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Meet our pioneer: Rik Schutte

In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. So we’d like you to meet one of our pioneers: Rik Schutte.


In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. So we’d like you to meet one of our pioneers: Rik Schutte.


Who are you and where are you from?

I am Rik Schutte, I am 22 years old and I come from Bergen op Zoom. For a few years, I have been living with friends in an apartment in Eindhoven.

What do you study?

In the beginning, I had some trouble finding the right bachelor. I did a year of Computer Science at the TU/e. I found that very monotonous, so after that, I did the Bachelor of Applied Mathematics. But that wasn't what I was looking for either. Eventually, I ended up with the bachelor of Psychology & Technology. I am now in the second year of this bachelor and I really like it. It’s exactly what I was looking for. I really like the alternation between the technology and the human aspect.

The main concept of Psychology & Technology is that we as humans come into contact with technology a lot and have certain reactions to it. We can also adapt those technologies in such a way to influence the reactions. It's all about the link between the person and the technology.

Will you be doing another master after this?

I think I want to do a master's after this. I am still doubting whether I will do the specific master of Human Interaction Design at TU/e because I am thinking about studying abroad. When you are young, this is the best time to do so, because now you have a lot of freedom. Personally, I am someone who likes to explore and find myself in new environments. I was even thinking about doing my bachelor abroad, but in the end, it never happened. Why I don't know exactly.

What student team are you on?

I am the Lead Interaction Design at Blue Jay Eindhoven since late August 2020. I manage a team of 5 members there. What I do is keep an overview of the projects, help solve problems and coordinate with the other team leads. I see what everyone is doing, I make adjustments or arrange help if necessary. I had never thought before that some form of management would be fun, but since I've been doing this, I find it very interesting. But apart from that, I'm still plenty technical.

In the next academic year, I am going to join Team HART (Human Augmentation Research & Technology). I am going to join this new team because I find the idea of further developing senses with technology - regulating senses differently to make people 'better' in a sense - very interesting. With applications of technology, you can make people stronger, for example, but also help them if they have a particular problem. Here again, you have the whole human thing combined with technology. It's all in there and that's why it fits in very well with my interests and studies.

Why did you join a student team?

I had enough time left to do something, but I didn't want to have a part-time job next to my studies, like in the hospitality industry. Within the university, there are an awful lot of opportunities to do projects next to your studies. I always wanted to work on projects that would do something good. That's how I ended up with the student teams. They are more practically oriented and that seemed like a really cool thing to do. Many student teams are about sustainability, sustainable homes and cars, but that didn't appeal to me. Blue Jay emerged as the ideal candidate, especially because they have an Interaction Design team.

"I always wanted to participate in projects that put something good in place. That's how I ended up with the student teams. Those are more hands-on and that seemed like a really cool thing to do."

Rik Schutte

Are you also in a study association?

I'm in SV Intermate. This is a place for students to get together and do activities. I joined because there were friends there and I find it fun to be in contact with fellow students this way. I have been a member since the beginning of my studies, but since this year I am active in a committee. I am the chairman of the merchandise committee and I am also on the IT committee and the sandwich committee, which arranges the lunches.

You seem pretty busy.

Yes, I am. And recently I also became a student consultant with Unipartners. Through that organization, I found a temporary part-time job at Streamit in Veldhoven, where I'm now writing a manual for a technical platform.

What would you like to do later on?

If I get the chance, I would like to do a PhD. But unfortunately, there are few places for it, so the chance might be small. Although it’s a growing industry and so theoretically there should be more available spots. But I still see myself continuing in academia. Should that not be the case, I see myself in some sort of management position. Then more as the bridge between the techies, the engineers, and more the purely 'management people'.

I don't have a specific preference for the field of work, but right now I'm working on innovative health care and I find that branch enormously interesting. Seeing how your products help people is very enjoyable. Some form of contribution to such a product is just fantastic. I really want to help people with my work.

What do you like about doing a PhD?

I really like the world of studying. That's why I don't see myself going straight into the professional field. Within a PhD, you have the ultimate opportunity to help your sector move forward with groundbreaking research. This sector is growing and I would very much like to contribute to it. I want my research to show what possibilities there are and for people to understand that this is a valuable field of research.

What do you think of studying and living in Brainport Eindhoven?

I like it here. It is difficult to find a decent room though. Fortunately, I was able to find a nice room, but once there it is quite difficult. There is a lot to do. Within the university, there are many initiatives, associations and projects that you can easily join. Or you can start a project yourself. There are enough companies in the area that would be very happy to help you with this. I have the feeling that Brainport Eindhoven is much better than other places in this respect. It is the ideal place. The city of Eindhoven is also very pleasant. It is a nice city, where I like to live.

What would you like to tell (future) students in Brainport Eindhoven?

Don't worry so much about being a nominal student. Just do some extra projects next to your studies. It’s very good for your personal development and technical knowledge. Working on such a project is really great fun. I feel like you should do it right in your study time. Especially if you are in an environment where that is easy, like here in Brainport Eindhoven. At the beginning of my studies, I did not do that as much and I think that’s a pity. It's as if I'm trying to catch up now. Mainly pick up projects. Find something to do besides your studies that is study-related. There are so many projects. It's just a shame if you don't get in touch with that.