Cabinet’s vision for innovation: extra focus and funding for better results | News report

News item | 11-11-2022 | 15:41

The government believes that the strong knowledge position of Dutch researchers and entrepreneurs should lead to more applications within products and services. This is necessary in response to many challenges such as resource scarcity, digitalisation, sustainability and security and forms the basis for economic growth. The government will therefore in the coming years allocate more than 20 billion euros to the innovation policy and put extra focus on it in order to achieve greater social impact.

The Council of Ministers has approved the government’s vision for innovation and impact on proposals from Minister for Economy and Climate Adriaansens and Minister for Education, Culture and Science Dijkgraaf.

Minister Adriaansens: “We can make better use of the opportunities for knowledge and innovation in the Netherlands. We will do this in two ways together with education, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors. We are going to force ourselves to make a sharper choice about what has real value for our society and economic growth. And we aim to increase the total investment in knowledge and innovation from both public and private parties by more than 30% in the coming years. More focus and more funding will produce more innovative results.”

Minister Dijkgraaf: “With this shared vision, we ensure that the potential of our knowledge is better utilized for society. We strengthen the foundation together with knowledge institutions, the private sector and governments. With these joint measures, we strengthen our position at the top of the global research and innovation scene. With the great qualities of research and innovation in the Netherlands, we can meet the major societal challenges today and in the future.”

Sharper choices in innovation policy

The government will continue to cooperate between companies, knowledge institutions and governments through the so-called mission-driven top sectors and innovation policy. The focus is on sustainability (energy transition and circular economy), digitization and key technologies such as photonics and artificial intelligence. Health, agriculture/water/food and security also receive attention. But sharper choices must be made within these themes so that innovation leads to more applications in products and services. This is also necessary, for example, to become less economically dependent on third countries, as the government described this week in its vision of open strategic autonomy.

The government also makes financial resources available for this. For example, through public investments from the National Growth Fund (20 billion euros). In addition, next year will follow a review of the knowledge and innovation agendas (KIAs) and the conclusion of a new knowledge and innovation convention (KIC) with the more than thirty participating parties. In recent years, public and private investment in this agreement has amounted to approximately five billion euros annually.

Research and development costs

Dutch expenditure (public and private) on research and development currently amounts to 2.3% of gross domestic product. The aim is to increase these expenses by 30% in the coming years, without the private share falling.

This extra step is necessary to remain a global leader. This move is also in line with the Cabinet’s earlier vision for manufacturing and other industries, which says it should account for at least 10% of the economy. Important for this is the indexation of the WBSO scheme with an additional budget of 50 million euros from 2023, which increases further thereafter. With WBSO, entrepreneurs can reduce their research and development costs.

More effect of knowledge

The Dutch level of knowledge is world-class, but the impact of scientific, applied and practice-oriented research can and must be improved. The government therefore wants to encourage more use of knowledge (valorization). The road from knowledge to results is not a one-way street. Impact is created when researchers, entrepreneurs and social organizations work together.

The National Growth Fund invests in this. Investments are also made in this area in strengthening applied research facilities (€500 million), practice-oriented research (€100 million) and the major scientific infrastructure (€500 million). There are also plenty of funding opportunities (more than 1 billion euros) available for innovative start-ups and scale-ups.

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