Professor Gerrit Zilvold, rehabilitation physician and general director at Roessingh, Centre for Rehabilitation, started the research activities at Roessingh. He wanted to carry out research within the rehabilitation setting of the centre and so he set up a new ‘Research & Innovation’ department in 1983.
The aim of this department was to improve the rehabilitation of patients with the help of scientific research. The research was not only aimed at the work at Roessingh, but also very clearly on the implementation of new applications at other rehabilitation centres.
During the first few years, the work mainly focused on electromyography (EMG), electrostimulation, the evaluation of healthcare technology, and what would later become quantitative gait image analysis. Later, the development of new supporting technologies and new training methods would also become a focus area.
On 27 February 1991, Roessingh Research and Development B.V. was founded by Gerrit Zilvold and Hermie Hermens, and the research activities were moved to the current building. At that time, about ten researchers were active in the fields of EMG, motion analysis and FES (functional electrical stimulation).
In the mid-1990s, the number of researchers grew to about 30 and RRD broadened its research field to include quality of care, research into chronic pain, prosthesiology/orthesiology and robotics.
To strengthen the relationship with the University of Twente, three professorships were established at the university: ‘Neuromuscular control of human movement’, ‘Rehabilitation medicine and technology’ and ‘Technology supported cognitive training for rehabilitation’. In 2012, a fourth professorship was established: ‘Diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain and fatigue’. Due to this close collaboration with the University of Twente, RRD received academic recognition in 2002.
In 2004 Roessingh together with RRD was recognized by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport as a Scientific Innovation Centre for Pain Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Technology. Thanks to this recognition and the accompanying financial support, many new innovations from RRD could actually be implemented in health care practice.
In 2016, RRD became an independent company. The institute is led by a managing director who is supported by the management team. The shares are held by the RRD foundation. Rehabilitation technology and eHealth are the most important focus of the research.