Top sectors


Cooperation between universities and the business community is crucial for the innovative capacity of the Netherlands. It ensures the development of innovative products, services and applications.


The cooperation between Dutch universities and the business community has a long and internationally acknowledged tradition. Since 2011, this has taken place within the framework of the top sector policy (topsectorenbeleid). This policy revolves around cooperation between knowledge institutions, businesses the and government. The policy has greatly improved the contacts between universities and the business community in recent years. 


Universities are committed to this closer cooperation. Many dozens of researchers are involved in drawing up joint research agendas as part of top sector policy collaboration. The research carried out as part of these agendas addresses and resolves societal challenges. In addition, it strengthens innovation capacity and the Dutch economy. 


In late 2019, a knowledge and innovation covenant (KIC: Kennis- en Innovatieconvenant) was signed for 2020-2023. It sets out how the business community, the knowledge sector and the government work together on the selected priorities linked to societal challenges, key technologies and economic earning power. 


VSNU: also consider research unrelated to top sectors
VSNU realises the importance of the top sector policy and is therefore in favour of its continuation. It also supports societal challenges acting as the primary driving force for the top sectors. However, VSNU would also like to emphasise that fundamental research and research unrelated to the top sectors must also be given sufficient opportunity.