The Netherlands is among the richest nations in Europe, but R&D spending remains stuck at 2 per cent of GDP. Erik te Roller asks whether a proposed multi-billion-euro fund will fix the problem.
In 2010 the Dutch government agreed with the EU to increase its research intensity to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2020. Despite the lofty promise, neither the government nor the business community committed more money to research and innovation. Now change is in the air.
This year the government will issue an agenda for economic growth and at the beginning of next year it plans to set up an investment fund potentially worth tens of billions of euros. Not all of this treasure chest will go to R&D—most of the money may be spent on public infrastructure projects—but the resulting growth may enable the Netherlands to maintain its prosperity.