Chapter 3. Enhancing the organisational capacity of higher education institutions in the Netherlands

This chapter expands on the findings of Chapter 2 related to organisational capacity, funding, people and incentives. It provides a more in-depth discussion of the challenges faced with regard to the need to sustain valorisation and entrepreneurship through public funding, and a framework that shows how valorisation feeds into education and research, and how valorisation creates impact. It explores how regional networks can be strengthened and how to engage staff in contributing to this, and valorisation in general. The chapter presents various learning models and good practice examples.



Organisational capacity in the context of higher education institutions (HEIs) refers to the capacity to deliver on the demands for change (Ackerman-Anderson and Anderson, 2010). It is a strategic issue; operating effectively, while taking on board major changes, requires real capacity. The organisational capacity of an HEI drives its ability to deliver on its strategy. If an HEI is committed to carrying out entrepreneurial activities to support its core strategic objectives, then key resources such as funding and investments, people, expertise and knowledge, and incentive systems need to be in place to sustain and grow its capacity for entrepreneurship.

The higher education system in the Netherlands currently deals with the challenge of how to valorise the excellent knowledge produced in HEIs and research organisations. The indicators in the Innovation Union Scoreboard highlight the contrast between the quality of the research system, resulting in many top publications and doctorate graduates, versus a modest performance in terms of economic output. This points to the need to intensify the connection between research and development (R&D), innovation and entrepreneurship on the one hand, and science and education on the other. Several strategies and approaches have supported the need to generate greater engagement between the higher education system, the economy and society, including the top sectors policy (although it is seen as being mainly economically orientated), the Valorisation Programme and the newly established National Science Agenda (see Chapter 1).

A recent policy briefing document on valorisation; “Science with Impact”, produced by the Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science in January 2017, reviews progress in the area of valorisation within the HE system (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, 2017). The document describes recent positive developments in terms of engagement and valorisation, as well as future challenges, and highlights the need to:

  • place greater value on the social and economic impact of research

  • strengthen public-private partnerships

  • remove bottle-necks for academic startups

  • broaden and strengthen Knowledge Transfer Offices

  • make better use of regional networks

  • better monitor valorisation.

This chapter explores the views presented by various stakeholders in relation to the above themes and in the context of improving the engagement between the Dutch higher education system and both the economy and society. It became clear from the meetings with the majority of the HEIs visited that engagement and valorisation formed a critical element of their strategic plans, which is fundamental to ensuring the sustainability of the valorisation and engagement agenda going forward. Several examples of good practice and achievements in terms of valorisation, recommendations and learning models for consideration at both a national and institutional level are provided and referenced in the context of existing and emerging national policies and institutional practices.

Analysis and findings

Sustaining valorisation and entrepreneurship beyond 2018

Within the Dutch higher education system, engagement or third mission activities are more commonly referred to as valorisation. Valorisation has been defined as “the process of creating value from knowledge by making knowledge suitable and/or available for economic and/or societal use and translating that knowledge into competitive products, services, processes and entrepreneurial activity” (Chapter 1).

The Valorisation Programme, which was started in 2010, will be coming to an end in 2018. The last projects for which subsidy has been given will end in 2018. So far, HEIs could receive an amount of up to 50% co-funding for their valorisation plans up to a maximum of EUR 5 million on the condition that plans are carried out by a public-private consortium of partners (see Chapter 1). Funding issues are likely to arise in terms of sustainability. The expectation is that the HEIs will continue the funding for already established structures, support services and activities from their core budgets. Future policies supporting valorisation will need to consider how to ensure the sustainability of valorisation in higher education, for example, maintaining central funding for the valorisation central support offices and associated personnel as a minimum, in order to avoid overdependence on short-term project-based funding.

The Dutch Research Agenda, established in 2016 by a knowledge coalition including all higher education stakeholders, is expected to provide a strengthened framework for valorisation, entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education. Central elements are public-private and public-public partnerships, and interdisciplinary research funding focused on grand societal challenges. For HEIs to effectively contribute to the Dutch National Research Agenda, interdisciplinarity in the three functions of education, research and valorisation is essential. Examples of good practice were observed in all of the visited HEIs, however some departments still appear to be very inward looking and focused on competition with one another in terms of funding and recognition.

Future policies supporting valorisation would need to consider how to ensure the sustainability of valorisation activities, and how to improve the positioning of valorisation within the strategic priorities of all HEIs. It will also be important to stimulate and sustain regionally integrated approaches where HEIs partner with regional actors for valorisation and entrepreneurship activities; examples are the Centres of Expertise in the UAS and the recently promoted City Deals (see Chapter 4, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6).

