Paul van Gerven
7 September

With the start of a new 20 billion euro investment fund, the Dutch government wants to increase public investment in R&D, among other things. The research boost aims to “reinforce existing research and innovation ecosystems, and start promising new ones,” write Finance Secretary Wopke Hoekstra and his colleague Eric Wiebes at Economic Affairs to parliament (link in Dutch). The fund will accept proposals from all scientific disciplines, including fundamental research.

At the launch of the National Growth Fund (Nationaal Groeifonds) Monday, Hoekstra and Wiebes explained that the overarching goal is to boost the long-term earning power of the Dutch economy, while also transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Apart from R&D, the fund will also invest in human capital development and physical infrastructure.

The initiative for project proposals lies with companies, entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and other organizations, while government departments will be responsible for their execution. An independent committee, supported by experts, will advise on which proposals should be funded. Among the ten committee members are ASML CEO Peter Wennink, ‘startup Prince’ Constantijn van Oranje, Institute for Advanced Study director Robbert Dijkgraaf and Robert-Jan Smits, president of the executive board at Eindhoven University of Technology.