Research & Development

AWTI’s advice letter on Top Sector approach

The Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI) advises the Dutch government and parliament on policy in the areas of scientific research, technological development andinnovation. In 2014 AWTI wrote a report on the Balance of the Top Sectors and submitted it to the Dutch Parliament. The AWTI will publish a new report in 2016. However, in an advice letter to the government ministries it has already suggested some improvements.

‘Stay focused on the continuous development of the Top Sector approach’

First of all, AWTI starts its letter with an expression of appreciation for the increased MIT budget, greater involvement of the regions and universities of applied sciences, and the growing number of enterprises involved. The Top Sector approach addresses the economic growth and the societal challenges the Netherlands has to deal with. Attention for societal challenges like the aging population and climate change is growing each year.

Second, in addition to these societal challenges, AWTI emphasises the increasing attention for cross-sectoral themes. In response to AWTI's advice letter, Minister Kamp and State Secretary Dekker stated that Top Sector LSH's commitment provides good examples of cross-sectoral collaboration. For instance in close contact with Top Sector Creative Industry, Top Sector LSH addresses E-health for people with dementia.

Another example is the crossover with Top Sector High Tech Systems & Materials aimed at medical technology R&D. However, financing these and several other cross-sectoral themes seems to be difficult. The council therefore advises allocating such funding for the Top Sectors in larger portions to address a carefully chosen social issue. The Top Sectors will therefore need to choose their issues wisely. An example is the connection between Top Sector LSH and the Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport via the new Health Deals instrument launched by Minister Schippers on 16 November 2015.


Third, AWTI states that the TKI Allowance is not attractive for companies. AWTI therefore suggests simplifying the deployment of the TKI Allowance or increasing the TKI investment percentages from this instrument so that the TKI instrument, as well as its rules and regulations, are more attractive.


Over the next few years Top Sector LSH will work on these and several other focus points together with the AWTI.

Read the Letter of AWTI

Read the response of Minister Kamp and State Secretary Dekker