Universities themselves will have to find the money to implement the National Research Agenda. They will have to cough up €87 million per annum to fund research called for under the Research Agenda, according to answers provided by the government in response to written questions about the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science’s budget.

The idea behind the National Research Agenda is to identify the concerns and interests of Dutch people, so as to arrive at a list of questions which may inspire scientists.

Dutch universities have indicated a wish to receive more money in order to meet the requirements of the Science Agenda. ‘Without financial resources, the agenda won’t be anything but a symbolic wish list,’ VSNU Chairman Karl Dittrich stated not too long ago. For her part, Beatrice de Graaf, who co-chairs the National Research Agenda with Alexander Rinnooy Kan, was quoted as saying almost the same thing in Erasmus Magazine. ‘Science really needs to have more money allocated to it, and I think the Research Agenda may be able to show that.’

Universities are to find funds themselves

It has now been announced that there will be no additional funding. Universities will be required to fund the research the Research Agenda calls for themselves. And not only that, but they will have to dedicate 4 to 5 percent of their research budget to these projects, the government wrote in response to written questions about the national budget. This amounts to €87 million per annum.

To be exact: the Ministry of Education shall be entering into agreements with the various educational institutions regarding their efforts on behalf of the Research Agenda. €87 million annually shall be earmarked to ‘support’ these efforts.

Presenting one’s university in accordance with the Science Agenda

De afgelopen jaren moesten universiteiten aan hun eigen ‘profiel’ werken in het kader van de prestatieafspraken met het ministerie: twee procent van hun financiering werd ervan afhankelijk. Nu moeten ze de prioriteiten in de Wetenschapsagenda “verbinden met stappen in hun profilering”.

Eerder hield minister Bussemaker zich iets meer op de vlakte. In haar wetenschapsvisie schreef ze slechts dat de Nationale Wetenschapsagenda “een belangrijke rol” zou krijgen bij de ‘profilering’ van universiteiten.

Funded with dissertation bonuses

The research will be funded from the bonuses universities used to receive for completed dissertations. Since more and more students are obtaining their doctorate, such dissertation bonuses are making quite a dent in the research budget. From now on, the amount of dissertation bonuses awarded to each university will be capped, and the money that is no longer allocated to bonuses will be used to meet the requirements of the Research Agenda. This will amount to 4 to 5 percent of the total research budget.

The National Research Agenda will be presented at the end of November.