Stockholm in October

The goal of the Netherlands Innovation Network Sweden is to promote collaboration between The Netherlands and Sweden.

Besides having a lot official documents on how to connect Sweden and The Netherlands we decided to go for the really practical stuff!

Students as a catalysator for innovation

In the following year, the Netherlands Innovation Network Sweden will host a series of Dutch Swedish student events at the Innovation House at the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm Sweden.

During these events, students from Dutch and Swedish universities jointly develop solutions that can solve relevant and worthwhile problems.

The topics of the challenges can come from various fields as long as they are relevant to the students and aligned to the universities research areas.

Innovation Advisor John Dekker believes that:

“Inviting students from different backgrounds and countries to solve a challenge that is real, relevant and related to their environment is a great way to stimulate collaboration and transnational value creation between The Netherlands and Sweden.”

John Dekker, Innovation Advisor, The Netherlands Innovation Network Sweden
Students reading instructions

Focus on Challenge-Based Learning

The student events will be based on the principles of “Challenge-Based Learning (CBL).”

CBL is a pedagogical approach that actively engages students in a situation that is real, relevant and related to their environment. And which is currently gaining momentum all over Europe.

Ineke Lemmen from the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs supports this approach and explains that:

“It is very important to bring students from different countries together to facilitate that they think about cross-overs.”

Ineke Lemmen, Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs

A successful pilot project

Ambassador Bengt van Loosdrecht hands out price to the winning team

In October 2021, the first pilot project of the series has taken place at the Innovation House of the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm.

During three full days, 24 bachelor and master students from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands and the University of Uppsala in Sweden co-designed a digital solution that can help European universities to improve mental wellbeing among staff and students.

The topic of the so-called “GroUp e-Health Challenge” was spot on as mental wellbeing is a topic that many students know from personal experience and is “…a big issue for students in Uppsala and around the world”, says Johannes Sundström, BSc Game Design and MSc Entrepreneurship at Uppsala University.

The price of the challenge went to the multidisciplinary team surrounding the idea of chat (Ro)Bot “Botti”. A communicative e-tool that appears while browsing on the intranet of their respective university and encourages students to share and talk about their thoughts and feelings.

The price of the challenge included participation in the learning community “Business Value of AI” of the Groningen Digital Business Centre (RGBDC) in April 2022 as well as a visit at the AI Campus to Berlin.

More information about this event and it’s participants you can find on the LinkedIn page of the Netherlands Innovation Network Sweden:

Ready for the next round

The “GroUp e-Health Challenge” was a co-creation between the University of Groningen, the University of Uppsala, ENLIGHT (European university Network to promote equitable quality of Life, sustainability and Global engagement through Higher education Transformation), EIT Health (European Institute of Innovation and Technology), the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs and the The Embassy of The Kingdom of The Netherlands in Sweden.

And is perceived as a big success!

Wijnand Aalderink, who was actively involved in the organization of the event from the side of the university of Groningen, explains:

Student presenting the idea of his group

“I think this GroUp e-Health Challenge is really something to remember for the students from Uppsala and Groningen! I also think it shows the commitment of our universities to societal challenges. Working in multidisciplinary teams, I think that is what the challenges of today need.

Wijnand Aalderink, Coordinator External Relations, University Groningen.

Many learnings have been made during the first pilot project and The Netherlands Innovation Network Sweden is ready to apply those during the next round.

Besides working on a smoother process, Innovation Advisor John Dekker and his team at the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm are looking forward to new topics, collaboration with even more universities and of course getting to know many more of The Netherlands and Sweden’s bright students!

Do you have a relevant student challenge in mind? Are you interested that your university participates in a Dutch Swedish Challenge Based Learning event? Or do you want to support our initiative?

Please feel welcome to contact us directly via