The National Science Agenda (NWA) was launched on November 27th, 2015. The Science Agenda is the result of the government assignment to the knowledge coalition to develop a linking agenda for research in the Netherlands. The knowledge coalition consists of VSNU, University Medical Centers (NFU), KNAW, NWO, Association of Colleges, VNO-NCW, MKB-Nederland and the Institutes of Applied Research (TO2).
The Science Agenda is a dynamic database of the questions and knowledge partners involved in the questions, such as universities, institutes, Universities of applied science, civil society organizations and companies. The Agenda will continue to develop.
In the coming years, this Knowledge Coalition will take the Science Agenda as a starting point to establish new connections between the various partners and disciplines involved. The agenda will also contribute to further profiling and focus formation, as set out in the Science Vision 2025. Together, on September 15th 2016, the Knowledge Coalition presented an investment agenda aimed at the next coalition agreement. It supports a structural investment of €1 billion towards research and innovation. That investment consists of the following components: thematic investment called ‘Spankracht’, and strengthening the broad knowledge base and attracting and retaining talent called ‘Draagkracht’.
The National Science Agenda, as presented in 2016, is based on nearly 12,000 questions from society, which are categorized into 25 current social issues: the routes. Science and society work together to find solutions to these issues.
On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), NWO has been funding research under the National Science Agenda since 2018, including through an annual funding round for Research on Routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC). Here, interdisciplinary and knowledge-wide consortia can submit research proposals of a broad and innovative nature. The aim: to stimulate research and innovation in order to get closer to social and scientific breakthroughs. Interdisciplinarity is an important pillar in both financing lines.
Applicants are encouraged to look beyond borders: outside their field, outside their institution and outside their world. Collaborations between alpha, beta and gamma scientists and with companies and knowledge institutions outside the university (e.g. HBO, Deltacrest, Wageningen Research, Marin, NLR and TNO) are important conditions that a consortium must meet. This interdisciplinary and science-wide funding round aims to enable interdisciplinary research and innovation to achieve social and scientific breakthroughs.