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Brainport Eindhoven makes the new government a proposal

05 April 2017

Brainport Eindhoven has become a powerful engine of the Dutch economy over the past 15 years. As the centre of the knowledge-intensive manufacturing industry, the region is a significant contributor to economic growth, creates a lot of employment and plays a crucial role in solving economic challenges. Knowledge and talent are both essential fuels for this. Brainport Eindhoven is both keen and able to continue to play this role in the future, but more than that. Brainport Eindhoven is making an urgent appeal for collaboration with the new government. Over the next four years a 10.5 billion euro injection is needed, 8.4 billion of which must come from public monies. Only then can Brainport ensure that the Netherlands remains among the global leaders. Co-creating the future of the Netherlands.

This proposal is contained in the Brainport National Action Agenda, presented to parliamentary party representatives on Wednesday 5 April in the Mauritshuis in The Hague. A range of investments is needed.

  • Talent. To fulfil the demand from the knowledge-intensive industry, much more ‘dexterity and intellect’ are needed. We do this through radically innovating in our primary and secondary education and focusing on new skills: ‘future skills’, like programming and problem-solving approaches. Ongoing education allows employees to continue to be employable in a constantly changing job market. We want to double the number of technology and ICT students within intermediate and advanced vocational and academic education, and we appeal for the 30% (tax) riling for international knowledge workers to be continued.
  • Knowledge. Technology and innovation are the driving force for economic and societal growth. To remain an internationally leading player, the Dutch government must systematically invest at least 1 billion euros extra in research and development. Brainport can use this to make the Netherlands world market leader in photonic chips and accelerate breakthroughs in energy storage, thereby creating jobs and export opportunities for industry. Moreover, we are developing a new way of collaborating, ‘the Eindhoven Engine’, to get knowledge much faster to market.
  • Entrepreneurship. Brainport offers startups, rapid growers and large companies both scope and opportunity. Tax schemes for research and development, such as the WBSO, are essential aspects here and must be continued. Each year the technology companies located in Brainport invest around 2.5 billion euros in research and development, on the one hand by themselves but mainly in cooperation with knowledge institutes. The current innovation scheme helps achieve this but a huge acceleration could be prompted if the commitment from public monies could be increased from 25 to 50 per cent. To be able to maintain its role as industrial and technological incubator of the Netherlands in the next few decades, at least 500 million euros of risk capital is needed short term to spawn new industrial end producers. We also want to try to get at least 25 international companies to locate in Brainport each year.
  • Business setting. By improving accessibility and access to top locations, we can boost job market access from one to two million people. This is good for the competitiveness of companies and for the job opportunities for a large part of the Netherlands. A top priority in terms of improving international accessibility is a fast and direct intercity line linking the south of the Randstad–Eindhoven–Düsseldorf/Cologne. If you want to bind knowledge workers to you, you have to ensure they have a good residential and living climate. This requires considerable investments in the level of amenities. We cannot afford to wait until the moment that the system governing the financial relationships between the State and the municipalities has been reviewed. For this reason, we are asking now for an additional annual State investment to maintain the attractiveness of the level of amenities.

The Brainport National Action Agenda was presented on behalf of the Executive Board of Stichting Brainport by John Jorritsma (chair), Hans de Jong and Arnold Stokking. As representatives of the domains – government, industry and knowledge institutions – within the board, they underline the need for an extra boost for the future of the Netherlands.

John Jorritsma, mayor of Eindhoven and chair of Stichting Brainport

“International competition is fierce,” says Jorritsma. “To keep our good position, extra investments are an absolute necessity. Just look at the challenges the coming years will bring, in respect of the energy transition, health and mobility. Global issues in which we can be a rock here in Brainport Eindhoven. Only through ongoing innovation can we continue to make the difference.” A good innovation climate stands or falls by the residential and living climate. Jorritsma: “If expats have to choose between Eindhoven, Munich or San Francisco, then too often we miss the boat. We have to invest in cultural amenities, urban quality, infrastructure and accessibility.”

Hans de Jong, CEO Philips Benelux and vice-chair of Stichting Brainport

“Now is the time that it is vital to invest in innovation and technology for the future of the Netherlands. If we are to realise this, we must commit fully to developing talent for technology. Not only home grown but also international. To attract such talent to Brainport Eindhoven, we will have to invest heavily in the living climate and amenities. But we certainly cannot do that on our own. The national and regional authorities must join forces, which is why today we presented this Brainport National Action Agenda in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.” De Jong underlines the considerable value attached to talent in the Action Agenda. “Fort high-tech manufacturing in the Netherlands, talent development is crucial.”

Arnold Stokking, Director of Industry at TNO and member of Stichting Brainport

“For years Brainport has been the industrial and technological incubator of the Netherlands,” according to Stokking. “We develop products that have impact worldwide. We do that on the basis of our specific high-tech technology portfolio. A portfolio that is characterised by a self-creating capacity, generating again and again new applications to deal with societal problems.” Stokking refers specifically to two new directions: the use of photonics in chips and the development of new industrial solutions for energy storage. “One provides answers to the gigantic rise of energy consumption in data centres; the other ensures that when there is no wind and it is dark, sustainable power remains available. We have world-class knowledge in both fields.” The battle for the lead is intense. “Asia and America are not sitting back,” says Stokking. “If we don’t act, we will miss the boat. If we do act, then we can keep our place among the leaders. And certainly, if government, knowledge institutions and companies join forces in the way we so successfully do this in Brainport.”