top athletes, injury prevention and Urban Sports. She explains us how stress can be measured at top athletes, important because stress delays recovery after performance. Furthermore Heleen shows how posture during running can be measured to prevent injuries. She ends with the Smart Skateboard which has been developed in collaboration with the Urban Sports Centre. Beautiful examples of products developed by Imec, which you could not imagine beforehand.


Sywert and Heleen show us some of their technological inventions in their exhibition area. After that we evaluate the event.

The visiting partners explain what they have learned these three days. We also talk about points to improve the (next) event. The partners go back to their colleagues in their own countries with a lot of inspiration on the area of innovation for vitality. The event ends with a lunch at the High Tech Campus. We will see each other again in Lapland where the next event will take place!