Groningen, a strong agricultural and industrial area, can act as a catalyst for deploying the highest possible quality of residues from biomass and to optimize the processes that goes with them. Therefore, it is good news that the SNN on March 14, 2017 approved the grant to the ZAP innovation cluster on the Zernike Campus. ZAP stands for Zernike Advanced Processing and is a unique test environment for bio-based experiments in the northern Netherlands. ZAP is responding to the increasing signs that the use of fossil blocks should be reduced quickly. By stimulating innovative activities in the region ZAP contributes to increasing employment.
With the advent of the ZAP innovation cluster, the Zernike campus is further enhanced as a location where knowledge and business meet. The facility is realized on the EnTranCe grounds of Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen. The university will soon start setting up the ZAP innovation cluster. In this work and breeding ground for education and business scaling takes place from laboratory- to wheelbarrow. Businesses can, at an agreed fee, use the space, the equipment and the expertise of students and teachers of ZAP in order to test their lab findings in a semi-industrial environment. This is unique in the northern Netherlands.
Hanze UAS initiated the ZAP education and training facility in 2015. Along with Noorderpoort they are providing practical training. The advent of the innovation cluster ZAP makes ZAP Groningen complete as an upscaling and training environment. The new ZAP innovation cluster for applied research and intensive collaboration with industry ensures:
- more and better-educated young professionals with up-to-date knowledge in the field of the biobased economy;
- training and retraining opportunities focused on Bio- and Smart Processing technology;
- and facilitating research for SMEs and startups.
Hanze University Groningen is the coordinator and, in addition to the province Groningen, main investor of the ZAP innovation cluster. The cluster is working closely with the Noorderport and the University of Groningen. Interested companies from the agricultural, pharmaceutical, chemical and manufacturing industries include Avebe, SuikerUnie, Akzo Nobel, Imenz, Feyecon, Syncom, Telson, Ten Kate Vetten, Exter Aroma and Koopmans meel.
The grant of more than € 2.5 million, at a total investment of € 5.1 million, for the ZAP innovation cluster springs from the Ruimtelijk Economisch Programma, part of the program Groningen@Work, the provincial program of Economie en Arbeidsmarkt 2016 – 2019. The Samenwerkingsverband Noord Nederland (SNN) executesthe REP on behalf of the three northern provinces.