Universities of applied sciences are going to work together with small and medium enterprises to increase the innovative capacity of SMEs. To facilitate this, the Dutch government has launched the innovation traineeship. After an internship as a researcher, college students will also be employed as a researcher in a company. During this entire period, a lecturer from the university of applied sciences is involved in the research of the so-called innovation trainee. The students are also trained in entrepreneurial and management skills.
In the coming months, universities of applied sciences will look for entrepreneurs in their region to place an innovation trainee. After approval of their research plans, the first trainees can start in January next year. The target is to place about two hundred. This will cost 3.9 million euros.
The innovation traineeship is part of the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant that State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy sent to the Dutch House of Representatives on 11 November 2019. It has been initiated by the top sectors Chemicals, Agri & Food and Logistics, implemented by Regieorgaan SIA (part of NWO).
State Secretary Keijzer: “Innovation is turning a smart idea into a new product. A product that people benefit from and that makes money. That’s what we need entrepreneurs for. And they, in turn, need talent. That’s why we devised and set up the innovation traineeship, together with Regieorgaan SIA, the universities of applied sciences and the top sectors. This will give SMEs a fresh impetus to keep up with what time and customers demand, while college students gain work experience.”
Maurice Limmen, chairman of the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, adds: “Universities of applied sciences are a natural partner for SMEs when it comes to innovation. After all, practical research is aimed at delivering results in the short term. Exactly what SMEs need. With the innovation traineeship, we’ll fulfill our role even better because, throughout the entire process, the research group of the university of applied sciences is closely involved.”