Carmen van Vilsteren. Foto | Bart van Overbeeke

TU/e-director new face of Top Sector Life Sciences & Health

As of 1 April 2019, Carmen van Vilsteren of Eindhoven University of Technology is the new standard-bearer of the Life Sciences & Health Top Sector. With this appointment by State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Mona Keijzer to chair of the Life Sciences & Health Top Team, Van Vilsteren takes over from acting standard-bearer Hans Schikan. She is director of the Strategic Area Health at our university.

Carmen van Vilsteren earned her spurs in the medical industry, at Philips and later as CEO and co-founder of Microsure, among others. In her current role as director of the Strategic Area Health of TU/e, she combines her knowledge of setting up innovation programs and public-private partnerships with scientific research. Van Vilsteren also has an extensive network and holds various administrative positions on a national and regional scale (Brainport), enabling the initiation of cross-fertilization between regions. As Chair of the EIT Health Benelux Board, she also does this on a European scale. The appointment as standard-bearer is a valuable addition to her current positions. Van Vilsteren will combine her work at TU/e with her role in the Top Sector.

Sustainable innovative solutions 

In addition to an enormous passion for high-tech innovations in healthcare, Van Vilsteren is driven by opportunities for the end user, the patient. “Offering sustainable, innovative solutions in healthcare and thus influencing people's lives,” says Van Vilsteren, “is what motivates me. Dutch research and industry have a leading role in the field of healthcare innovations. In order to increase the impact on the quality of life of people worldwide, I am keen to further strengthen this position and expand it internationally.”

Taking over the baton

After the death of former standard-bearer Jan Raaijmakers in October 2017, the experienced biotech entrepreneur Hans Schikan has held the position with verve. In his role as acting standard-bearer Schikan has shown himself to be a resolute champion of innovation in the Life Sciences & Health (LSH) sector. Thanks to Schikan, the LSH sector has achieved a number of major successes. First of all, national collaborations have been formed on areas such as regenerative medicines (RegMed XB) and cardiovascular research (Dutch CardioVascular Alliance). But the arrival of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also resulted in various (bio)pharmaceutical companies establishing branches in the Netherlands.   

Innovative power of the top sectors 

The Top Sector LSH is one of the nine top sectors where Dutch industry and knowledge institutions contribute internationally to the competitive position of the Netherlands in the global market. Whether it concerns medicines, medical technology, diagnostics, vaccinations, digital care solutions or the healthcare infrastructure; the Dutch LSH sector offers innovative solutions and is increasingly leading worldwide.


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