Innovation L.E.A.D. Programme

Lead. Engineer. Accelerate. Disrupt.

Are you a (soon to be) MSc graduate? Are you ambitious, do you like to work on major societal challenges of the future, and do you want to kickstart a career centred on innovation at a start-up and a corporation? Then the X!Delft Innovation L.E.A.D Programme is for you!

What is it?

In the X!Delft Innovation L.E.A.D. Programme, young technical graduates are presented with an opportunity to develop themselves into innovation leaders who see and set the trends of the future of society. In two periods of 4 and 8 months, you will be working at a start-up and a large international company respectively, being placed right in the middle of the action and seeing first-hand what it means to disrupt and innovate a business market. In addition you will follow a training trajectory specialising your technical expertise, and work on a strategic project with your fellow Innovation LEADers which will strengthen your consultancy skills.

What makes this programme different is its unique focus on innovation and the role technology plays herein. Participants are challenged to engineer solutions to problems companies might not even realise exist. Learn what it takes to implement disruptive business models and successfully guide an organisation through such a transition process, and accelerate innovation today.

Who is it for?

The ideal candidate for the X!Delft Innovation L.E.A.D. Programme possesses the following traits:

  • An entrepreneurial spirit, not afraid to push the boundaries
  • Perseverance, can handle pressure
  • Teamplayer who understands the value of collaboration
  • Willing to travel (in the Netherlands)
  • Positive attitude, focused on solution-based thinking
  • A natural curiosity, interested in innovation

If you want to apply to the X!Delft Innovation L.E.A.D. Programme, there are some requirements you need to meet:

  • You are in the possession of a master’s degree of a member of the 4TU network (TU Delft, TU/e, UT, WUR)
  • You have a professional working knowledge of English, professional working knowledge of Dutch is an asset
  • You have legal eligibility to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the programme
  • Working knowledge of Python (or other programming language) is not required, but is a plus

What will you do?

In this programme, you will

  • Learn and work at the same time
  • Gain experience at both a start-up and a large international company
  • See first-hand how each organisation operates
  • Develop and carry out innovative projects using new technologies and business models
  • Follow a training trajectory throughout the programme
  • Pursue a larger-scale strategic project across all participating companies


At a start-up, no two days are the same. Here, life is fast-paced, and you will be a full employee joining a start-up as they are in the process of launching a particular product or service. Learn what it takes to succesfully pitch an idea to investors, transfer from concept to reality, and set up an organisation and keep it running.



Large international companies are constantly looking for new and innovative models to reinvent their business. Over the course of eight months, you will be working at one of X!Delft Corporate Partners, such as Heineken, Nouryon, or VolkerWessels. Here you will be able to set your teeth into a larger project where you get to apply all you have learned so far in the programme and work towards realizing innovation within a corporation.

Men and women talking in modern office

Strategy Project

During the programme, you will work on a 6-month strategy project with your fellow Innovation LEADers that looks at a larger question put forward by all participating companies related to the Sustainable Development Goals. How to increase the sustainable mindset within an organisation, for example? Or how do we bring less poverty, less hunger, and more electricity to the Global South in a sustainable matter? These questions require answers that are out-of-the-box, look towards the future, and dare to be disruptive. Under guidance from Roland Berger Consulting, you wil look at these larger questions across all participating X!Delft partners and develop your consulting skills. Afterwards, you will present your findings to the organisations.


What do we offer?

In this traineeship, we train highly-skilled employees for the future, who are not afraid to think outside the treaded paths and see opportunities where others might see risks. We offer you the opportunity to actively engage in thinking about the society of the future and what that will look like.


Throughout the programme, you will follow a training trajectory that focuses on the following 4 main areas: 

  • Personal skills – explore your (inter)personal strengths and weaknesses, develop your
  • Technical skills – broaden your deep technological skills through further lectures by experts from the TU Delft
  • Business skills – gain insight into how business models and their drivers are influenced by new technologies
  • Innovation skills – learn what it truly means to ‘innovate’, and how you can move organisations towards disruptive innovation

To develop these skills, we offer the following: 

  • Your own career coach
  • An interactive training trajectory
  • Regular meetings with the partners in the X!Delft ecosystem through for example speeddates, company visits, pitch events

The programme begins with a bootcamp where you will get to know your fellow Innovation LEADers, be introduced to your career coach, and learn more about the structure of the programme.

After the traineeship

Upon successful completion of the programme, you are equipped with the necessary skillset and work experience to start your career in technical innovation. Based on your performance during the programme, you may be offered a position at any of the organisations within the X!Delft partner network. You also become a part of the X!Delft Innovation LEADers Community, providing you with an exclusive network of innovative thinkers.

Salary and benefits

  • You will receive a 1-year contract
  • There will be an equal salary for all participants:
    • € 2.050,- per month during the start-up period
    • € 2.800,- per month during the corporate period

NB: Above salaries are gross income per month


To apply for the L.E.A.D. Programme, you need to submit the following items:

  • A CV
  • A (preliminary) grade list of your high school, bachelor and master degrees
  • A motivational statement, covering the following topics:
    • Why do you want to participate in the L.E.A.D. Programme?
    • What do you want to gain during this year?
    • Who or what is an inspiring innovator/innovation to you?

Motivational Statement

Keeping the central theme of innovation in mind, participants are encouraged to submit a motivational statement that -in their opinion- represents their character best. This means you can submit a motivational statement through for example the following forms:

  • A written statement (max. 1 A4)
  • A video (max. 1 minute)
  • A visual representation, such as a flowchart or poster
  • Through any other means that you feel comfortable with and best represents you as a candidate!

Planning 2019/2020

Application Period                             October 2019

1st selection Round                           Early November

2nd selection round                           End of November

Start traineeship                                6th  of January 2020

More information

Do you have a question about the programme or the application process? Send an e-mail to

The 2020 LEAD Programme features the following partners and collaborators: