Fewer government funds will be allocated to academic research over the coming years. In 2013 and 2014, approximately € 6 billion was invested in research and innovation. By 2019, this will decline to € 5.5 billion. This is the conclusion of the Rathenau Institute. The decline is striking, because government is saying that it wants to invest more.

Indeed, the decline is not caused by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: universities are allocated slightly more funds, as is the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), which finances research. In 2019, the Ministry is expected to spend € 3.4 billion on Research & Development; in 2013 this was € 3.3 billion.

Cutting back on Grants

There are two other financing institutions that are spending less: the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. For example, they are cutting back on grants for innovation and on company tax benefits.

Direct, Focused and Indirect Funds

The Rathenau Institute has identified three distinct ways in which ministries allocate funds to innovation and research. The largest share goes to universities, universities of applied science, companies and organisations such as the NWO and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in the form of direct financing. In 2015, this ‘direct spending’ collectively represents almost € 4.8 billion.

Second, there is the focused spending on innovation; for example, grants for sustainable livestock farming. This amount is estimated at approximately € 137 million for 2015. The third category is the indirect spending in the form of tax benefits for companies engaged in research. This year, just over € 1 billion has been allocated for this. HOP