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09/11/2012Firms warn government on innovation cuts: we won't fill the gap
Companies do not plan to fill up the gaps left by the government’s €110m cut in innovation subsidies, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Friday.
Firms in sectors considered essential for innovation, and experts from knowledge institutes warn support for the projects is ebbing away, the paper says.
‘Making plans is all well and good, but if things continue as they are, nothing will come out of them,’ Rob van Leen, head of innovation at chemicals group DSM, told the paper.
‘Why should international companies fill the funding gaps left by the government if they can carry out the research more cheaply overseas?’
The €110m reduction in government money for innovation is ‘a dramatic worsening’ of the situation, Van Leen said.
Jacques Joosten, director of the Dutch Polymer Institute, said companies are more reluctant to get involved in research projects.
‘Companies are being confronted with worsening regulations and are less willing to join in,’ Joosten said. ‘We are currently in transition until 2016 but I can see major problems after that.’
The government launched its ‘top sector’ strategy in 2010 with the aim of focusing on nine key areas.
But earlier this year, a report by the the TNO research institute and the Centre for Strategic Studies in The Hague said the Netherlands is falling behind the rest of the industrialised world when it comes to innovative industries.
While still investing considerably in knowledge-intensive industries, fewer people in the Netherlands work for innovative firms, the report stated. In addition, start-ups are less likely to survive than in surrounding countries.
A report by the national statistics office CBS in 2011 showed the Netherlands spends 0.88% of GDP on research and development, compared with an EU average of 1.25%.
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