Five large interdisciplinary consortia strengthen knowledge and innovation in the Netherlands

12 December 2019

Lifestyle of the elderly, neurotechnology, agricultural production systems, energy storage and accelerating sustainability. To achieve progress in these areas, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) is investing 39 million euros in five large, interdisciplinary research consortia within the Crossover programme.

Cross-over call

Researchers from very diverse disciplines will join forces within these consortia with public and private partners. Besides research, they will strongly focus on facilitating the collaboration between various disciplines and making the connection with application-oriented research. The results will find their way, for example, into living labs, testing grounds, centres of expertise or smart data factories.

NWO received eighteen applications, and ten of these were elaborated into full proposals. The total size of the projects lies between 7.15 and 14.3 million euros. NWO will fund 70 percent of this amount, and the partners will contribute at least 30 percent of the project costs. The projects have a maximum duration of seven years.

Top sectors

The Crossover programme is new within NWO and is part of the NWO contribution to the Knowledge and Innovation Contract 2018-2019. With this contract, government, industry and knowledge institutions subscribe to the research ambitions for the top sectors with the aim of strengthening the Dutch knowledge and innovation system. Compared with “regular” public-private partnerships, the projects in the Crossover programme cover a broader range of top sectors and other research agendas.

Next steps

In the new Knowledge and Innovation Covenant 2020-2023 (KIC), which NWO signed at the beginning of November, there is room for a large-scale innovation programme, but in a different form from Crossover.

Executive board member Jaap Schouten, closely involved in the new KIC, explains: ‘NWO did not yet have a funding instrument of this size for consortia. The budget available per project is considerably higher in Crossover than for example Perspectief programme. . It was a challenge for the participants to form such consortia with a considerable contribution from private parties. Nevertheless, Crossover has shown that there is a demand for this and that it is possible to build such large consortia. Therefore in the new Knowledge and Innovation Covenant 2020-2023, there is also room for such NWO-wide, large-scale funding instrument, in which the experiences from Crossover will be used in its design. We will be able to say more about this during the course of 2020.’

Funded projects:

MOCIA: Maintaining Optimal Cognitive function In Ageing – a personalised lifestyle prevention approach
Main applicant: dr. E. (Esther) Aarts (Radboud University, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior)
Due to the ageing population, the number of elderly people with cognitive deterioration is increasing. The MOCIA programme focuses on being able to signal an increased risk of cognitive decline and improving prevention by developing a personalised lifestyle intervention.

INTENSE – Innovative NeuroTEchNology for SociEty
Main applicant: prof. dr. P R. (Pieter) Roelfsema (The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, KNAW)
The project INTENSE will develop brain implants to improve the lives of people who are blind, deaf or paralysed or who suffer from epilepsy. The research will combine the strongly increased knowledge about our brain with new possibilities within neurotechnology with the aim of realising new solutions and commercial opportunities.

RELEASE: Reversible Large-scale Energy Storage
Main applicant: prof. dr. P.M. (Paulien) Herder (Delft University of Technology)
Improving the performance and reducing the cost of large-scale energy storage is vital for the transition to sustainable energy. RELEASE will work on new technological possibilities for the short (2030) and long term (2050). The project will focus on hydrogen and hydrocarbon production from CO2 and flow batteries.

SYNERGIA - SYstem change for New Ecology-based and Resource efficient Growth with high tech In Agriculture
Main applicant: prof. dr. Ir. P.W.G. (Peter) Groot Koerkamp (Wageningen University & Research)
Dutch agriculture faces major ecological and social challenges. The improvement of current production systems offers limited possibilities. The aim of this programme is to develop a production system that takes ecology as the starting point and is supported by smart technology.

NEON (New Energy and mobility Outlook for the Netherlands)
Main applicant: prof. dr. Ir. M. (Maarten) Steinbuch (Eindhoven University of Technology)
In general, large sustainability transitions do not proceed as quickly as needed. That is often down to systems in the area of societal challenges of climate change, sustainable energy and mobility. The programme NEON will focus on methods and techniques that can accelerate the transition, and it will allow researchers to work with government institutions and citizens.

Source: NWO