Research of international statute contributes to prosperity and well-being
Dutch universities deliver research of international stature. Due to the high quality of Dutch research, the universities contribute to prosperity and well-being. This applies to both fundamental groundbreaking research and applied research. Moreover, science has an intrinsic value, as also endorsed by UNESCO in the 2017 ‘Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers’.
Science contributes to social objectives
Major societal challenges in the areas of energy, climate change, water, food, safety and care call for technological breakthroughs: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genetics, regenerative medicine and biomedical science. The accompanying diagram shows that Dutch universities contribute to the various sustainable development goals.
Scientists are successful in acquiring European funds
The funds scientists at Dutch universities acquire from Europe contribute directly to prosperity in the Netherlands. To fund their research, scientists from all over Europe submit grant proposals to the European Research Council (ERC). Scientists employed by the ERC assess the quality of the proposals. Only proposals of the highest quality are awarded a grant. The research proposals coordinated by Dutch research institutions are consistently rated very highly by the ERC. In terms of absolute numbers of ERC grants, the Netherlands ranks fourth behind only the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Three-quarters of the projects resulting from the grants culminate in major scientific breakthroughs that constitute the basis of our innovative capacity and contribute to the societal transitions facing the Netherlands (ERC, 2019).
Confidence in science is high
The fact that science not only is of economic value but also is essential for a democracy can clearly be seen in countries where the science system is less advanced. For this reason, UNESCO published the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (PDF) in 2017 and, from 2021 onwards, Member States will report on the extent to which they comply with these guidelines. One of the key indicators for a properly functioning science system is society’s confidence in science. In the Netherlands confidence in science is high. Moreover, society has confidence that science contributes positively to a large number of social themes.
Of all Dutch institutions, science enjoys the most confidence, followed at some distance by the judicial system, the unions, newspapers and television.