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The Maryland Department of Commerce and InnovationQuarter, the regional economic development agency for the greater Rotterdam-The Hague area, have officially renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote general cooperation and coordination between the entities over the next three years.

The agreement was signed by Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz and InnovationQuarter director of foreign investments Chris van Voorden today in Baltimore.

The renewal will help strengthen Maryland and the greater Rotterdam-The Hague area’s relationship as they continue to foster economic development and investment in the two regions, especially as it relates to cybersecurity. The MOU encourages the hosting of delegations in both Maryland and the greater Rotterdam-The Hague area, promoting the regions’ exchange programs, collaborating on webinars for cybersecurity companies interested in expanding their global outreach, and potential opportunities for matchmaking and networking at trade shows around the world.

“The state of Maryland’s partnership with the greater Rotterdam-The Hague area provides great opportunities for governmental collaboration across the Atlantic,” said Secretary Schulz. “By collaborating on research and development, supporting each other’s companies, and encouraging growth in education, we can make sure that both of our regions continue to thrive for years to come.”Back in 2016, the state signed a three-year agreement with InnovationQuarter, which established the soft-landing program for Dutch companies looking to explore the Maryland market and vice versa. The program, which was the first of its kind in Maryland, provides incubation and mentorship services for participating companies.

“We welcome security tech companies to make use of this wonderful program. They can come for a week or even stay for three consecutive months,” van Voorden said at the signing.

The following year, Maryland Commerce welcomed five Netherlands cyber companies to the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park for their month-long stay as they explored the U.S. as a permanent location. Additionally that year, four Maryland cyber firms travelled overseas to facilitate their entry into the European market as part of the bilateral exchange program.

The program is still on-going between the two entities; companies interested in learning more can contact Andrew Kreinik, Maryland Commerce’s regional manager for Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

With more than 116,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals in the state, Maryland is where cyber works. Learn more about how we are a gateway for international business.

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2Tokens project aims to clarify the path to widespread and accessible usage of tokenisation, by any type of organisation, and to realise new value streams. The project is sponsored by the European union and is a joint effort of Blocklab, YES!Delft, InnovationQuarter and LIFT-OFF Partners with the endorsement of the Erasmus University, TechLeap.NL, the Dutch government and several industry players.

The usage of tokens in society goes back to antiquity and technologies such as Blockchain can dramatically reduce the cost of secure and trusted token exchange. The potential for tokenisation to disrupt existing interactions is huge – offering more efficient solutions to existing paradigms (e.g. crowdfunding, fractionalised ownership) as well as opening up whole new models for financing and collaboration.

One clear example of a use case for tokens is in funding. While crowdfunding has helped democratise funding, far too often worthwhile ventures remain unfunded. Tokens can potentially bridge the gap between organisations in need of funding and investors, who have funds available.

The implications of tokenisation are widely appreciated and various parties are re-imagining value flows and guiding behaviours within ecosystems, enabling a fairer distribution of created value. The implications affect the core of what a legal entity is – challenging currently dominant legal forms based on stock ownership to look at flexible, incentive-driven and automatic market-making approaches. Tokenisation has potential benefits across society – from businesses to public or social initiatives that may now be able to secure the investment needed to succeed.

By their nature, tokenisation initiatives will have a large network-effect – which means that there will be a large first-mover advantage. The Netherlands is well-positioned to play a leading role in this transition but needs to act quickly to capture this opportunity.

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Insects are a huge problem in greenhouse horticulture. Pest control costs growers enormous amounts of money and energy and causes the sector much concern. Currently, pests tend to be controlled with biopesticides and chemical pesticides. But there is now a chemical-free solution and it comes from the aviation industry. Delft company PATS is developing a system that uses drones to eliminate flying insect pests. It’s current applications include the cultivation of gerberas and chrysanthemums for the cut flower trade. To further develop the system and adapt the drones for use with other crops, PATS has secured €250,000 from UNIIQ investment fund. Alderperson Karin Zwinkels of the Municipality of Westland announced the investment during the ‘Modern Entrepreneurship’ event at Royal FloraHolland in Naaldwijk.

Pesticides have limited effect

Insect pests are a major problem for greenhouse farmers. The favourable greenhouse climate allows them to thrive and reproduce easily. Despite the increasing use of biopesticides, such as Ichneumon wasps, growers are often unable to avoid using chemical pesticides. However, chemicals often have only a limited effect and are not widely available for every type of pest. Some products also have side effects, both on the crop and beyond. New pest control alternatives are therefore urgently required.

Bat-like drones vs moths

PATS has focused on one harmful insect to begin with: moths. Their offspring, caterpillars, can cause considerable damage to a crop, resulting in yield loss. PATS is developing a solution using micro drones. Base stations equipped with monitoring cameras are installed throughout the greenhouse. As soon as a flying moth is detected, a drone is activated and directed towards the moth at lightning speed. It collides with the insect, which is then disposed of by the drone’s rotating propellers: a swift bat-like action that takes just a few seconds. Once the insect has been eliminated, the drone returns to the base station to recharge for the next mission. In contrast to the methods currently available, this system actively hunts insect pests to prevent them spreading further throughout the greenhouse.

By using the investment from UNIIQ to strengthen its R&D team, PATS will accelerate product development, expand its knowledge base and reduce time to market. Co-founders Bram Tijmons, Sjoerd Tijmons and Kevin van Hecke are extremely pleased with the investment. “We at PATS are very happy about UNIIQ’s confidence in our team and our technology,” says Bram Tijmons. “The investment will be used for further technological product development and to expand the company’s knowledge base. Our innovative application will allow us to support many end users in their day-to-day crop protection activities.”

“PATS, a spinoff of TU Delft, focuses on a major problem faced by the greenhouse and horticultural sector,” says UNIIQ Fund Manager Liduina Hammer. “The founders have research backgrounds at MAVlab, TU Delft’s drone lab, and UNIIQ’s funding will give them the opportunity to validate this alternative, innovative approach to pest control.”

Liduina Hammer

Fund Manager UNIIQ