Executive Board President Smits wants to offer help to Philips employees

“We can't yet say what impact the measures at Philips Research will have on research collaboration, but we’re very concerned about the situation”, says President of the Executive Board Robert-Jan Smits. This week, Philips announced that 1,100 jobs will be slashed in the Netherlands, out of a total of 6,000, and that major cutbacks will be made in the research department. Smits wants to find ways to prevent talent from leaving the country as a result.

photo Vincent van den Hoogen

Philips and TU/e have a special connection. The university was established 66 years ago at the initiative of Philips, among others. Throughout all those years, there has been intensive cooperation on research projects in a wide variety of fields, such as medical technology and artificial intelligence. This collaboration ranks among the strongest research collaborations between a company and university worldwide. Many dozens of PhD candidates conducting research at TU/e do so together with Philips, and the collaboration annually yields about a hundred joint scientific papers and even startups. In addition, several Philips researchers work at TU/e as lecturers.


Board President Robert-Jan Smits has serious concerns about the measures announced by Philips this week. According to him, not only do they affect the partnerships between Philips and TU/e, but also “the innovative capacity of the Netherlands”.

Smits says the Eindhoven University wants to help prevent talent that was let go by Philips from leaving for abroad. Although he believes that most of the Philips employees who are forced to leave will quickly secure new employment - given the Brainport region's economic boom - he fears that some may not be so fortunate. Smits: "We should consider the possibility of reinstating a sort of knowledge workers program in order to retain talent in a productive way, by temporarily seconding them to knowledge institutions like TU/e. They are more than welcome here.”

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