Dutch Research Agenda

The Dutch Research Agenda summarises all the key scientific questions and themes to which Dutch researchers can make a major contribution. It describes what the Dutch research community believes it should be concentrating on in the years ahead. Although there are other research agendas, many of them focusing on socially relevant issues, this is the only one that concerns questions of a scientific nature.

What is the 2011 Dutch Research Agenda?

In 2005, the journal Science explored 125 big questions that face scientific enquiry over the next quarter-century. How do things stand today, and, more specifically, in what areas can Dutch researchers make important contributions? By developing a Research Agenda, the Academy aims to identify forty to fifty key questions in which the Netherlands can play a leading role. 

The Research Agenda is primarily a list of “big questions” that have researchers “in awe”. The implicit message is that money invested in tackling these questions would be well spent, but the Academy does not give any explicit advice in this regard. The Research Agenda is an independent Academy publication that will be updated regularly. Eventually, it can serve as an authoritative, high-profile instrument for policy-making in science.

Who is the Dutch Research Agenda for?

The Research Agenda is primarily intended for policy-makers in science (politicians, senior civil servants, university administrators, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). It shows that researchers are themselves capable of identifying what is important and what the Netherlands is good at.

Much of the focus of research in recent years has been on socially relevant issues. The Academy supports that, but does not wish the Netherlands to lose sight of questions of a scientific nature. The Academy is the obvious party to express views driven by the interests of science.

The research agenda is also an implicit guidepost for investment, in whatever form it takes. It can furthermore help policy-makers take decisions about science-related matters.

Who is responsible for compiling the Agenda?

The Research Agenda is compiled in consultation with all the members of the Academy and advisory councils – more than five hundred of the Netherlands’ leading researchers who together represent the entire spectrum of scientific endeavour.

Activities and plans

The Agenda was published in May 2011.