KNAW: “Austerity plans are bad for higher education and science”

KNAW: “Austerity plans are bad for higher education and science”

KNAW and De Jonge Akademie are extremely concerned about the cutback plans for higher education and science contained in the Main Framework Agreement of 16 May.

According to the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, this relates to five points. KNAW and De Jonge Akademie are asking the alliance partners to reconsider these cuts, which are not explained in the text of the mainline agreement. “It is bad for higher education and science and undermines the ambition to promote the knowledge economy.” KNAW and De Jonge Akademie announced that they would like to think with the new government about how to maintain the quality of higher education and science in the Netherlands. The text of the five points is as follows:

Discount on sector plans

This relates to a structural discount of €215 million. Concretely, this means that funding for the 1,200 contacts that have just been provided for a similar number of university lecturers will no longer be available. These staff are appointed to reduce the high workload and to ensure the quality of teaching and research. By first asking universities to hire several hundred staff based on allocated sector plan resources and then cutting the same resources less than two years later, the government is not showing that it is reliable.

Discount on the Research and Science Fund

This relates to a reduction of 150 million euros annually from the Research and Science Fund. This fund – with a total value of approximately €500 million per year – is used to structurally support independent research at university institutions and secondary schools in the region. And also to enhance cognitive security, Open science and social safety. These are all topics that have been agreed upon with the institutions.

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Cancellation of the final rounds of the National Growth Fund

The cancellation of the last two rounds of the National Growth Fund undermines the innovation capacity and thus the business climate for innovative companies in the Netherlands. It also affects the opportunity for knowledge institutions to work on innovative solutions to major societal challenges in the future in cooperation with private entities.​​​​​​​

Lack of funding for university institutions

University institutions will see a structural shortfall in funding in the years leading up to 2021, according to PwC calculations. Investments in sectoral plans, the Education and Science Fund and the National Growth Fund form part of an investment program to address this situation. In addition, important steps have been taken towards achieving Lisbon’s goals of investing 3% of GDP in knowledge and creativity.

also he met In these investments, the Netherlands still lags significantly behind neighboring countries. Cutting these investments means that the Netherlands is taking a complete U-turn. This means that this country is missing the opportunity to defend its prosperity and well-being and achieve the necessary social changes.

Restricting the open science system

Finally, the Association is deeply concerned about the reduction of the open international scientific system that has made Dutch science strong. For example, by making significant discounts for international students. This puts the business climate for international talent under severe pressure. International talent is starting to wonder if the Netherlands is still so attractive.

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