Public-private partnerships

SURF supports and facilitates public-private partnerships with knowledge about digitisation and IT infrastructure, and by bringing parties together.

Smart Industry Fieldlab

The role of knowledge institutions is changing as a result of ever closer cooperation with the business community, civil society organisations and the government in the field of research and innovation. Universities and universities of applied sciences increasingly function as innovation hubs where researchers, entrepreneurs and civil servants can meet and work together on innovation projects.

This public-private partnership has several advantages, including faster innovation at institutions and companies. In addition, social and business data will become available for further research. Digitization plays an important role in this.

The role of SURF

Together with institutions, SURF is working on a variety of projects involving artificial intelligence (AI), future energy supplies (smart grid), food supply (smart farming), health (e-health), and the digitisation of businesses in the manufacturing industry (smart industry). The knowledge built up in this way will benefit research, education, society and the economy.

With a service such as Research Drive, companies and knowledge institutions can exchange data with each other in a reliable manner. For example, our facilities for high-performance computing, machine learning and deep learning are used for optimising and testing software (models). SURF also offers an independent cloud environment for temporarily storing large datasets, and a data platform for the Internet of Things (IoT) with which you can describe, visualise, and share data. We also share knowledge in the area of data management, data processing, data standards, cyber security, and identity management, and offer opportunities for sharing knowledge.


Regional hubs

SURF has set up structural collaboration with Commit2Data and TNO with 6 data hubs:

  • Data Value Center - Smart Industry
  • Data Federation Hub Groningen
  • Wageningen Data Competence Center
  • Twente47
  • Data Innovation Hub Zoetermeer
  • Big Data Value Center Utrecht (Almere)

In these data hubs, SURF members work together with (regional) government (economic boards) and the business community with the aim of stimulating the regional economy. Knowledge and experience are shared during meetings. For example, about platforms for data processing for the Internet of Things, collaboration with the business community, and data sharing.

Read more about this coalition

Flyer Dutch Coalition Data Innovation Hubs

Data Value Center – Smart Industry

Helping companies create added value and become more competitive with data: that is the goal of the Data Value Center - Smart Industry (DVC-SI).

SURF is one of the 10 partners of the DVC-SI. We support entrepreneurs, decision-makers and professionals with the optimal use of data: for optimising processes, developing new services and revenue models, and strengthening the knowledge and competencies needed to do so. With our independent and accessible approach, we help the Dutch manufacturing industry to respond to the rapidly developing data economy and thus strengthen their competitive position. We do this by uniting knowledge, skills and collaborative initiatives and making them accessible.

The DVC-SI is a joint initiative of Brabantse Ontwikkelings MaatschappijBrainport DevelopmentBrainport IndustriesFMEJADSKoninklijke MetaalunieMidpoint BrabantREWINSURF and TNO, and is supported by the Province of North Brabant and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.

More information about the Data Value Center Smart Industry: The DVC-SI can be reached via the partners, or via

SURF is partner van het data value center smart industry

Support of living labs and field labs

Companies and knowledge institutions are increasingly setting up living labs and field labs as breeding grounds for new ideas and concepts and to simulate social issues. This can take various forms:

  • Open scientific research facilities: cooperation between knowledge institutions and companies using the knowledge institution's scientific research facilities. An example of this is the Green Village on the TU Delft site. SURF is facilitating this initiative with an IoT data platform to share data between various projects and make data available for further research.
  • Collaboration between businesses and with knowledge institutions and regional government to learn about the application of new (digital) technologies in production methods. An example of this is the smart industry in the Netherlands. Together with TNO, SURF supports various field labs in the Netherlands with digitisation issues. Universities of applied sciences, ROCs, and universities also take part.
  • Co-creation by knowledge institutions, businesses, governments, civil society organisations and citizens to find solutions to complex societal challenges. An example is Mobilab, in which data is collected from the city of Amsterdam to solve mobility issues, but also to generate data for further research.

Support for startups

More and more students and researchers are starting a data-driven company. SURF is collaborating with the Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) to assist students in setting up an AI environment on SURF's infrastructure. Startups can apply if they have a partnership with one of our members.