Dutch government is spending less on R&D, says science institute

Government investment in scientific research and innovation will fall from €4.5bn this year to €4.1bn by 2018, according to the Rathenau Institute, which studies Dutch developments in science and technology.

The institute says the decline is due to the closure of special funds – known as FES programmes – set up in the 1990s to stimulate R&D.The Fes funds were based on natural gas income but the money is now being diverted elsewhere.

Direct spending on R&D will fall from 0.79% of GDP in 1999 to 0.65% by 2018, the institute, which looked at spending across all ministries, said.

Taking indirect investment – such as tax breaks – into account, investment has been relatively stable at 0.89% of GDP until recently, but will go down to 0.8% in 2018 because of cutbacks.


Earlier this month, the European Commission said the Netherlands dropped one place to 6th in the latest European innovation index.

The Netherlands scored well on innovation until 2013 when investment by companies and government in research and development dropped sharply, the Commission said.

The government’s scientific research council WRR recently criticised government policy on innovation, saying there was little attention being paid to the question of where money would be made in the future.

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