In some HEIs, valorisation is currently perceived as lagging well behind the current main priorities in terms of importance; namely the quality of teaching and the development of research. To enable sustainability and greater synergies between education, research and valorisation across the Dutch HEI system, it will be important to adjust the funding allocation model to allow for recognition of valorisation activities and to reflect valorisation activities in the job descriptions and promotion regulations of academic and administrative staff.

In terms of sustainability, how institutional funding models continue to evolve and how staff are deployed within the HEIs will determine the success of existing and future engagement and valorisation initiatives. The interviewed HEIs supported the concept of changing existing funding models to further incorporate engagement and valorisation. They recommended taking an incremental rather than “big bang” approach so as not to impact negatively on the existing ecosystem within higher education, which has come to depend upon the current funding models.

As part of the visit, HEIs also raised the issue of proposed salary caps to be introduced for academic staff, which they believed will have a significant impact on the quality and experience of staff they will be able hire in the future, particularly staff with R&D and engagement experience. Consideration should be given to examining employment arrangements in other countries which may have been specifically developed to accommodate the hiring of staff with particular valorisation experience.

In the development of future policies to support valorisation and entrepreneurship in higher education, consideration needs to be given to the co-ordination of different policy actors. To build more and better synergies between the three core functions of Dutch higher education – education, research, valorisation – co-ordination mechanisms between the different ministries should be continued and strengthened. Valuable learnings come from Denmark and its Foundation for Entrepreneurship which brings together the efforts of different ministries (see Chapter 6).

Enhancing interdisciplinarity

Given future economic and societal trends, it is clear that engagement and valorisation activities will need to utilise and depend more upon interdisciplinary approaches in education and research. One of the most important requirements for human capital development in the future is the capability and capacity to work in multidisciplinary teams and to understand each other’s “languages”. This should be reflected in the organisation of the higher education system.

Several of the research universities and universities of applied sciences have started to stimulate interdisciplinary initiatives, primarily in research but increasingly also linked with education activities. Evaluating the impact and effectiveness of these approaches can help to clarify whether HEI-level initiatives are sufficient or need to be enhanced with national funding, or whether more flexibility is required for HEIs to establish (further) organisational support and allocate resources to introduce and sustain interdisciplinary research and education. To encourage transdisciplinary approaches, cross-faculty and multi-faculty funding models for joint programmes and initiatives need to be facilitated at a national level through, for example, specific competitive funding calls or a wider support programme; some of which is underway with the National Science Agenda (see Chapter 1).

The value of cross-cutting networks

The Netherlands is well regarded for its scientific output and technological developments in the area of life and medical sciences. The same situation is true for Flanders, hence stimulating cross border co-operation would be relevant. Jointly, the two regions could easily become the “Silicon Valley” of Europe in respect to medical science and innovation. The success of taking such a cross-border collaboration forward will depend on properly addressing a number of key challenges, namely i) strengthening links between academic hospitals and medical devices companies and ii) promoting interaction between medical schools and hospitals. Recently, these have been included in a European wide cross-border co-operation (EIT Health), with the participation of Leiden University, the University of Delft and the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

The importance of individual regions and the commitment of individual HEIs, as well as business and society stakeholders, to their region was clearly evident from the study visits. However, although there was evidence of immense individual stakeholder commitment to regional development, collective multi-HEI and multi-agency approaches to regional development could be improved. A start was made with the City Deals (see Chapter 5), however no funding has been assigned to these multi-stakeholder partnerships. The establishment of a strategic innovation fund could specifically promote multi-HEI and multi-agency approaches to progress the valorisation agenda in specific regions, thus creating regional networks of valorisation. An example of this approach is the Strategic Innovation Fund in Ireland.

As part of the Irish Government’s response to the OECD’s Review of Higher Education in Ireland (2004), the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) was launched in 2006 to support the enhancement of quality and effectiveness across the higher education sector (HEA, 2017). Specifically, the SIF was established as a mechanism for institutional restructuring and modernisation; for the enhancement of teaching and learning; for the development of postgraduate education and research; and for the improvement of equity of access into, and progression through, higher education. Inter-institutional collaboration has been a distinctive feature of the SIF, as has the leveraging of existing resources (through the match funding provided by participating institutions) to advance strategic national priorities.

