Government science plans for 2015-2025

The government will pursue three aims for 2025 in order for Dutch science to maintain its leading international role.

Science Strategy

The government’s new science policy is set out in Science Strategy 2025: Choices for the Future. Parliament must still approve the plans.

The government has set three general aims:

  • Dutch science must be world-class;
  • Dutch science must have stronger links with and maximum impact on society and industry;
  • Dutch science must be a breeding ground for talent.

Aim: world-class Dutch science

The government wants Dutch science to consolidate its international standing. Dutch research is a world leader in many areas. There must always be scope for creativity and innovation so that science can play an even bigger part in tackling social issues and strengthening economic growth.

Matching European grants

European funding is often not enough for scientists to carry out all their research. Their institutions have to cover part of the cost. This is known as matching. The government wants to sustain Dutch research institutions’ success in Europe and spur them on to win even more European project grants. As from 2015, government will provide an extra €50 million a year for scientists that receive European project grants. This will relieve the matching burden on institutions.

National Science Agenda

The government introduced the National Science Agenda. Scientists, the private sector, civil society organisations and government have set the National Science Agenda together.

It challenges scientists to make ground-breaking advances. The Agenda focuses on the strengths of Dutch science, while addressing social issues and economic opportunities.

We want to choose what we do and do not do in the Netherlands. The government wants to promote collaboration between Dutch and foreign scientists. This will prevent fragmentation and strengthen the Netherlands’ position and profile in international research teams. The National Science Agenda therefore complements the European Horizon 2020 research programme and the strategy for the top sectors.

Renewal of  infrastructure

Large-scale research infrastructure attracts scientists and innovative industries to the Netherlands. To retain this benefit, the ICT infrastructure must renewed. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will appoint a standing committee to deal with large-scale research infrastructure.

Aim: stronger links with society and industry

Dutch science must maximise its impact on society and industry by 2025. The government therefore wants:

  • Open access to research
    Sixty per cent of publicly-funded scientific articles in the Netherlands must be published in open access journals by 2016, and 100% by 2024. Publicly-funded research must be available to everyone, everywhere.
  • Participatory science
    Government actively supports communication with society about science. Science Weekend will be developed into an inspirational and popular national event. The government wants the general public to be more involved in science by 2025, for example by:
    • participating in scientific research;
    • asking questions of science;
    • debating the possible social impact of new technology. 
  • Confidence in science and integrity
    Science plays an important role in society. Science bears its own responsibilities but active policies on quality and integrity are also necessary. The government wants to promote replica research, meaning that research must be reproducible. It also wants to strengthen the position of the National Board for Research Integrity (LOWI).
  • Closer ties between science and industry
    Collaboration between science and industry can lead to scientific breakthroughs that create new social and economic opportunities.
  • Encourage start-ups
    Universities and higher education institutions must provide encouragement for graduates who want to start up their own business, for instance through the Valorisation Programme.
  • Better use of intellectual property
    Industry must make better use of the patents taken out on the results of scientific research.
  • Strengthening the knowledge function of higher professional education
    Institutions for higher professional education (HBO) must carry out more practical research and make their research activities more professional. They must also step up their cooperation with universities and make more use of European funding.
  • Better cooperation between public authorities and science
    Guided by the National Science Agenda, public authorities must seek the assistance of scientists to solve pressing social issues.

Aim: science as a breeding ground for talent

The government wants to do justice to scientific high potentials by:

  • Providing challenges for talented scientists
    Scientists must have the freedom to develop their talents. Together with the research institutions, the government wants to encourage scientists’ development, in their roles as teachers, supervisors and managers, as well as in putting scientific knowledge and technology to practical use. Too much emphasis is currently placed on publishing.
  • Attracting top international scientists
    Institutions must attract leading international high potentials. They must profile themselves as part of the Dutch scientific system. The Science Agenda’s themes must also be recognised outside the Netherlands as strengths within Dutch science.
  • Increasing the number of PhD researchers in industry and government
    The government will sign a Doctorate Agreement with industry on hiring several hundred PhD researchers in business and government. There must also be greater differentiation in the doctorate system.
  • Getting more out of talented women researchers
    The ratio of men to women in science in the Netherlands should at least match the European average by 2025.
  • Giving scientists more time
    In the future, scientists should spend less time applying for grants. The NWO and universities are working on this. The pressure to publish must also be reduced. The new Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP) will put greater emphasis on the overall quality of scientists’ work.