Mona Keijzer receives Manifesto Campus Development
On Monday 28 September, State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs responded positively to the call from the 10 largest science parks and innovation campuses in the Netherlands to invest in the physical aspect of innovation: top locations where research and companies literally meet. Mona Keijzer responded to the manifesto by agreeing that precisely these times of working from home have shown us that human encounters are important for innovation. She also complimented the Top Locations on the fact that they have joined forces and on their timing. Of course, she could not make concrete commitments about the Growth Fund, but she did indicate that this subject certainly deserves attention. She also understood the wish of the Top Locations to have more coherence in the policy around campus development.
Earlier this year, the 10 campus organisations joined forces and drew up the Manifesto of Top Locations, in which they called on the government to make campus development a government policy and to invest in the further development of these top locations. Nowadays, campuses are often financed regionally, and it is precisely those things that are of great added value for creating encounters and innovation, such as shared facilities and business developers, that prove difficult to finance. The accessibility of the campuses and parking is also often a problem.
On the other hand, the campuses are very important for the potential earning capacity of the Netherlands. Often, knowledge from the universities on these campuses is actually converted into new products and companies. The growth in employment on the campuses, at 22% between 2014 and the end of 2018, is therefore considerably higher than the national average. The campuses are a proven ‘job engine’.
The campus organisations play a facilitating role in the background. The chance encounter and building of ecosystems may seem self-evident and almost automatic, but it requires specific attention and effort from the campus organisations. These efforts also need to be financed.
Kennispark: law of the inhibiting lead
State Secretary Mona Keijzer visited one of the 10 top locations: Kennispark Twente. With more than 400 companies, she started the largest and oldest campus of the ten in 1980. But also those with great challenges to make the Kennispark attractive for the establishment of new companies and the retention of talent. “We are troubled by the law of the inhibiting lead”, says area director Anne-Wil Lucas. “There are major challenges in making the Kennispark an innovation campus that meets today’s requirements. Where living, working and recreation are combined and where meeting and connecting businesses, students and researchers is central. Kennispark is not only important for the University of Twente and the municipality of Enschede, but for the whole of Twente and the Netherlands as a whole. This is where, for example, solutions are developed to help keep healthcare affordable and where materials and machines are developed that bring sustainable transport within reach. It is therefore a good thing that we are jointly investing in the future of our campus”.
The 10 top locations are: Amsterdam Science Park, Brightlands Chemelot Campus, Campus Groningen, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Kennispark Twente, Leiden BioScience Park, TU Delft Campus, TU Eindhoven, Utrecht Science Park and Wageningen Campus.
The full manifesto can be read at www.topcampussen.nl.