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Knowledge and Innovation Covenant

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, companies and public parties. NWO is responding to this by investing more than 100 million euros a year in research in which public and private parties work together.

  • Aim and objectives

    Through the KIC 2020-2023, NWO contributes to the government's mission-driven top sector and innovation policy. NWO initiates collaborations, establishes links between scientists, private and public parties, and encourages NWO to explore new avenues. Bringing the various parties together creates new consortia and innovative research.

  • Budget and duration

    The financial contribution of NWO is laid down in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023, in which knowledge institutions, the business community, governments and other public parties jointly invest in innovation. The NWO instruments for the KIC 2020-2023 provide funding for fundamental and practical research in public-private partnerships. The set of instruments consists of four main lines, for which 118 million euros has been reserved each year.

  • Knowledge and Innovation Agendas (KIAs)

    The mission-driven top sectors and innovation policy of the Dutch government focuses on the opportunities afforded by four major societal themes, and on key enabling technologies and public earning capacity. For each of these areas, a Knowledge and Innovation Agenda (KIA) has been compiled.

    These are for the four societal themes:
    •            Energy transition and sustainability
    •            Agriculture, Water and Food
    •            Health and Care
    •            Security

    As well as:
    •            Key enabling technologies
    •            Public earning capacity

    The societal themes have been elaborated into 25 concrete missions. These missions centre on questions that the Dutch government wishes innovative entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions to answer for a future-resilient the Netherlands. The NWO contribution to the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023 focuses on fundamental and practice-oriented research into questions that contribute to realising the missions. The six KIAs constitute the substantive starting point for the NWO programming.

    More information (only in Dutch)

  • Universities of Applied Sciences and SMEs

    In all four main lines of the KIC's NWO instruments, there is room for the participation of universities of applied sciences as consortium partners and for applying for innovation internships. Specific measures are also being taken to make the participation of SMEs in research more attractive in all fundinginstruments. 

  • Programme committee

    NWO’s executive board has set up a programme committee for the KIC programme. This committee advises the executive board on issues such as the design of the KIC funding instruments, the objective priorities and the texts for calls for proposals. The programme committee consists of the following persons:

    R.G.M. Penning de Vries, PhD (chair)

    René Penning de Vries fulfils various roles in the field of high technology and healthcare, often at the public-private interface. He is currently chair of the board of Health Valley, chair of the supervisory board of the Brabant Development Agency (BOM) and figurehead of PhotonDelta, and also holds supervisory roles at the Sint Maartenskliniek in Nijmegen and the Ventures Holding of the University of Amsterdam. Previously, he was a figurehead of the ICT Top Sector. Penning de Vries trained as a physicist at Radboud University and took his PhD at the University of Twente. After a career in R&D, he was chief technology officer at Philips Semiconductors. When this division of Philips split off, he moved to NXP Netherlands, where he was chair of the executive board until 2012.

    L.C.A. Declercq, MSc

    Lieve Declercq is managing director of technical service provider SPIE Netherlands and a member of SPIE Group SA’s executive committee. She was trained as a technical business administrator at the KU Leuven and started her career at Esso Benelux. Subsequently, she was marketing director at Van Gansewinkel and managing director of the Maltha Group. Before joining SPIE, Declercq was CEO of water company Vitens for five years.

    Professor J.H. Garretsen

    Harry Garretsen is professor of international economics and business at the University of Groningen and a member of NWO’s Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) domain board. He studied economics at the University of Groningen and obtained his PhD there in 1991. Previously, Garretsen worked at De Nederlandsche Bank and was professor of economics at Radboud University in Nijmegen and Utrecht University. He is editor of the online discussion forum for economists Me Judice.

    M. van der Heijden, MSc

    Maria van der Heijden is director and board member of MVO Nederland, a large business network that focuses on using innovation to achieve a new, future-proof economy. She studied business administration at Erasmus University and held various management positions at FloraHolland and Rabobank. Van der Heijden is co-founder of Women on Wings, a social enterprise that creates employment for women in rural India.

    S. Heimovaara, PhD

    Sjoukje Heimovaara is managing director of the Agrotechnology & Food Science Group of Wageningen University & Research. She studied plant breeding at Wageningen University and obtained a PhD in cell biology from Leiden University. After taking her PhD, she worked for TNO and then spent more than 15 years at Royal Van Zanten as R&D director and CEO. Heimovaara is a member of the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI) and the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI), and a board member of the Top Institute Food & Nutrition (TiFN).

    G.R. Meijer, PhD

    Geleyn Meijer is rector of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He was trained as a physicist and obtained his PhD in robotics and computer science from the University of Amsterdam. For many years, Meijer worked in software consultancy at Logica and CMG, where he was responsible for R&D and innovation. He was also associate professor at the University of Amsterdam’s Human Computer Studies Laboratory. He was a board member of the national ICT research programme COMMIT and chairman of the innovation network Creative Industry CLICKNL. Before becoming rector, he was dean of the Digital Media and Creative Industry Faculty at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

    Professor H.A.P. Pols

    Huibert Pols is professor of internal medicine at Erasmus University and vice-chair of the board of ZonMw. Previously, he was dean of the Erasmus University Medical Center and rector magnificus of Erasmus University. Pols currently holds positions on a number of supervisory boards: at Sanquin, at Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein and at De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam.

    P.E. Wierenga, PhD

    Peter Wierenga works as an independent consultant and coach in areas such as innovation, R&D and new business and is a member of NWO’s board for the Science (ENW) domain. He was trained in applied physics and obtained his PhD at the University of Twente. Wierenga worked at Philips for a long time. He began as a researcher at the Natlab and retired as CEO of Philips Research in late 2010. As an expert of the PUM Foundation, he is active in various developing countries in the field of incubation. Wierenga is a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.