Working method

The working method of the NWO Domain Applied and Technical Sciences (AES) consists of bringing together engineering scientists and users around excellent technical-scientific research. For every AES funded project, a users’ committee is set up from the start that meets regularly and consults on utilisation opportunities and the progress of the research. A users’ committee, together with the intellectual property policy, is part of the knowledge transfer process.

Applying innovative research

The main channel for the emergence of projects is to call for research proposals in the field. It is always about innovative research with a chance of application, in the form of separate projects and programmes (related projects on one subject). The chance of application is promoted by the fact that researchers must indicate in each research proposal in a utilisation chapter how they intend to use the knowledge by third parties. Ideally, a research proposal is already written in consultation with potential users. Every proposal is assessed equally by scientific experts on scientific quality as on the utilisation. Moreover, every proposal must always be accompanied by letters of intent from (potential) users. Representatives of these users are on the users’ committee that is set up per project. This approach applies to all NWO Domain AES activities.

Programmes and Top sectors

About half of the AES research is relevant for the top sector High Tech Systems & Materials. The other half contributes to the eight other top sectors. Programmes can be created top-down, for example in consultation with the nine top teams, or because AES enters into a partnership with one or more companies around a special theme. Approximately half of the AES budget is distributed through demand-driven programmes, the other half through projects within the Open Technology programme and the Talent Scheme.

Demand-driven programmes

An important part of demand-driven programmes is bottom-up through Perspectief, a roadmap-like procedure in which programmes compete for the AES funds in competition. Within Perspectief programmess are honoured that consist of coherent projects that jointly tackle an innovation focal point. Perspectief programmes are strongly characterized as consortia of research institutions and users. Within the Partnership instrument, cooperation programmes are formulated around explicit research questions from one company, a coherent sector or a chain of companies. Enterprising researchers can make use of funding for valorisation through the Take-off and Demonstrator instruments.