Implementation of financial instruments for public-private partnerships laid down in KIC 2020-2023

21 November 2019

Climate change, cyber security, ageing: our society is facing a number of major challenges that call for more knowledge and groundbreaking innovations. This offers opportunities for scientists and for companies. NWO is responding to this by investing more than 100 million euros a year in research in which public and private partners work together. These resources are deployed via a structured set of instruments, aimed at various forms of collaboration.

Over one hundred million euros are available for fundamental and practical research, carried out by scientists in collaboration with companies. From 2020, the NWO contribution will be based on the government's mission-driven innovation policy, which challenges researchers, together with the business community, to seize the opportunities of societal challenges. The financial contribution of NWO and other involved parties was laid down in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023 on 11 November.

The signing of the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant 2020-2023 on 11 November 2019State Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) co-signed the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant 2020-2023 on 11 November 2019 (photo: Arenda Oomen Fotografie)

Research and innovation topics

The KIC 2020-2023 focuses on four major societal themes: Energy Transition & Sustainability, Agriculture, Water & Food, Health & Care, and Safety. There is also the cross-sectional theme of the Key Technologies, such as digital technologies, advanced materials and quantum technologies. All these themes have been further elaborated into the Knowledge and Innovation Agendas (KIA), drawn up by representatives of the business community and the government. In addition, a KIA has been drawn up for social earning capacity. The KIAs contain research and innovation topics that knowledge institutions and companies can address in public-private partnerships. The NWO instruments for public-private research within the KIC 2020-2023 consist of four main lines, for which 118 million euros has been reserved annually.

Available funding  

The NWO instruments for public-private research within the KIC 2020-2023 consist of four main lines, for which 118 million euros have been reserved annually.

1. Mission-driven: mission-driven calls

Within this framework, a limited number of major thematic calls are developed each year, with a volume of between 5 and 15 million euros. Researchers submit proposals for collaborative projects, with a budget of 750,000 to 4 million euros per proposal. The first mission-driven calls will open in the first quarter of 2020. In research aimed at innovation, the themes are determined by the priorities from the KIAs. This is subject to a compulsory 30% co-financing, of which at least half comes from private parties. In calls with a focus on knowledge development, NWO defines themes on the basis of the needs of the scientific field. A co-financing of 10% will be required for this.
Annual budget: 55 million euros

2. Demand-driven: partnerships

Through this main line, a number of research issues from external private and/or public partners are elaborated each year, with a size of between 3 and 10 million euros. The partner(s) matches the NWO contribution in cash, which is between 1.5 and 5 million euros. Researchers can initiate projects or participate in a partnership. NWO will set up an open 'counter' for this purpose, a contact point for interested parties. Selected partnerships will be developed in close cooperation between the initiating parj and NWO. This 'counter' will be opened in the first half of 2020.
Annual budget: 15 million euros

3. Strategy driven: large, long-term, strategic collaborations

The KIC will set up a limited number of long-term programmes (LTP) over a 10-year period.  An LTP offers a powerful boost to the development of a scientific field, focusing on a societal theme and/or key technology. Examples of current LTPs are QuTech, ARC CBBC and ARCNL.. New LTPs have a size of between 3 and 10 million euros per year, of which NWO finances a limited part. The rest of the funding is provided by the private and public partners and knowledge institutions involved. NWO is setting up an open 'counter' where participants from the first hallfof 2020 can register.
Annual budget: 30 million euros (including 10 million euros reserved for current long-term programmes).

4. Practice-driven: practice-oriented research with a focus on SMEs and the region

This line makes it possible for practice-oriented researchers to build up innovation networks and collaborate with partners from the region and SMEs. Funding is available through instruments of SIA: SPRONG, L.INT and KIEM.
Annual budget: 18 million euros

Universities of Applied Sciences and SMEs

In addition to the fourth main line, the other main lines provide scope for the participation of universities of applied sciences as a consortium partner and for innovation internships.  Specific measures to encourage the participation of SMEs in research should make it even more attractive. In addition, NWO will actively support innovation clusters and initiatives. This includes organising matchmaking activities and offering sandpit procedures to explore the viability of research initiatives at an early stage.  
NWO will carefully monitor the results of the calls and the experiences of knowledge institutions and partners. Where necessary, NWO, in consultation with the partners, will adjust the requirements and approach in the KIC 2020-2023.

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Source: NWO


Mr. ir. R. (Rolf) Bossert (Coordinator Top Sectors) Mr. ir. R. (Rolf) Bossert (Coordinator Top Sectors) +31 (0)6 51319063


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