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VSNU: AWT and WRR reports: basis for future agenda

The advisory councils AWT and WRR stress the importance of investment in knowledge and innovation


The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (WRR)) and the Dutch Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy (Adviesraad voor het Wetenschaps- en Technologiebeleid (AWT)) have this week published inspiring reports with recommendations for guaranteeing the future quality of life in our society and for strengthening the earning potential of the Dutch economy. As part of this the WRR emphasises that a strong quality impetus in education is needed. The advisory councils stress the importance of additional investment in knowledge and innovation. VSNU Chairman Karl Dittrich: ‘Both reports are extremely inspiring and ought to serve as a basis for a stable future agenda for educational institutions, government and politics.’


The reports are based on national and international research and publications and on a large number of discussions about the sector with experts from that sector. On that basis, the government and the educational and research institutions are being called on to develop visions on the importance of education and research and its place in society. For the universities, that means further profiling, keeping an eye on differentiation in the student population and espousing research themes that have been prioritised in Europe and the Netherlands. Universities must also keep an eye on the developments and needs in other educational sectors. For that reason, universities are committed to getting more academics in front of classes in primary and secondary education. Karl Dittrich: ‘These recommendations tie in with our own future strategy and we will develop them further.’

The WRR has also made other significant and provocative comments about universities and knowledge institutions. One of those comments was that universities should seek greater connection with their surroundings. As far as education is concerned they believe that a broad, differentiated Bachelor’s degree should be followed by a two-year broad research-oriented Master's degree.

Both advisory councils stress the need for additional investment in knowledge. According to AWT and WRR, although politics formulates ambitious targets in the field of knowledge and innovation, in budget negotiations it treats education and research as a cost item instead of as an in-depth investment in our future quality of life.

The VSNU finds both reports very inspiring and will study them in greater depth. Karl Dittrich: ‘We hope to enter into discussion on all points in the coming years, both internally and with the outside world.’


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Ruben Puylaert


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