New director Demonstrator Lab: Linda van de Burgwal

December 10, 2021

‘Valuable knowledge must find its way into society’

Having had many years of hands-on experience with connecting science and entrepreneurship, she achieved great results. Starting 1 January, Linda van de Burgwal will stimulate valorisation and entrepreneurship in her new role as director of the Demonstrator Lab.

Linda van de Burgwal is currently working as – among other things – a university lecturer at the Athena Institute. Among other things, because this academic entrepreneur, as she describes herself, is also active as an entrepreneur. She is involved with innovative start-ups in the life sciences industry, but also with companies that have set themselves the goal of linking research to entrepreneurship. Something the incoming director of the Demonstrator Lab can fully endorse.

“I have been involved in valorisation, one of the core tasks of the university, for almost 15 years as an entrepreneur and researcher. Connecting new scientific insights, social challenges and entrepreneurship. I’m very enthusiastic about this combination. As a researcher, I look at how we can strengthen valorisation. As an entrepreneur, I contribute to this myself, so that we can ensure that valuable knowledge from the academy also ends up in society.”

The Demonstrator Lab is Van de Burgwal’s perfect place. In this entrepreneurial lab, students and scientists can turn ideas into tangible products or services. “Here, people can come into contact with entrepreneurship in an accessible way,” she says. “We help Participants to experiment with their technology and business idea so that they can eventually start their own company. Our aim is to promote entrepreneurial culture and to stimulate research-driven innovation. Without participants running any (financial) risks. And if it doesn’t work out, at least you will have been introduced to entrepreneurship. You take that experience with you throughout your career, as a researcher, in the business world, or in a new company. Our motto is: I have not failed, I just found 10.000 ways that won’t work”.

By now, one third of the Demonstrator Lab’s initiatives have ended in a real business, and 10 per cent of these businesses have also raised private funding. A great result in only four years’ time. Van de Burgwal: “I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. It is an appointment for at least two years in which I want to focus on connecting with the broad ecosystem of entrepreneurial initiatives in Amsterdam. To complement and support each other, so that we can relieve students and scientists who come up with ideas and keep it accessible. I also want to put the Demonstrator Lab more on the radar of other faculties. This initiative was once started by the Science Faculty, but students and scientists with a good idea from other faculties are also welcome. These ideas also lend themselves for support in the very early stages. How do we ensure that we can offer the full range? These are matters that I will be happy to work on in the near future!

Linda van de Burgwal will take over from Davide Iannuzzi, who will become Chief Impact Officer of VU Amsterdam in the new academic year.