About this theme

The NWO theme High Tech Systems and Materials covers a wide range of fields. The common feature is that scientists within it are working on high-tech innovations, whether it be more fuel-efficient engines for the automotive industry, new materials that convert sunlight into electricity more efficiently, or new imaging techniques for the healthcare sector.

ICT is crucial to all of the developments within this theme. Safe networks, faultless software and smart data processing ensure the reliable and efficient operation of high-tech equipment. Micro/nanotechnology is also vitally important in this respect. New equipment is becoming increasingly smaller, smarter and efficient.

The growing complexity of products and services in society calls for a fundamental understanding of the functioning of systems, processes and materials. With the theme High Tech Systems and Materials, NWO is promoting excellent scientific research to acquire knowledge for the manufacture of end products, semi-finished products and materials.

Dutch research ranks among the world top in nanotechnology, physics, medical technology and materials research. The NWO institutes are home to the best research in many of these areas.

Relationship with the theme Materials: Solutions for Scarcity

The NWO theme Materials: Solutions for Scarcity focuses specifically on the design and production of materials and the sustainable management of resources needed for that purpose. The theme High Tech Systems and Materials concentrates on the application of smart materials in components and high-tech systems on the more efficient use of energy and materials in applications. This will give the Dutch high-tech industry a head start and that will result in considerable economic added value.

Top sector High Tech Systems and Materials 

The Dutch cabinet has designated nine top sectors in which the Netherlands is a world leader and that the government will specifically focus on together with industry and researchers.

The Netherlands is renowned for designing, developing and manufacturing high-tech equipment and micro/nano components that are very smart, accurate and efficient. The ambition of the top sector High Tech Systems and Materials can be summed up as: making even smarter, smaller and more efficient products.


Scientific research within the NWO theme High Tech Systems and Materials aims to deliver fundamental scientific knowledge in the fifteen areas for which roadmaps have been drawn up within the HTSM top sector:

  • Semiconductor Equipment
  • Printing
  • Lighting
  • Solar
  • Healthcare
  • Security
  • Automotive
  • Aeronautics
  • Space
  • High Tech Materials
  • Embedded Systems
  • Photonics
  • Mechatronics / Manufacturing
  • Components and Circuits
  • Nanotechnology

The HTSM sector is also closely connected with the ICT roadmap, which transcends top sector boundaries.

The technology programmes of the institutes AMOLF, ASTRON, CWI, DIFFER, Nikhef, SRON and CWI tie in with the various HTSM roadmaps.