Dutch Cabinet launches €200 million plan to improve work conditions in higher education
The government allocated 60 million euros this year to higher education institutions to improve cooperation within the various sectors of science and thereby reduce the workload. The money comes from the previously announced 200 million euros annual investment into higher education sector plans. The remaining 140 million euros will follow in the spring of 2023, Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf of Education, Culture, and Science announced.
This first investment will go towards better collaboration in social sciences and humanities, science, technology, and medical sciences. “We have so many institutions in the Netherlands that provide fantastic education and do research. However, sometimes we have to collaborate even more and dare to make choices about what we will do where and by whom,” Dijkgraaf said. “Because not everyone has to do everything. This way, you have the right knowledge in the right place and remain at the forefront, also internationally.”
The Minister decided to advance 60 million euros of the 2023 structural investment based on advice from the committee set up to oversee the higher education sector plans, NCSP. The advance should address the most urgent bottlenecks for higher education as quickly as possible.
According to the Minister, the sector plans should improve cohesion and cooperation between education and research and improve the working conditions in higher education by reducing the workload and creating more room for permanent contracts. Instead of all institutions focusing on the same research, the higher education institutions can make agreements about which pursues which direction of study, creating more capacity. “In this way, the Cabinet, in collaboration with the universities, is increasing the quality of education and research.”
The technology sector plans focus on societal challenges like energy and sustainability, water, and food. The medical sciences plans focus on prevention, data-driven innovation, and the chain from research to application. The beta sciences focus on climate, energy, health, and biodiversity. And the social sciences will look to collaborate more in an interdisciplinary program on prosperity, participation, and citizenship in a digital world.