One of the main success stories from the SIF initiative was the formation of the Shannon Consortium (Box 3.1), a multi-HEI regional consortium which has developed even further as part of the Regional Clusters and most recent Regional Skills initiatives introduced by the Irish Department of Education and Skills in 2011 and 2015 respectively.

Box 3.1. Shannon Consortium

The Shannon Consortium was created in 2007 involving the University of Limerick (UL) and the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), the two key drivers of the consortium, which has developed into a vibrant HEI partnership, also involving Mary Immaculate College, local community and businesses, city and county councils.

Leaders in both the Limerick Institute of Technology and the University of Limerick have given substance, at a strategic level, to their joint attempts to help address regional development issues and shared service opportunities. Their actions manifest themselves as jointly seized opportunities, strategic plan statements and public commitment to their region. In 2006, the joint bid to the Strategic Innovation Fund (an Irish government initiative), to establish a Shannon Consortium, arose directly as a result of the close personal working relationship between the presidents of the two HEIs. The Chairperson of the Shannon Consortium is a retired senior civil servant and former diplomat from Limerick City.

The excellent collaboration between the HEIs has led to a growing number of innovative joint activities in education and research. Examples are a combined graduate school and PhD accreditation (which commenced in 2015), collaborative springboard courses, as well as applied research activities and new, effective ways to enhance enterprise engagement (e.g. Limerick for IT). Sharing of rewards for joint supervision of theses is under discussion and there is a clear policy in place for students who wish to transfer from LIT to UL and vice versa after successfully completing the required amount of programme modules. “Limerick for IT” is an IT skills partnership which commenced in 2014 and combines the strengths of the two HEIs in partnership with key industry partners, such as General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Kerry Group, Limerick City and County Council and IDA Ireland. The initiative has facilitated the attraction of foreign direct investment and job creation, which has also led to new forms of collaboration between higher education and industry (e.g. Johnson & Johnson Development Centre). The “Limerick for IT” initiative has since expanded into engineering with the creation of the “Limerick for Engineering Initiative”.

The impact of the Shannon Consortium is significant. For example, the multinational company Northern Trust would not have chosen to locate in Limerick without the consortium being in place, which enabled fast response times to the development of staff training programmes, the provision of office space etc. This has led to 400 new jobs being located in Limerick.

Source: OECD/EC, 2017.

Significant evidence was presented of the HEIs’ capacity and culture to build new relationships and synergies across institutions and within their regions. Initiatives of note included those to increase joint strategic approaches to strengthen co-operation between HEIs and the region, which ultimately diminish long established practices of competition among universities and among faculties within the same university. The University of Amsterdam (UvA), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) have put in place initiatives to increase joint strategic approaches. The Amsterdam Economic Board, which includes the HEIs, the City of Amsterdam and key local industry stakeholders, helped to connect the HEIs with large businesses in the corporate world (e.g. TATA, Shell).

An example that offers valuable learning on the benefits and barriers of HEI-HEI collaboration is the Amsterdam Centre for Entrepreneurship (ACE), which is still a central player and key connector in the Amsterdam entrepreneurship ecosystem. ACE started in 2007, with the creation of a research chair in econometrics in UvA’s Faculty of Economics, which included the fractional position of business director. Thanks to very capable, connected and committed individuals a partnership was created in 2007 bringing together four HEIs based in Amsterdam, of which two were research universities and two UAS. This ambitious project is still going and has had successes and failures. There were many compromises in the process of trying to get four universities to work together. At a faculty level, it required a significant change of approach and philosophy to move from normal teaching practice to building a cross-institution collaborative offering, which is more complex. Individuals who are used to focusing on getting things done in their own institution can become frustrated and impatient. The collaboration process reveals unexpected challenges and differences in process, values and priorities. The resource needed to address these, including the time commitment of individuals, is often way beyond what is anticipated (HEInnovate 2017b).

Traditionally, strong research universities have competed with one another for talent, research funds and notoriety with the aim of moving up the various rankings. It is clear that such “traditional” behaviour, which inhibits the advantages of inter-university co-operation, needs to be addressed. This could be done through reward programmes involving more than one university. A learning model related to this issue is the FLAMES (Flanders Training Network for Methodology and Statistics) initiative designed by the Flemish Government to promote co-operation amongst universities. This particular initiative was specifically focused on doctoral education but it can be adapted for inter-institutional valorisation programmes. The Flemish government supports training on career development and transferable skills for PhD students and other young researchers through funding of the Doctoral Schools at the Flemish universities. The funding of approximately EUR 4 million per year is directed towards creating synergies through inter-university collaboration. The Flemish universities, through their umbrella representative, jointly organise courses involving the strategic research centres and the Flemish Supercomputing Centre. FLAMES, perhaps the most popular of these initiatives, required inter-university collaboration on a yearly basis involving several hundred participants. Similarly, the Humanities Faculty at the University of Leuven organised a series of interdisciplinary activities. Public funding is increased by 25% if the programme is interdisciplinary.

