Government allocates €646 million to projects designed to boost economic growth
The government is injecting €646 million into and setting aside €3.5 billion for ten projects designed to ensure greater economic growth in the Netherlands. The government intends to invest these sums, which will be allocated from the National Growth Fund, in green hydrogen, innovative and future-proof education methods and the extension of Amsterdam's North-South metro line, among other things. In awarding grants to these projects, the government is adopting the recommendation issued by the proposal assessment advisory committee led by Jeroen Dijsselbloem in full. The news was announced by the Ministers Van 't Wout (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) and Hoekstra (Finance).
The advisory committee advised the government to allocate €646 million from the National Growth Fund at once (although some of the allocations are subject to conditions). Furthermore, it advised that €3.5 billion be earmarked for proposals whose funding is contingent on the applicants supplying more detailed information. The National Growth Fund is intended for one-off public investment that contributes to the country's future economic growth. The projects that will be granted funding will all result in increased productivity and create new business, the committee found, partly based on analyses performed by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and other experts
Second round of National Growth Fund grant application submissions
In the next five years, the government will earmark a total of €20 billion for investments in knowledge development, transport infrastructure and research, development and innovation. In this first round of grant application submissions, the Ministries of Education, Culture and Science, Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and Infrastructure and Water Management collected projects that wanted to be considered for financing from the Growth Fund. A second round of grant application submissions will start in early May. The government will decide on the project proposals submitted in Round 2 in early 2022, after reviewing the proposals for the degree to which they meet the submission criteria, and after the proposal assessment advisory committee has issued its recommendation.
Bas van 't Wout, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, had the following to say on the subject: “We are currently seeking to help as many entrepreneurs as possible survive the coronavirus pandemic. However, we must also invest heavily in long-term economic growth. An increasingly large share of our wealth is spent on public services, such as healthcare and pensions, but households would like to keep some disposable income, as well. We will need greater economic growth to be able to afford this.”
For his part, Wopke Hoekstra, the Minister of Finance, was quoted as saying: “With these investments in various types of projects, the National Growth Fund is taking an important first step towards increasing our future prosperity. This recommendation sets a high bar for subsequent rounds and will thus ensure that proposals actually make a significant contribution to the earning capacity of the Dutch economy.”
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chair of the proposal assessment advisory committee, had the following to say: “We, the committee, closely scrutinised the fifteen forward-looking proposals. After all, we could only spend these euros once. All the proposals that will be granted funding this time round will actually invest in innovation. Where necessary, we will ask the applicants for more detailed information, but we are seeing many opportunities for a greater long-term and sustainable growth of our economy.”
Research, development and innovation
An investment programme designed to make the most of the potential of artificial intelligence, so as to benefit the Dutch economy as well as society.
The Growth Fund will inject up to €276 million into the project.
AiNed has already been allocated €44 million. Another €44 million will be allocated subject to conditions, and €188 million will be set aside for the project.
2. Greening the Dutch economy (“Groenvermogen”)
A project designed to accelerate the implementation of green hydrogen applications in industries such as the chemical industry, the transport industry and heavy industry by using innovative production methods and green hydrogen.
The Growth Fund will inject up to €338 million into the project.
€73 million will be allocated subject to conditions, and another €265 million will be set aside for the project.
This project focuses on strengthening the Dutch quantum sector. Quantum technology may play a vital role in increasing computing power. It may enable the establishment of communication methods and networks that are many times more secure than the technologies we use at present.
The Growth Fund will inject up to €615 million into the project.
The project has already been allocated €54 million. Another €228 million will be allocated subject to conditions, and another €333 million will be set aside for the project.
This project is designed to boost the use of health-related data and promote standardisation between Dutch healthcare institutions, knowledge institutions and companies. Among other things, this will allow doctors to make better diagnoses.
The Growth Fund will inject up to €69 million into the project:
€22 million will be allocated subject to conditions, and another €47 million will be set aside for the project.
5. RegMed XB.
This project is designed to invest in four regenerative medicine pilot plants that will develop therapies that make use of the body's self-healing capacity. This will help prevent or cure chronic diseases. Dutch companies can lead the way in this.
The Growth Fund will inject up to €56 million into the project.
The project has already been allocated €23 million and another €33 million will be allocated subject to conditions.
6. Expansion of metropolitan public transport system and Southern Randstad urbanisation.
This project is designed to invest in strengthening the public transport infrastructure in the regions of The Hague, Rotterdam and Zoetermeer, extending the Leiden-Dordrecht railway line and creating new stations for easier access to public transport.
The National Growth Fund will set aside funding for the 'Old Line' project component, i.e. the railway line between Schiedam and Delft. Up to €1 billion (50% of estimated costs).
7. Expansion of the MRA metropolitan public transport system and urbanisation.
This project is designed to extend the North-South metro line from Amsterdam Zuid station to Schiphol Airport and Hoofddorp and to close down the Amsterdam metro ring from Isolatorweg to Amsterdam Central Station. The aim is to improve access and boost economic growth.
The National Growth Fund will set aside funding for the 'Extension of North-South metro line' project component. Up to €1.5 billion (50% of estimated costs).
8. Eindhoven Brainport line.
This proposal concerns a separate bus lane for emission-free self-driving means of collective passenger transport, combined with an innovation programme for the automotive sector. The aim is to improve access to the region, make the region more attractive to businesses and boost transport by means of self-driving buses.
The National Growth Fund will set aside €30 million (50% of the estimated costs) for the innovation programme project component.
9. Strengthening the lifelong learning infrastructure
This project is designed to invest in things such as a personalised online training course overview and a pilot study involving professional development recommendations for people who have had a vocational education. The aim is to help increase people's knowledge and skills and keep them up to date, so as to improve their prospects in the labour market.
The National Growth Fund will invest in the aforementioned components, contributing up to €90 million.
€45 million will be allocated to the online training course overview, subject to conditions, while another €45 million will be set aside for the professional development recommendations pilot study.
10. Transition towards innovative and future-proof education.
This project is designed to invest in online learning tools and resources and IT, so as to raise the quality of the Dutch education system. For example, this will be done in a National Teaching Lab, where prototypes will be developed for further scaling up.
The National Growth Fund will inject up to €143 million into the project.
The National Teaching Lab will be allocated €80 million, subject to conditions, and another €63 million will be set aside for the scaling-up of promising prototypes.