WESPIN is intiated and powered by René Wijlens.
René Wijlens graduated in 1987 as a biomedical engineer at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. After his study he worked for the Ministry of Defence and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam on the area of biomechanics and human performance with special focus on the improvement of Physical performance of people in military service and sport.
After being a project manager for HBG, a Dutch building company, he joined TNO in 1989, first as project manager, later as account manager. From 1995 till 2002 he was the manager of the department Product-ergonomics and -performance. In this function the growth of TNO in the sports sector started. He initiated several projects with (sports) industry and was cofounder of the TNO Running Centre.
From 2002-2008 René has been Manager TNO Sports and was in this function responsible for all TNO activities in the sports area (www.tno.nl). As such he has been one of the main promoters of sports innovation in the Netherlands. An important step in this was the strategic collaboration with NOC*NSF that was established in 2002. In the period 2002-2005 he was the manager of the program “Innovation for Gold”. This program, partly funded by the Dutch government, aimed at the strengthening of the collaboration between sports-industry and knowledge organisations in the Netherlands. As a direct consequence of the “Innovation for Gold” program several innovation projects with industry, research organisations and sports clubs/associations were started. Examples of this are the project on innovation of soccer training (with e.g. PSV Eindhoven, Free University of Amsterdam and University of Groningen).
An important development since 2002 was the start up of the field lab concept for innovation in sports. The benefits of this concept have been proven since and the concept is now more or less the standard innovation procedure for sports innovation in the Netherlands.
In 2003/2004 René was initiator and co-organiser of the first Dutch Sports and Technology congress. Since its launch this is a yearly congress that has gained a solid position in the Dutch Sports and Innovation climate. It also resulted in the creation of the foundation Sports&Technology (www.sportsandtechnology.nl ) in Eindhoven that has been a driving force for quite some successful sport innovations in the Netherlands in the past decade.
René Wijlens was initiator of InnoSportNL (www.innosport.nl ), an independent foundation aimed at the stimulation of sports innovation in the Netherlands. Between 2006 and 2008 he has worked part-time working for this organisation as Senior Market Manager next to his job as Manager TNO Sport
On European level René was the co-ordinator of the Innosport.eu project (2005-2008) forming the basis of a European network of companies and knowledge organisations in the field of sports and innovation. In this open network partners from research organisations, industry and sports are brought together. The network delivered the European research agenda for sports and industry 2008-2015. In 2008 this project lead to the first European Conference on Sport Innovation. From this project and this conference the European Platform for Sport Innovation (EPSI) was founded of which René was one of the founders and is currently one of the two executive directors.
From 2008-2011 René has been the director of NHB Deurne, the National Equestrian Education and Knowledge Organisation. Starting January 2012 René started his own company WESPIN providing services in the field of Sports and Innovation.