Sustainability and institutional funding of valorisation

Going forward, different funding approaches for the support of valorisation activities in higher education will need to be taken by the different types of institutions. In the case of research universities, existing funding models and sources of finance are better suited to supporting the these activities. However, consideration is needed on an eventual adjustment of internal funding arrangements to recognise valorisation activities in a similar way to how research activities are currently recognised by providing, for example, funding for specific competitive calls in valorisation which could be either teaching and learning or research orientated.

Education is considered to be the primary mission of the Dutch universities of applied sciences, however the valorisation agenda has steered the tailoring of education towards relevance and generated an even greater exposure to and connection with industry and society. Some very good examples of teaching and learning activities contributing to valorisation were observed as part of this review (see Chapter 4 and Chapter 6). This kind of synergy needs to be further sustained, which could be achieved, for example, through additional ring-fenced funding for the sector with a view to assisting with the expansion of its research and valorisation capacity.

An existing international model which could be considered is the Portuguese Programme for Modernisation and Valorisation of Polytechnics, which are similar in organisational nature to the UAS in the Netherlands. The programme provides ring-fenced funding for the development of practice-based research and development (R&D) activities (Box 3.2). The aim is to modernise the model of higher education in Portuguese polytechnics and to improve their perceived value by society. One of the programme’s five key axes is to reinforce the R&D activities of polytechnics, in particular their practice-based R&D activities.

Box 3.2. Portuguese Programme for Modernisation and Valorisation of Polytechnics

In May 2016, a call for funding of R&D activities of practice-based projects was launched, a first in Portugal, specifically aimed at polytechnic institutions, concerning challenges or problems relevant to their regions, and aiming for strong involvement of students in the activities of the R&D teams through consortia of different polytechnics. Projects were to be no more than 18 months long. The deadline for submissions was 30 September 2016 and 141 applications were submitted for evaluation.

The aim of this call was to promote practice-based R&D projects in polytechnics through the following objectives:

  1. To encourage the creation/mobilisation of multidisciplinary groups of researchers, teachers and students within polytechnics to identify and solve concrete problems with regional scope and relevance, emerging from the interaction with the relevant regional stakeholders or actors

  2. To foster the co-operation between polytechnic institutions and the economic, social and cultural sectors, facilitating professional knowledge transfer routines and skilled human resources

  3. To integrate skills and to enhance synergies in terms of opportunities and regional and national needs, bringing together teachers and researchers from different areas around a specific challenge or issue that enables R&D activities to solve and create opportunities for training and creation of professional knowledge, together with the students

  4. To support the attraction and continuous renewal of new teachers and professional experts in the polytechnic institutions, together with measures to promote high qualified jobs in different areas of science, technology and culture, enhancing regional and national networks of polytechnic institutions sharing human and material resources

  5. To encourage the participation in European networks of polytechnics to facilitate the internationalisation of the polytechnic institutions and the regions in which they operate.

Because previous experience in practice-based R&D is very limited in Portugal, as well as the design and evaluation of submissions for these kind of projects, several meetings and workshops were organised to allow for critical discussion of potential ideas for projects to be submitted to the R&D call, with the participation of experienced international scholars in the practice-based R&D field. Meanwhile, a programme of meetings, “Forum Polytechnic”, was launched. These one-day meetings were designed to present the experiences and competences of polytechnics to develop solutions in specific areas of professional knowledge and expertise and to discuss specific developments with companies and other societal actors, reinforcing thematic networks within polytechnics and their links with different stakeholders. Four meetings were organised during 2016, in different locations, on agro-industry and animal production, hospitality and catering, rehabilitation technologies and wellbeing, and sports and fitness. Ten more meetings were conducted during 2017. A total of EUR 17 million has been set aside to support this practice-based R&D initiative among Portuguese Polytechnics.

Source: Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal (2016).

Reflecting valorisation in recruitment criteria and staff development

Supporting valorisation and entrepreneurship in Dutch higher education has led to the introduction of different staff profiles and several HEIs have undertaken initiatives to broaden the career paths of their academic staff to enhance more flexible mobility of staff between different areas of the HEI (e.g. policy advisors, business developers, etc.). These approaches offer valuable learnings.

