NWO to contribute 550 million to top sectors in 2016-2017

Substantial scope for crossover and consolidated initiatives

5 October 2015

Today NWO signed, as one of the organisations involved, the Dutch Knowledge and Innovation Contract for 2016 and 2017. With this contract, government, industry and knowledge organisations are underscoring the top sectors’ ambitions to strengthen the Dutch knowledge and innovation system. The contract represents a total investment of €4.2 billion, €550 million of which is being provided by NWO. NWO’s contribution is designated for high-quality scientific research.

Staatssecretaris Sander Dekker at the signing of the Dutch Knowledge and Innovation Contract for 2016 and 2017  Credits: Guus SchoonwilleStaatssecretaris Sander Dekker at the signing of the Dutch Knowledge and Innovation Contract for 2016 and 2017 Credits: Guus Schoonwille

High-quality research the foundation for innovation

With this, NWO is laying a solid foundation for innovation in our country by selecting and funding the best scientific research projects in the top sectors. Even more than in previous years, NWO is emphasizing themes and initiatives that establish urgently needed links between research areas and the top sectors. NWO is therefore connecting its contribution to the top sectors to the broader context of research into major societal challenges and international collaboration, as announced in its 2015–2018 Strategy.

NWO chair Jos Engelen signing the Dutch Knowledge and Innovation Contract for 2016 and 2017  Credits: Guus SchoonwilleNWO chair Jos Engelen signing the Dutch Knowledge and Innovation Contract for 2016 and 2017 Credits: Guus Schoonwille

‘In addition to our commitment to crossovers,’ explained NWO chair Jos Engelen, ‘we are working towards longer-term partnerships and better coordination with the European agenda, which is a widely shared concern in the top sectors. Effective collaboration between NWO, the top sectors and individual enterprises is therefore enabling us to capitalise on opportunities for the top sectors’ strategic agendas. We are also anticipating the Dutch National Research Agenda that will be offered to the government later this year.’

Public–private partnership

Two hundred million euros of NWO’s contribution will be spent on research that is co-funded by the private sector. Part of this will take the form of longer-term partnerships. Examples include a programme in collaboration with Wetsus and the Water Top Sector for research on water engineering, and the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography for fundamental research on computer chip and processor technology.

The consolidation of research into the private and public sectors will create opportunities to use Dutch knowledge in products and services. This will take the form of a programme for lecturers, in which university for applied sciences lecturers will conduct practical research at NWO institutes and attempt to forge alliances with (small and medium-sized) enterprises and devote attention to the development of talent.

More crossover and consolidated initiatives in public-private partnerships

An important aspect of NWO’s commitment for 2016–2017 is to address major societal challenges at both national and international levels. For example, the share of crossover and consolidated initiatives in public–private partnerships is more than one-third of the overall investment (approximately €75 million of the €200 million). Moreover, NWO will be coordinating with major European research programmes.

By broadening its scope, NWO is already responding to the realisation of the Dutch National Research Agenda, in which the scientific community, citizens and the government will develop key topics for research together. Some of the concrete crossover and consolidated initiatives in 2016-2017 that are already directly linked to the National Research Agenda include:

  • Building blocks of life
  • Circular economy
  • Materials for sustainability
  • Big Data
  • Responsible innovation
  • Complexity
The Work Programme 2016-2017 of NWO with the propositions for each sector will be published later this week.

Further information


Source: NWO

Further information

NWO, Information and Communication Department, tel.: +31 70 344 07 41