Research & development

Get to know the Research & Development expenditure and the important industries in the Netherlands

Research and development

At 2.0% of GDP in 2014, Research & Development expenditure in the Netherlands is modest from an international perspective (EU-average was 2.0% in 2014). However, this can partly be explained by the Dutch sector structure because the services sector, which ‘naturally’ has a low R&D intensity, accounts for a relatively large share of the Dutch economy. Public-private partnerships in scientific research are a major factor, and the Netherlands is ranked sixth worldwide in this area, according to the Netherlands Observatory of Science and Technology (NOWT).

Development of important industries

The Netherlands holds strong global positions in the Agri-Food, Horticulture, High-Tech, Energy, Logistics, Creative industries, Life Sciences & Health, Chemicals, and Water sectors. In order to strengthen these positions, the Dutch government has earmarked 1.5 billion euros for further development of the top sectors (40% private investments). For each of these nine sectors, businesses, together with the government and knowledge institutions, will create an agenda for action. Innovation contracts have been drawn up in 2012 as part of knowledge institutes’ research programmes, focusing on the top sectors. International missions will create international opportunities for Dutch businesses.

• The goal is to ensure that the Netherlands is in the top five knowledge economies in the world in 2020.

• Investments in R&D have to rise to at least 2.5 percent of GDP in 2020.

• The Netherlands has created a number of globally relevant and competitive technological top institutes (strategic partnerships between companies and research institutes and universities) and programs in innovation and R&D.

• In addition, Holland's R&D infrastructure comprises several independent research giants. Among these are the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, Philips Research (one of the world’s major private research organizations) and TNO (the country's largest independent applied research institute).

• The Netherlands scores well on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2015. According to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015 (IUS) the Netherlands ranks fifth in the EU (European Commission/UNU-MERIT, 2015).

• The Netherlands ranks third in the world in terms of citation impact score and second in the world in terms of number of academic publications per capita. Dutch science claims 2.6 percent of the global output of scientific publications. Dutch academia have an established reputation in various scientific disciplines, such as public health, economics, nanotechnology, food and nutrition, renewable energy, water, architecture and international law.