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.

Focus areas
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 established by Gerrit Zilvold and Hermie Hermens, and the research activities were relocated to the current building. About ten researchers were active in the areas of EMG, movement analysis and FES (functional electrical stimulation) at that time.

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 recognised by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport as a Scientific Development Centre for Pain Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Technology. Thanks to this recognition and the associated financial support, it was possible to implement many innovations from RRD in healthcare practice.

Looking ahead
About 45 researchers, technicians and multidisciplinary therapists currently work at RRD. The research institute forms a strong link between knowledge institutions, rehabilitation centres and industry.

Symposium “Taking care of the future; Enhanced technology for rehabilitation”
In September 2016, RRD celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary with a well-attended symposium and the announcement of its ambition to become a major player in healthcare, academia and industry in the field of rehabilitation technology and telemedicine.
For programme and photos please click