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Dutch universities are fuelling up a healthy spirit of competition. The need to compete particularly with rising Chinese and Indian universities was an aim expressed by all academics and politicians at the beginning of the new academic year. The Dutch government is proceeding to action and will start series of reforms which should enhance the competitive character of the Dutch universities.
Minister of Education, Ronald Plasterk, announced he will take out 100 million Euro of direct financing for university research and trust it to the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The universities and researchers will now have to compete with each other to get a share of the budget. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has already expressed concerns over job losses in the ministry and both parties have subsequently reached an agreement to phase the reform in and gradually transfer the funds over the next years. The ministry is also debating a proposition by the Council of Education to make an extra 150 million Euro available to programmes earning high scores from evaluation bureaus. A strategic agenda regarding the reforms in funding of higher education institutions will be published later this fall.