The relationship between public and private research funding

In September 2017, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science adopted a motion put forward by the House of Representatives asking the Government to ‘investigate whether and to what extent ties between publicly financed research and enterprise reduce incentives for businesses to invest in research and development themselves.’

One of the points made in the motion is that cooperation between universities and businesses is praiseworthy but should not lead to private investment becoming superfluous. The Minister subsequently asked the Academy to study this matter within the context of its advisory role.

Purpose

The advisory report will answer such questions as:

  • Are businesses in fact reducing their investment in research? And do they possess sufficient expertise to be able to absorb the knowledge generated by universities?
  • Is there a relationship between the size of business investment in research and development and the scale of public funding earmarked for research and innovation?
  • Across what timescale are trends unfolding?
  • And do trends in the Netherlands differ from those in other countries?

The Academy will consider what advice can be provided, based on the results of its study.

Tasks

The Academy will base its report on available research; it may also carry out or commission additional research. Because the motion also touches on business policy, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Academy will consult both the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate during the study.

Committee

The Academy Board has installed the Committee on the Relationship Between Public and Private Research Funding to produce this advisory report.

Term

The final report is expected to be ready in September 2018. The Committee will discuss its provisional outcomes with the Ministry of Science (and Economic Affairs) before the summer, in view of the interim evaluation of the Government’s strategic science policy (Vision for Science 2025).