Minister Adriaansens: More money should be spent on innovation

Minister Adriaansens: More money should be spent on innovation

Dutch and European investments in innovation lag far behind those of the United States and Asian countries. “If we want to defend our European values ​​and find sustainable solutions now and in the future, we have to invest heavily in innovation,” says Economic Affairs Minister Micky Adriansens.

The minister hopes to be able to agree with the cabinet that the Netherlands will henceforth spend 3 percent of its national income on innovation. Last year, the government already decided to spend 2% of the national income on defense from now on.

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Adriaansens calls himself a “believer” on this point. Investing in innovation is the “best way” to achieve broad prosperity and sustainable economic growth. That is why, according to her, it is necessary to “continue investing in health care, education, and measures against climate change. Innovation also generates more income.”

Adriaansens said this when presenting €4 billion in government support for eighteen innovative new projects. She disagrees with Peter Haskamp, ​​director of the Central Planning Office, who is critical of the billion-dollar funds set up by the government for project grants. This is “money in search of a destination,” Hasekamp said this week.

This time, the €4 billion subsidy comes from the National Growth Fund, also known as the Wopke-Wiebes Fund. Between 2020 and 2025, this could drive a total of €20 billion for innovative projects. In recent years, 7.8 billion euros have already been provided in support.

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The government is adopting the recommendations of the Growth Fund Committee chaired by Rianne Letschert, Chair of the Executive Board of Maastricht University. Part of the promised 4 billion support is still “conditional”, because projects need to be better supported. For example, hundreds of millions of euros go into a project to reuse solar panels and a project to produce batteries with less important raw materials.

The money also goes to a project to reduce the workload of teachers in the classroom. That could get €160m in support, half of which is still conditional. According to Chairman Letschert, a number of projects were rejected “with regret”. For example, the “Language of the Future” project, which had a lot of potential. The consortium did not receive a subsidy because it did not include experts in education.

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