On July 7, the advisory report of the Expert group on Governance of Dutch water technology research was presented to Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, by the chairman of the Expert group, professor Gerard van der Steenhoven. According to the expert group, an adequate knowledge infrastructure and good cooperation between knowledge institutions is essential to further strengthen the Dutch water technology sector. In this light also a solution for long term financial continuity of Wetsus is called for (more info) The State Secretary acknowledges this and stresses that solid cooperation is needed to have impact on societal challenges.
The advisory report shows that the Dutch water tech sector is a flourishing and knowledge-intensive sector with more than 1,000 SMEs, an annual turnover of approximately 8 billion euros and a total of almost 35,000 employees. In the period 2012-2017, the Dutch water technology sector developed strongly through export and technological innovations, with an SME growth of approximately 13% and the start of 60 new SMEs.
With high-quality innovations, the Dutch water tech sector makes an important contribution to social challenges and to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. The success and innovative character of the Dutch water technology sector is partly the result of the public-private partnership of SMEs with 12 university groups and knowledge institutes that conduct excellent water technology research, according to the report.
For the financing of the entire sector, the expert group advises TKI Watertech to structurally involve the ministries of I&W and LNV in the long-term planning of water technology research and to focus on more structural research funding from central government.
For the financing of Wetsus, the expert group advises to the various stakeholders, including central government, universities and NWO, to make long-term funds available for Wetsus. This because of the quality of the research, the prominent position of Wetsus in national and international water technology research and the added value of Wetsus for the Dutch water technology sector are assessed positive in various evaluations and are endorsed by the expert group.
The State Secretary has invited Wetsus for a meeting to discuss the next steps for its funding.