Home Education Higher Education Institutions in the EU: Between Competition and Public Service
Interim Conclusion on the Netherlands
Overall R&D spending in the Netherlands as decreased between 2004-2008, but steadily increased since. Public sector spending has steadily increased and private sector spending, despite a dip in 2009, is now on the highest level of the last 15 years. The private sector provides most research funding and conducts most of the research. HEIs are the most important public research organisations. As well as research in the NWO, KNAW, institutes affiliated with ministries and more applied research organisations, there are a variety of collaborative research organisations which are publicly funded.
As a consociational system there are many actors involved in policy setting and implementation. Recent policy aims included mobilisation of the private sector, creating excellence, setting priorities and coordinating policies. This has led to a variety of policy programmes aimed at establishing elite institutions, supporting priority areas and increasing performance. The programmes have, due to the consociational character of the system, however, rather increased cooperation (e.g. in consortia) than competition and to some extent have led to a very confusing system with a large variety of actors and collaborations.
HEIs still receive most of their research funding from public sources. About 43 % of their funding is provided generically in the eerste geldstroom which only involves limited recourse to competitive factors. However, the importance of the tweede and derde geldstroom (respectively vierde geldstroom if purely philanthropic) is growing. This has been regarded as problematic inasmuch as it might cause constraints for the academic freedom. Additionally, with the increase in the tweede and derde geldstroom ‘matching’ became a problem which, combined with the requirements of EU Framework Programme 7, led to the introduction of full costing systems and legislation reinforcing EU state aid rules at least for collaboration with the private sector.
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