Crowdfunding at TU/e ‘isn't only about the money’30 March 2017
Student teams Blue Jay and TU/ecomotive are the first projects for which TU/e hopes to attract funding with its new online crowdfunding platform. The platform, which aims to secure small and medium-sized amounts, was launched Thursday afternoon during the Where Science Meets Business conference held by the TU/e Innovation Lab.
Giving visibility to appealing projects in a very doable way, motivating people to fund them, and building loyalty to the university (and vice versa): that's crowdfunding in a nutshell, says Karen Ali, director of Fundraising Development. She has been engaged in fundraising for a little over six months. “It isn't only about bringing in money.”
Communication advisor Edith Snelders describes “a community of givers, of people who feel fondly towards TU/e. People whom we want to help stay abreast of developments and help stay involved via this platform”. “That is not the same as sending people a static email saying ‘Would you like to give to this appealing story?’” says Ali.
Relevance to society, a concrete goal in the not too distant future (with interim results available soon) and the time and readiness to invest in running a crowdfunding campaign - these are a few of the conditions for projects keen to present themselves on the platform. Snelders is keen to stress that it is not a question of “dashing off a posting and watching the money roll in.”
While no limit has been set on the number of projects that can be showcased on the platform at any one time, “Campaigns must not get in each other's way - so we do want to manage the numbers,” says Snelders. “Simply by doing this, we are going to explore what it has to offer us, and we are on a learning curve of our own,” says Ali.
If the two women have their say, the platform won't be reserved for the student teams. They are keen to see, say, study and student associations submit a proposal - provided it is socially relevant and in keeping with the university's ambitions. “The platform is not intended to fund drinking festivities,” says Ali, choosing her words carefully.
Donations via the new online platform are received at TU/e's University Fund, a longer-running facility. From there, the money is paid out to the projects in question.
The quality of education seems to have slipped at TU/e. In the latest Dutch-language guide to universities (Keuzegids Universiteiten), Eindhoven's university has dropped from third place in the overall ranking to seventh place in the course of a year. "It's understandable but it's not good," says President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers, "and it is all the more reason to push on with introducing an upper limit on student intake to our programs. This is a result of the strong growth in student numbers."
Eindhoven's iGEM team has arrived in Boston. In the coming days, the students will participate in the Giant Jamboree, competing with nearly three hundred teams from all over the world. Their competition entry is their project GUPPI, in which they propose encapsulating tumors in a gel to prevent them growing and spreading.
As well as professors, from now on associate professors (UHD-1) at TU/e may also confer doctoral degrees on PhD candidates. Sixty associate professors were awarded the right to confer doctoral degrees at the start of this academic year after the move was approved by the Upper House of Parliament in the Netherlands shortly before the summer recess. “We couldn't wait to introduce this here.”
Before you google yet another one of my invented diseases and subsequently begin to question the title of this story, let me tell you this. With a new academic year having begun and a shiny new batch of freshmen accompanying it, the university is full of people suffering from the so-called octopus syndrome.