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Dutch research organisation calls for extra 433 million euro per year to support Lisbon

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is asking for an additional 433 million euro per year from the Dutch government, arguing that the money is essential to the country contributing to the EU's Lisbon objective of making Europe the most competitive econom...

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is asking for an additional 433 million euro per year from the Dutch government, arguing that the money is essential to the country contributing to the EU's Lisbon objective of making Europe the most competitive economy in the world by 2010. The NWO's current basic budget is 423 million euro per annum. The extra money would go towards three principal goals outlined in the strategy for 2007 to 2010: creating opportunities for researchers; consolidating strengths; and science for society. 'It's about time that the Netherlands invests in its best,' states NWO chair Peter Nijkamp in his foreword. Recognising that 433 million euro is a considerable sum, he calls it a 'vital investment [...] if we believe that our future is linked to the success of the Netherlands as a knowledge-based country'. Claiming that excellent researchers in the Netherlands often lack the opportunity to perform to their best and to profile themselves at an international level, the NWO wants to improve career perspectives with 'person-specific talent programmes'. The new strategy also foresees an increase in funding for 'adventurous research', creating state-of-the-art research facilities and attracting talent from abroad. Another aim is to consolidate strengths at national level, which the NWO sees as key to boosting Dutch research. The organisation would therefore like to develop 'national research initiatives'. These would be programmes with a budget of between 30 and 50 million euro, and would focus on scientific areas in which the Netherlands is a world leader. Another goal is to implement a sequel to the previous successful programme for investments in large research. Finally, under the heading of 'science for society', the NWO wishes to develop societally-inspired programmes by working together with government departments, the private sector and other public bodies. Furthermore, the strategy sets out plans to select Societal Top Institutes as instruments for innovative research into societal issues, and to increase researchers' awareness of knowledge utilisation.

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