“Netherlands needs 1 billion per year to keep up in key tech”

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The Netherlands risks losing ground in high tech if the government doesn’t take action on key technologies, warns the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI). In a report presented Wednesday to the secretaries of Economic Affairs and Education, the council urges the government to start a national research program for every key technology, based on proposals from industry and public research organizations. Once established, these programs should be managed by an independent taskforce, eg leaving proposal reviews to experts. This approach requires an additional annual public investment of 0.5 to 1 billion euro annually.

“The government is currently not investing enough and in a too fragmented way,” commented AWTI council member Nienke Meijer, who recently stepped down as president of Fontys University of Applied Sciences. She laments that currently most of the choices made in innovation support are strongly influenced by vested interests and lobby work.

“The Netherlands still has a strong knowledge position, but other countries have been investing more, and more strategically,” said AWTI chairman Uri Rosenthal. “If we leave development and application of new technologies to these countries, we’ll depend on the choices they make.”

Examples of key technologies include AI, autonomous vehicles, hydrogen fuel, nanotechnology, photonics and quantum technology.