Amsterdam Science Park nets €25 million in grants

In 2016, Amsterdam Science Park’s research institutions gained a total of €25 million in new grants. The awards reflect the leading-edge nature of the research conducted by the the grant recipients – Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), Nikhef, AMOLF and ARCNL – says CWI’s Jos Baeten. “To obtain a grant, it’s increasingly important to offer something unique,” he explains. “Our success rate here at the park is high because we are all at the top of our various fields, with some of the world’s best researchers.”

Grants play a vital role for research institutes. UvA’s Faculty of Science dean, Peter van Tienderen, says they account for up to 40% of his institution’s research funding; for CWI, it’s as much as one-third. “Basically, grants allow us to invest in people,” says Jos Baeten. “Quite simply grant money means hiring researchers.” 

2017: best year yet?

While most grants currently come from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), grants from the European Commission also play a prominent role. “This year at CWI we have a first, a €2.5 million grant from the European Research Council [ERC],” says Baeten. “This goes to Robert Cramer, a researcher in cryptology, which is an important area for us.” While 2016 was a good year for grants, he notes that, in the case of CWI at least, 2017 looks better still: “It might turn out to be the best ever,” he notes.

Jos Baeten: “Our success rate here at the park is high because we are all at the top of our various fields, with some of the world’s best researchers.”

Peter van Tienderen agrees that information sciences are an important area for attracting research grants. “Artificial intelligence and data security projects are currently important recipients of funding,” he says. In addition to excellent research, he points out that good support is essential for making successful ERC grant applications: “UvA is top of the list of university recipients of grants, partly due to the support of Innovation Exchange Amsterdam [IXA], which  helps us prepare grant proposals,” he says.

Peter van Tienderen: “Collaboration comes easily to us at Amsterdam Science Park as our institutes are largely complementary.” 

Collaborative strength

Naturally, the various Amsterdam Science Park institutions also gain from sharing knowledge and expertise among each other – with key research figures often playing a role in multiple institutions. In one current example, the Quantum Software Consortium – a joint initiative of QuSoft Amsterdam, UvA, CWI, VU, QuTech and TU Delft and Leiden university – is sharing an €18.8 million grant from the Dutch government for its pioneering work on quantum software. “Collaboration comes easily to us at Amsterdam Science Park as our institutes are largely complementary,” says Peter van Tienderen. “The opportunity is always there to succeed with joint projects. ”

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