Out of a total of 66 billion euros awarded by the European Commission via Horizon 2020 in recent years, over 5 billion went to Dutch scientists. Every euro invested by the Netherlands yielded approximately 1.70 euros in return. Our country takes sixth place in the list of EU member states that received the most money.
In the coming seven years, a total of 95.5 billion euros will be made available for the new research and innovation programme Horizon Europe. According to Minister of Education Ingrid Van Engelshoven and State Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs) “all preconditions” have been met for Dutch success to continue.
For example, the budget for the ERC research council is set to increase from 13.1 billion to 16 billion euros. This programme component provided Dutch participants with most of the funds.
According to the Ministers, another thing that “fits in well with the Dutch objective in the negotiations” is that, in the coming seven years, 3.3 percent of the budget will be allocated to improve participation of scientists from central and eastern European countries. Until now, scientists from these countries have been less likely to obtain European grants, meaning they have fewer opportunities to gain research experience which, in turn, leads to them having an even harder time getting a foot in the door later on.
Dutch ERC vice president and professor Eveline Crone also warned about this vicious cycle in a recent interview with HOP. Scientists in one country are not somehow smarter than those from other countries, she stated, so something needs to be done to right this wrong.
Getting the Horizon Europe budget off the ground was challenging. Last summer, many member states including the Netherlands budgeted a much smaller amount for the programme than originally stated. Hundreds of European universities were outraged and launched a campaign in protest. Ultimately, several billions more were made available at the end of last year.
The Minister and State Secretary are pleased with the new programme. They had previously described the agreement as a “balanced compromise” in which all countries were required to give and take.