Research at Dutch universities


Dutch science and academia do extremely well at an international level, even featuring among the top 1% worldwide. And yet compared to other European countries the Dutch government invests little in Research & Development (R&D). In order to attain the EU standard of 3% of Gross Domestic Product, an additional 1 billion euro, at least, needs to be invested in R&D.

The university milieu, the government and business have named a number of domains in which Dutch scientists and academics excel. These are the nine "Top Sectors": Agri and Food, Chemicals, Creative Industry, Energy, High Tech, Logistics, Life Sciences and Health, Horticulture, and Water. These sectors will be strengthened further over the coming years.

Knowledge valorisation
The social responsibility of the Dutch universities is three-fold. In addition to educating almost 250,000 students and carrying out high quality scientific and academic research, the universities are making this scientific and academic knowledge valuable to society. The Dutch term "valorisatie" translates into valorisation, a concept also referred to in an international context as “knowledge transfer”. Since 2000 valorisation has gained a prominent place on the European agenda. At the start of the millennium it even became an additional core task of Dutch universities, alongside education and research.

The various forms of valorisation differ widely. The extent of visibility for the outside world also varies. For example, valorisation comprises a varied spectrum of subjects: new enterprises that are created in collaboration with students and researchers, but also work placements, results from thesis projects or research commissioned by business. Traditional forms of valorisation often focus on economic marketing (patents, licences and spin-offs). Forms of social value creation (such as memberships of advisory committees, public lectures and training courses for the public sector) are, however, often less visible.