Preface edited by Ingrid van Engelshoven

Our modern society and its environments are changing rapidly. By stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation among students, teachers, researchers and leadership, our Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) can have a great impact on our changing society and economy. On behalf of the Dutch government I therefore welcome the partnership between the European Commission and the OECD in a series of country reviews on supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education.

This report shows that the transfer of knowledge from Dutch HEIs to society has evolved greatly over the last two decades resulting in new support structures for research collaboration and start-ups, the emergence of new job profiles in higher education, and a general awareness and growing recognition of knowledge exchange activities across all academic disciplines.

Most higher education institutions in the Netherlands provide learning environments that support the development of entrepreneurial mindsets and competencies of their students; most provide effective support to start-ups of their staff and students and many have leading entrepreneurship researchers on their staff. Furthermore the reputation and networks that their alma mater offers can help start-ups to access resources for business growth and connect with powerful regional entrepreneurial ecosystems such as StartupDelta.

However, there is still room for improvement. I am therefore very pleased that there has been significant engagement with the HEInnovate self-assessment tool and with the country review process, both by Dutch policy makers and Dutch HEIs. The review teams met with a wide range of Dutch national and regional stakeholders. The report ensues from this partnership and its recommendations offer valuable advice upon which public policy and higher education institutions can build for the introduction of new initiatives and further development of existing ones.

The timing of this review is excellent, as both entrepreneurship education and impact feature in the sector agreements I recently concluded with the Association of Research Universities (VSNU) and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH). The priorities and ambitions therein have been formulated for the coming years: universities have the ambition to enlarge their impact, among others, by scaling up their entrepreneurship education activities and by stimulating academic start-ups. In addition, the Dutch National Research Agenda, in which various complex societal challenges have been described, will give inspiration and direction to where fundamental research, practice-oriented research and impact conjoin.

The Netherlands is ready for the next steps!


Ingrid van Engelshoven

Minister of Education, Culture and Science

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