On 1 April 2019, Carmen van Vilsteren from Eindhoven University of Technology became the new chair of Top Sector Life Sciences & Health. Van Vilsteren was appointed by State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer, and takes over from acting chair Hans Schikan. Thanks to her extensive knowledge and experience in science and business together with her entrepreneurial spirit, Van Vilsteren is eminently suitable to represent the Top Sector as its public face.
At the cutting edge of business and research
Carmen van Vilsteren earned her spurs in the medical industry, at Philips and later as CEO and co-founder of Microsure. In her current role as Director Strategic Area Health of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), she combines her knowledge of establishing innovation programmes and public-private partnerships with scientific research. Van Vilsteren has an extensive network and holds various board positions at a regional (Brainport), national and European (Chair of the EIT Health Benelux Board) level. She can therefore facilitate interactions between all three levels, and this cross-fertilising role will tremendously benefit Top Sector LSH. Van Vilsteren will combine her work at TU/e with her role in the Top Sector.
Improving the quality of life
In addition to her tremendous passion for high-tech innovations in healthcare, Van Vilsteren is driven by opportunities for the end user, the patient. ‘Offering sustainable, innovative solutions in healthcare and thus influencing people’s lives is what motivates me’, says Van Vilsteren. ‘Dutch research and industry play a leading role in healthcare innovations. I am keen to further strengthen and expand this position internationally to improve the quality of life worldwide.’
Acting chair championed innovation
After the death of former chair Jan Raaijmakers in October 2017, the experienced biotech entrepreneur Hans Schikan assumed the position with verve. In his role as acting chair, Schikan was a resolute champion of innovation in the Life Sciences & Health (LSH) sector. Thanks to Schikan, the LSH sector achieved several major successes. National collaborations were realised in areas such as regenerative medicine (RegMed XB) and cardiovascular research (Dutch CardioVascular Alliance). Furthermore, the relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Amsterdam has led to various (bio)pharmaceutical companies establishing a branch in the Netherlands.
Making a global difference
Top Sector LSH is one of the nine top sectors that drives the competitive position of the Netherlands in the global market. It enables public and private partners to provide world-leading innovative solutions in the fields of pharmaceuticals, medical technology, diagnostics, vaccinations, digital care solutions and healthcare infrastructure.