Highly qualified professionals, who are fully dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship activities, have well-defined and attractive careers with salaries that are partly funded from the HEI’s budget and not only from project-based funding. This ensures that people with relevant knowledge and skills remain in such functions at the HEI or within the higher education sector. All of the visited HEIs have established the position of a policy advisor to the executive board, which took over the role of local HEInnovate co‐ordinators. These positions seem to be crucial to allow the HEIs to contribute to national higher education policy making.

There are very promising examples of expanding current recruitment and promotion criteria to take into account experience in industry, business or societal environments, which would be relevant to valorisation and engagement activities (Chapter 2). Two examples are presented here.

Erasmus University Rotterdam supports staff members in various ways to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and behaviour. Staff members can participate in various trainings on negotiation, academic leadership etc. (some of which are organised together with the universities of Delft and Leiden), exemplary behaviour is recognised and achievements in valorisation and entrepreneurship are taken into account for recruitment and career development. The latter includes “initiative”, that is identifying problems and opportunities and taking appropriate action on own initiative, and “entrepreneurship” defined as identifying opportunities and possibilities for the development of new knowledge and areas of application for new research activities, acting accordingly and daring to take sensible risks when doing so. For entrepreneurship, the following behavioural indicators are suggested for the reviewer (i.e. staff and manager): looks for opportunities and possibilities; dares to take up new things; comes forward with new ideas for knowledge and areas of application, products and services; does research in marketing and environment; indicates which investments are needed in order to capitalise on market opportunities; and dares to take sensible risks in order to achieve specific advantages.

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) exemplifies the common approach of explicitly including valorisation activities as a substantial part of the job profiles of professors and senior lecturers/researchers. Since March 2016, new profiles are in place for professors, education/research officers, lecturers, and senior lecturers/researchers to reflect the AUAS’ mission and the evolving educational practice typical of a modern knowledge institution. The job profiles include the following objective for valorisation: to stimulate the development, production, dissemination, circulation and application of knowledge by involving external parties, lecturers and students in the professorship’s activities. Example activities are ensuring that knowledge is recorded and made available to third parties (internal and external) in a methodical manner by establishing a knowledge database or contributing to the body of knowledge and skills, and developing or co-developing sustainable formal partnerships.

Mobility of academic staff into industry and vice versa is an area for further development. Several HEIs have recently taken initiatives to broaden the career paths of their academic staff in order to enhance a more flexible mobility of staff to other areas, such as university administration and industry.

Measuring impact and influencing future policy

In terms of assessing the performance of HEIs, the Netherlands, similar to other countries, has implemented a performance agreement system with its HEIs. The principal focus of the first iteration of the system was on the development and implementation of the system itself and the identification of appropriate metrics and channels of communication. The next iteration of the quality agreements needs to be more specific in terms of rewarding success in the valorisation arena and should consider applying performance funding for HEIs achieving specific targets in this area. This is not an unreasonable approach given the proposed change in direction in the financing of higher education, with the introduction of a growing proportion of direct funding earmarked for quality and profiling.

It will be important to further anchor valorisation in the quality and performance agreements between the Ministry of Education and the HEIs to ensure that valorisation will not end up as a project-based initiative, but will remain connected with education and research. In this regard, funding issues in terms of sustainability are likely to arise following the completion of the current government-funded valorisation initiative in 2018.

Current expectations are that HEIs will provide the finance to guarantee the sustainability of the centres for entrepreneurship beyond 2018. However, given that entrepreneurial activity finances can fluctuate from year to year it would be wise to consider maintaining central funding for the valorisation central support offices and associated personnel as a minimum. The aim should be to provide basic funding for the HEIs to put in place support infrastructure and services that will further embed valorisation by building and strengthening bridges between education and research. Examples of good practice already exist (see Chapter 4 and Chapter 6), and lessons should be shared across the higher education system. In addition, the anchoring of valorisation in the quality agreements should also reward those who achieve their ambitions, without necessarily punishing HEIs for under performance.

Further anchoring of valorisation in the quality agreements requires metrics. There should not be a fixed number of valorisation indicators in the funding formula that drives the HEIs’ budget, nor a separate funding stream for valorisation, but an agreement that strengthens the connections between valorisation and education, valorisation and research, and research and education.

