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Under a new initiative of the Dutch government, a budget of EUR 280 million has been set aside for introducing specific measures destined to boost and safeguard Dutch innovation in times of global economic crisis. This financial support schemes rests on two pillars.
Within the first pillar, the government welcomes joint proposals by companies and higher education institutions, designed to prevent researchers from losing their jobs in times of economic downturn. Under this scheme it is envisaged for knowledge workers employed by a particular enterprise to be temporarily ‘detached’ from the company in question, and ‘attached’, as researchers, to a higher education institution (HEI). The term for these arrangements is to be for a maximum of one and a half years, during which time the researcher remains officially employed by the respective company, while both the company and HEI are granted an allowance (from the allocated budget). Both the employer and the higher education institution must agree upon a research plan bridging academic, corporate and national interests, in the period of ‘detachment’. This is also a way of allowing young researchers, without prospects of employment, to participate in joint research projects.
A second pillar in this scheme is designed to protect the high-tech sector, with a budget of EUR 100 million (out of the 280 million) available for innovative research and development projects.
With this plan, the Netherlands aims to stay on top in the R&D and high-tech sectors, and to protect its position as a knowledge economy world-wide. The initiative has been received with great enthusiasm and numerous proposals have already been submitted.