KNAW (Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), NFU (Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres), NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), Vereniging Hogescholen (Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) and VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) are extremely happy with the successful completion of negotiations relating to Horizon 2020, the new EU framework programme for research and innovation. In the period 2014-2020, the EU will invest over 70 billion euros in science and innovation. Excellence is the most important selection criterion. Open Access for publications will be hugely encouraged within Horizon2020, which is fully in line with our national policy. A challenge has been issued to the business sector and knowledge institutions to collectively devise solutions to societal issues prevalent throughout the whole of Europe. In this regard, the balance and connection between fundamental, practical and applied research is vital. In the Netherlands, many people have worked extremely hard to realise this wonderful achievement.
Grand societal challenges
Horizon2020 will enable a bridge to be built between the grand societal challenges and our research and scientific fields, including the top sectors. Instruments aimed at connecting national research programmes include Joint Programming, the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), the FET Flagships and the European Innovation Partnerships, amongst others. One example is demonstrated by the top sector Life Sciences and Health (which also includes elements from the top sectors of Agrofood, Creative Industry and HTSM). This sector is currently developing an action plan to tie in with the societal challenge of Health, Demographic Change and Well-Being.
Social sciences and humanities
KNAW, NFU, NWO, TNO, Vereniging Hogescholen and VSNU are also very pleased that Horizon2020 devotes special attention to social sciences and humanities, as research in these sectors is of great importance to the future of Europe as a political, cultural and economic union. It is also a precondition for the development of Europe into a successful knowledge society that can easily match up to any other world power. These disciplines must play a role within all grand societal challenges.
The Dutch knowledge institutions, together with the Dutch government, have strongly advocated a cost model with the option to claim based on actual costs (a full-cost model). The European Parliament, and people such as the reporter Christian Ehler in particular, have supported this model until the last. This eventually resulted in a flat rate for both direct costs (max. 100%) and indirect costs (25%).
Dutch investments in research pay for themselves. The groundbreaking research results of today are the fruits of investments made 10 years ago. The continuity of investment in research and innovation is therefore of vast importance within the current economic climate. The Netherlands has historically been a very successful participant in EU knowledge programmes. Given the development of a European research agenda, access to European funds is extremely important. On top of all this, Horizon2020 also offers the Dutch research field a wealth of opportunities via close connection with the national research system.