Qualitative statements and anecdotes are not sufficient to document these synergies and measure their impact, but they are a good starting point to build a common set of indicators. So far, the emphasis has been on documenting the result of valorisation activities. The current agreements stimulated HEIs to more clearly communicate activities and achievements in the area of valorisation. Going forward, more emphasis is needed on the valorisation phenomenon itself, taking into account that metrics always come with a context. What needs to be done next is to show how valorisation feeds into education and research, and how it creates societal (including economic) impact. The new performance agreements could incentivise and support HEIs to do more on understanding, capturing and measuring the processes, activities, results and impacts of valorisation. To be most effective, institutional efforts need to be integrated across the higher education system, for example through a national research programme and capacity building that shares information, and should build the skills and resources to measure impact.

As a starting point for institutional action, HEIs could examine the potential of using impact models for R&D activities developed in other jurisdictions, such as that developed by the University of Limerick (UL) and observed as part of the Irish country review. The UL Research Impact Initiative highlights best practice through a series of activities from case study development, training and skills development, PhD scholarships and external engagement events (Box 3.3).

Box 3.3. University of Limerick – Research Impact Initiative

The University of Limerick Research Impact Initiative is driven by the concept of measurable impact that research can have on society, culture and the economy. Impact can be academic, economic and societal. The University of Limerick strives to develop a reputation for delivering translational research that makes an impact on industry, society and the wider community. To achieve this, they have fostered a collaborative problem-solving approach to deliver real change for their wider network of stakeholders.

The Vice-President for Research has brought together groups of researchers from different faculties and worked with them in order to develop an understanding of “what” impact is and “how” it can be measured. This includes the preparation of case studies and anecdotes on the impact of some of the research and how and where this can be demonstrated, for example by translating research findings into practical guidelines and tracking the practical implications of using those guidelines on developments in policy design and implementation. Training is offered and templates are available to raise impact awareness and thinking when formulating research activities. All of its case study development material and completed case studies are publicly available.

Source: OECD/EU, 2017.


For the organisational capacity of HEIs to effectively address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century, it is essential to promote greater collaboration and, where appropriate, interdisciplinarity in education, research and valorisation. Evidence of promising and proven approaches were observed in all HEIs visited. However, some departments/faculties appeared to be very inward looking and focused on competition with one another in terms of funding and recognition. Revised institutional funding models could help to overcome this and reward interfaculty collaboration.

The current public funding for valorisation is likely to undergo a significant change with the approaching end of the Valorisation Programme. To ensure that valorisation will not end up as a project-based initiative, but remain connected with education and research, it will be important to further anchor valorisation in the quality and performance-related agreements between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the HEIs. In this regard, it will also be important to add to existing funding models across the sector a minimum allocation of funding to cover the basic infrastructure and staff costs currently in place, which support valorisation, in order to avoid dependence on temporary and time limited project-based funding. To build more and better synergies between the three core functions of Dutch higher education – education, research, valorisation – co-ordination mechanisms between the different ministries should be continued and strengthened.

Clearly evident through the study visits was the importance of individual regions and the commitment of individual HEIs, business and society stakeholders to their regions. However, although there was evidence of immense individual stakeholder commitment to regional development, collective multi-HEI and multi-agency approaches to regional development could be improved. The establishment of a strategic innovation fund could be considered to specifically promote multi-HEI and multi-agency approaches to progress the valorisation agenda in specific regions, thus creating regional networks of valorisation.

In terms of sustainability, how institutional funding models continue to evolve and how staff are deployed within all HEIs will determine the success of existing and future engagement and valorisation initiatives. Going forward, different approaches will need to be taken by the different types of HEIs in terms of funding. More could be done to reflect engagement and valorisation activities within recruitment criteria, staff contracts, and promotional processes. There are already good examples to learn from (e.g. Erasmus University of Rotterdam and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences).


Ackerman-Anderson, L.S. and D. Anderson (2010), The Change Leader’s Roadmap: How to Navigate Your Organisation’s Transformation, 2nd ed., Wiley, San Francisco.

Higher Education Authority of Ireland (2017), “Strategic Innovation Fund, 2006-2013”, published online, (accessed 30 April 2017).

OECD/EU (2017), Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education in Ireland, OECD Publishing, Paris/EU, Brussels,

Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal (2016), Programa de Modernização e Valorização dos Institutos Politécnicos [Programme for the Modernisation and Valorisation of Portugese Polytechnics], published online, (accessed 19 August 2017).

Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (2017), Wetenschap met impact [Science with Impact], Letter to Parliament, dated 19 January 2017, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, The Hague.

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