Manifesto Top Locations: National contribution for 10 national campuses
The central government must make a structural contribution to the (further) development of the campuses and science parks. These physical innovation ecosystems act as facilitators and accelerators of regional and (inter)national partnerships between knowledge institutions and companies. Campuses are indispensable for a successful innovation policy. This is what the directors of the ten largest national campuses write in the Manifesto of Top Locations.
“We are essential for innovation in the Netherlands, but this important physical component falls between two stools in current national policy,” says Bert Kip, chairman of the National Campuses Consultation. In the Manifesto, the ten campuses argue for joint government facilitation in five areas: shared facilities, accessibility, business development, acquisition and basic financing for campus organizations.
Number of jobs on top campuses growing faster
The Dutch campuses play an important role in the Dutch innovation landscape, according to a recent report commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. They act as magnets for start-ups and deliver a rapidly growing number of successful spin-offs. Currently, the 10 campuses and science parks account for 44,000 jobs at 2,000 companies. “They are focal points for solving societal challenges and innovations in the field of sustainability,” according to the report. Moreover, the campuses appear to be very popular among international knowledge workers. A recent publication by ASR also shows that the number of jobs on the 10 top campuses in the Netherlands is growing significantly faster than the average in the Netherlands.
Call: pursue an active policy at top locations
“Clear conclusions,” notes Bert Kip. “And sufficient reason for the central government to pursue an active top location policy. In the Groeibrief (Growth Letter) of December last year, the government indicated that it wants to invest in research and innovation systems, but we miss the attention for the physical component of the campuses. It is precisely here that speed can be accelerated, because all essential parties work together: the business community, knowledge institutes and governments. They are also the financiers of campus development, although that is not their primary task. In the Manifesto of Top Locations, we argue for a joint effort by the government.
100 million requested as core funding
According to the authors of the Manifesto Top Locations, a government contribution of 100 million euros on an annual basis to the basic financing of the campuses is necessary, as well as funds for shared facilities, such as labs and pilot plants, accessibility, business development and acquisition. The contribution could be distributed via the existing financiers or directly by the campus organisations.