The top sector High Tech Systems and Materials includes a number of closely interconnected manufacturing industries: machinery and systems, automotive, aviation and space, and materials. Companies in this sector produce a wide variety of end products, semi-finished products, components and materials for markets such as the semiconductor industry, materials for solar cells, printers, lighting, space and the automotive industry.

Research areas

Key HTSM research areas are:

  • Nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, photonics, sensor technology
  • Embedded systems, mechatronics, instrumentation
  • Advanced materials
  • ICT research including software, scientific computing and e-Science, applied mathematics
  • Fluid dynamics, plasma technology, process and separation technology
  • Technology for astronomy, aviation and space, automotive, security
  • Medical technology

Intelligent, accurate, efficient

Achieving sustainability, in the sense of reducing the use of energy and materials, is an integral part of NWO's scientific and economic objectives. The NWO theme comprises fundamental, demand-inspired research that ranks among the best in the world, thanks to the Netherlands' strengths in disciplines such as physics, astronomy, mathematics, chemistry and the technical sciences (e.g. ICT, mechatronics and materials science).


Researchers working within the theme are able to draw on the knowledge and facilities of the NWO institutes. For example, ASTRON and SRON have expertise in the field of electronics, embedded systems, and sensor and telecommunications applications for satellites. CWI has extensive experience and knowledge of mathematics and computer science, disciplines that lie at the heart of many high-tech applications. The physics institutes AMOLF, Nikhef and DIFFER have specialist in-house knowledge in fields such as photonics, high-performance instrumentation and plasma technology.

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 the 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.