Innovation according to the new cabinet - 27/10/2010

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In order to strengthen the competitive power of trade and industry, the new cabinet wants to implement a specific policy to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship, by stimulating cooperation between trade and industry, knowledge institutions and the government, amongst other measures. Innovation is of vital importance to all sectors of trade and industry with a view to product development and export. It’s the Dutch top-areas that one is focussing on, such as water, food, horticulture, high tech, life sciences, chemistry, energy, logistics and creative industry, with extra attention for the agro-food sector.

Therefore, innovation and Agriculture together have been subsumed under Economic Affairs. This choice, however, is not reflected in the budget. In spite of this choice, the regional economic policy of the national government is dropped and decentralised, and then it’s up to the regional development companies. Also the FES-fund [fund for economical structural strengthening] will not receive any further moneys and its unallocated part flows back to the National Treasury. In addition, a saving has been entered on the research budget of universities and colleges of higher education. We think these are a lost opportunities because especially in times when the economy is not going well, it is necessary to fully and anti-cyclically concentrate on innovation. It is a pity that this new cabinet does not give the right signal here.