A big thank you
2021 has been a year in which society was still confronted with the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite everything, we have achieved several milestones in the areas of education, entrepreneurship & collaboration, and research & innovation that we can be proud of.
This would have been unimaginable if not for the vast amount of expertise, effort, and enthusiasm brought to the institute by all the people we work with. We would like to warmly thank everyone for their efforts! Before jumping into 2022, let's take a moment to reflect on this year, take a look at our selection of 2021 highlights.
“We're proud of our ever-growing community of experts - from researchers to students and businesses - joining us in our mission to transition to a sustainable and inclusive future. Due to the complex situation, the institute had to deal with major challenges that required a great deal of creativity to allow innovation to take place.”
Education transforms into a hybrid program
Again this year, the agility of our MSc MADE students and educational team became again very apparent. Overnight educational activities took place online. To illustrate, in December the second year students transformed their Living Lab products and stories to make them completely accessible online - 16 student teams revealed their urban solutions and prototypes in a festive online opening of the Living Lab exhibition.
Besides that, several MSc MADE students shared their innovative ideas and solution for accelerating the transition to the city of the future in the Living Lab Mini-Series of the Mayor's Manual Podcast.
And, next to saying "goodbye" to 23 graduates in October - who are ready to take on the city's challenges as Urban Engineers - we welcomed a record number of 58 new MSc MADE students in September. We can't wait to see what the future holds for this new cohort!
Accelerating business ideas
We're excited to see innovative ideas from our community turn into successful startups. Last year, we successfully wrapped-up the first edition of the AMS Startup Booster - an incubation program to help develop and establish new start-up ideas like the aforementioned.
After 4.5 months of workshops, peer to peer sessions and 1-on-1 sessions with their coaches, 7 startups were finally able to showcase their businesses on the AMS Startup Booster Demo day. Just to name a few: from a startup focused on crowd monitoring, one that creates custom-made built-in furniture to make spacious housing more affordable to a business that easily turns your regular bike into an e-bike.
The event took place online but was just as buzzing as any real-life event in which each startup kicked-off with a 5-minute video pitch, recorded at the AMS Studio. Curious to see what they have been working on? Take a look here.
“We believe that by generating ideas, talent and collaborations, we can help analyze, design and engineer solutions for the cities we need and aspire. And again this year, the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit took flight within our research portfolio, MSc MADE students and alumni, and from our collaborations and partnerships.”
Research & Innovation that impacts city life
In many ways, the impact of our Research & Innovation activities became apparent and tangible this year. For example, during the signage of the Green Deal Timber Construction last October, we proudly underlined the city's set ambitions and shared this booklet (in Dutch) focused on debunking myths related to timber construction. Also, we launched our flagship project Building in timber for a climate-neutral and circular Amsterdam which dives into the specifics of building with bio-based materials for a climate-neutral and circular Amsterdam.
Another milestone: our Roboat team successfully launched two full-scale designs of Roboat, ready to be tested in the city of Amsterdam. Since November 2021, the project continues to develop three use cases: passenger transport, logistics (waste collection), surveying water infrastructure, and monitoring water quality. The scale and impact of this project resulted in a lot of attention by national and international media.
What's more: we officially launched our Responsible Sensing Lab (RSL) - a collaboration of AMS Institute and the Digital City program of the City of Amsterdam. A few examples of projects that we explore in the Responsible Sensing Lab are the Human Scan Car, Transparent Charging Station, Shuttercam, and mmWave sensor (part of Simple Sensors project).
“Our unique location in the historic center of Amsterdam makes for a perfect place to start real-life pilots. Next to celebrating momentous events, like the launch of two full-scale Roboat vessels to test autonomous navigation in the city, this year marked the start of many new research projects to tackle modern-day challenges.”
Director of Innovation
Furthermore, to reach the goal of Amsterdam Zuidoost becoming energy neutral by the year 2040, significant steps need to be taken. Not only do we need new technologies, there is also a need for smart ways to organize the transition, and for adaptations to our lifestyle. This requires cooperation among many different parties. Both from the government and residents, as well as from companies and researchers. This year, we launched Energy Lab Zuidoost together with our project partners, to bring all these parties together.
Also, this year we joined a research team of experts to investigate why a part of the quay of Grimburgwal in Amsterdam collapsed in September 2020. The study shows that primary causes appear to be the different construction of the narrow quay, the locally deeper canal bed, and the weakening of masonry due to pre-existing cracks.
Last but not least: Did you know over 180 nationalities live in Amsterdam? Ever think about what exotic fruit and veg are part of people's cultural eating habits, and where this food is produced? This year, as part of the Culinary Cultural Heritage project we explored cultures in Amsterdam to identify chances for sustainable urban farming of exotic foods in Amsterdam Zuidoost.
Rapid Assessment Grimburgwal
Climate Resilient Cities
September 1, 2020, part of the quay of Grimburgwal in Amsterdam collapsed. Study shows that primary causes appear to be the different construction of the narrow quay, the locally deeper canal bed, and the weakening of masonry due to pre-existing cracks.
Happy and healthy 2022!
This handful of highlights already excites us for what the future holds with regard to our educational activities, entrepreneurial ideas that we'll see flourish into start-ups, and innovative solutions to be designed by our community of experts with and for the city. We wish you a happy and healthy 2022!