Startup in Residence EdTech

The new edition kicked off in September 2023.

18 October 2023 7 min

What is Startup in Residence?

Startup in Residence EdTech is a programme for educational institutions that want to collaborate with innovative organisations on challenges within education, where educational technology offers a potential solution. The programme provides guidance for the startups and educational institutions, thereby facilitating the collaboration.

Would you like more information about the programme and the current state of affairs? Take a look here.

About the programme

What is the Startup in Residence programme? What is EdTech? Why participate in the programme as educational institution? What is expected of a participating institution? Why participate as a startup? How do we get started? Who are involved? Results

Startup in Residence (SiR) is a proven method to connect public organisations with innovative companies, including startups. In addition to the ambition to promote collaboration, the programme aims to address challenges faced by education and develop innovative solutions for them. This programme focuses on the applications of EdTech in higher education.

The goal of the programme is for educational institutions to work more demand-driven and co-create with innovative companies that develop EdTech solutions. Additionally, the aim is to invest with institutions in startups with the best innovative ideas, so their prototypes can be developed into successful products that enhance education. The institution actively collaborates in the pilot to refine and finalise the solution. If the pilot is successful and both parties wish to continue, the educational institution has the opportunity to act as a ‘launching customer’.

EdTech refers to all technology, both hardware and software, developed to improve educational processes and logistical issues within an educational institution.

Why participate in the programme as an educational institution?

This programme is suitable for educational institutions that wish to collaborate with (small) innovative companies. The programme’s design facilitates this in an accessible manner.

This programme is suitable for educational institutions that wish to collaborate with (small) innovative companies. The programme’s design facilitates this in an accessible manner.

Why participate?

  • Find smarter solutions to improve your education;
  • Support and facilitate creative exchange between educational institutions and startups;
  • Contribute to strengthening the EdTech startup ecosystem in the Netherlands.
  • Complicated tenders and grant applications are addressed before the collaboration begins, making implementation in your institution easier.

The programme’s duration is approximately one year, with the first four months being preparation, six months runtime, and two months evaluation.

Additionally, the institution must provide access to relevant data and contacts to assist the innovative startup. They are also part of the mentorship and training programme. The institution is expected to collaborate closely with the startup to make the programme a success, through experimentation, testing, and evaluation.

The Startup in Residence programme is suitable for innovative startups that find it challenging to collaborate with higher education institutions to find an innovative solution for a ‘challenge’. It’s a unique opportunity to collaborate with an institution and innovate higher education. During the programme’s duration, both startups and institutions receive support and additional knowledge and experience to further develop their product or service.

Firstly, the programme team collects issues from educational institutions. The institutions work with the programme team to develop these issues into concrete challenges. A so-called SiR contract is signed with these ‘challenge holders’.

Then, the project team starts the tender process based on the challenge description. Once approved, it will be published, and it’s time to reach as many startups as possible for potential solutions. After a legally defined period in which companies can register, it’s time to select suitable solutions. This process also follows a structured, predetermined method. If a suitable collaboration partner is found, the co-creation process between the educational institution and startup can begin. During the incubation phase, both parties follow a mentorship and training programme, focusing on specific themes relevant during such a process.

Participating institutions: the programme’s key lies with the participating universities and universities of applied sciences that introduce a challenge. The first version of SiR EdTech aims to determine whether participating institutions see this approach as an enrichment.

Startup in Residence EdTech Programme Team: The programme team assists institutions in formulating challenges that startups can apply for. This involves a specific challenge, with several criteria that a proposal will be assessed against. Additionally, the programme team is responsible for recruiting startups and mentors, shaping the training programme for institutions and startups, and then executing the actual programme, including setting up and guiding the intended pilots.

The first edition of Startup in Residence EdTech was made possible by the EdTech working group of the Acceleration Plan. Subsequently, this is made possible by EdTech from Npuls.

SURF: SURF supports in setting up and guiding to safeguard all necessary prerequisites. This includes coordinating the procurement process and directing the right people within SURF.

What results have other Startup in Residence programmes achieved?

Startup in Residence is a proven methodology, developed by the Municipality of Amsterdam, which has proven successful in several public sector organisations. For example, the programme led to the selection of 34 startups between 2015-2018 at the Municipality of Amsterdam[1] and rewarded them with participation in the so-called incubation programme. Of this group, a genuine collaboration was established with 16 of these organisations in various forms of public-private partnerships. The EdTech working group aims to realise this movement within the educational landscape, so such collaborations also grow within this sector. For this, the programme’s basic facets are used, the same steps are followed, and it’s tailored to potential collaborations for higher education.


The challenges

In this edition of Startup in Residence, five challenges have been formulated – from one university and four universities of applied sciences. The challenges are as follows:

Workflow for education – University of Groningen
University of Groningen wants a generic workflow solution, integrated with the learning environment, to streamline non-standard educational processes involving internships, laboratory teaching, theses, and practical assignments.

VR Stressgame – University of applied sciences Rotterdam
The challenge is to create a high-quality, cost-effective Virtual Reality (VR) solution for training students in soft skills such as communication, cooperation, decision-making, adaptability, and leadership within a team, particularly in stressful and unexpected situations.

Knowledge retention in progress tests – University of applied sciences Utrecht
The goal of this challenge is to create an engaging app-based solution that motivates students in para-medical programs to acquire, retain, and expand their general professional knowledge. This solution should incorporate case-based learning with gamification elements, adapt difficulty levels to individual student progress, and track their development over their academic career. The goal is to promote continuous professional development and ensure students are well-equipped for success in their field.

Smart assessment planning – University of applied sciences Utrecht
Datamonqs is going to develop an efficient solution for planning and organizing assessment interviews initiated by students, involving multiple parties and resources like teachers, work field assessors, and room bookings. This system should address issues of student dissatisfaction, teacher stress, and hindrances to improving the flexibility and personalization of the educational program at the University of applied sciences Utrecht.

Multidisciplinary teams – University of applied sciences Arnhem & Nijmegen
The challenge is to bridge the gap between students with entrepreneurial ideas and the knowledge, expertise, and networks required to turn those ideas into successful ventures.