Dutch show highest returns on EU research funding

Higher education, research institutions, and the business sector in the Netherlands managed to secure nearly €3.4 billion in European funding in the period 2007 to 2013. That is almost one and a half times more than the Dutch contributions to EU budgets in these areas, as reported by State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Mr Sander Dekker, and Minister of Economic Affairs, Mr Henk Kamp, in their letter to the Dutch House of Representatives.

The Netherlands is the best performer of all EU Member States in terms of funding secured relative to the size of their economies. Under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), a total of 26,454 European research projects were funded, 5,173 of which were Dutch.

European cooperation

State Secretary Dekker is pleased with the figures on Dutch research. “Working with international partners on FP7 projects has enabled Dutch research institutes and businesses to carry out quality research. The international networks are of strategic importance for the Netherlands, as they present opportunities for Dutch science to showcase itself at the European level.”

“The Netherlands has a fantastic knowledge base with top researchers and companies that are global leaders in their fields,” said Minister Kamp. “By making the best possible use of European financial resources for knowledge and innovation, Dutch businesses and research institutes have the opportunity to transform their expertise into innovative new products and services.”

European Research Council

Of the nearly €3.4 billion in EU research funding acquired by the Netherlands over the last seven years, €700 million came from the European Research Council. Excellence is the sole criteria for ERC grants. The country’s best researchers have therefore secured €100 million in funding each year.

The success rate of Dutch applications for FP7 funding – 23%, as opposed to the European average of 17% – is testament to the quality of the research proposals submitted from the Netherlands. These financial achievements indicate that Dutch researchers and businesses are highly valued as international partners and fit well into the European Research Area and the European market for innovation products, processes, and services. “The ease with which Dutch researchers of all kinds – young and old, experienced and inexperienced – dare to operate at an international level is often seen as a key to this success,” Dekker explains. “The Netherlands can be proud of its high international standing.”

Netherlands Enterprise Agency

The central government assists Dutch researchers and research institutes in their pursuit of European research grants. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has helped many researchers obtain funding over the past seven years and will continue to do so for KP7’s successor, Horizon 2020. In the EU’s multi-year budget, more funds are made available for Horizon 2020, with the programme’s total budget increasing from €50.5 billion to €70.2 billion. This comes at a time of cuts to the EU’s overall budget.