Project R-3584

Title

FabLab in the border region: FabLab as a bridge between companies and educational institutions

Abstract

A FabLab (Fabrication - or Fabulous - Labratory) is a small workshop with a range of computerized tools for the purpose of being able to make 'almost everything'. The foundation came from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where everybody is offered the opportunity to use such a workshop with specialized equipment. This turned out to be a powerful tool to stimulate innovation and to disseminate and enhance knowledge for the community. The strengths of FabLab are, first of all, the fact that it is an educational workplace and, second of all, that it is a tool to innovate. The FabLab allows students, (starting) companies and individuals to make a product as a prototype or in a small series. The goal of this project, in its first phase, is to establish two new FabLabs (in Genk and Eindhoven) and to make an exapnsion of two other FabLabs possible (in Leuven and Maastricht). Due to these FabLabs, it will be possible again for the SMEs from the border region to produce prototypes. This means that they can design new products and produce small series to test these prototypes and this al a reasonable price. The synergy between the various participants and supporting parties has a strong potential to tighten the web for innovation in the border region. This project proposal aims to target several different groups, with different goals, who, however, will always remain grafted on the central FabLab idea. This bridge FabLab wants to build between education, research and local economy should lead to the strengthening of the local economy and the improvement of education and research by growing closer to the business and utilizing ideas of education and research. The concept is optimal for this purpose, given the great flexibility of FabLab.

Period of project

01 October 2011 - 30 September 2014