The Netherlands is amongst the leading countries in the European Union (EU) concerning the capacity of higher education institution (HEIs) to create value for the economy and the society, according to the HEInnovate OECD/European Commission report “Supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education in the Netherlands” launched on 1 October. The findings of the report illustrate very well the value of public investment in higher education, at a time when public investments are under scrutiny in all countries, and policymakers need to do “better with less”.
The OECD and the European Commission have undertaken a country review to assess both the strategies and practices of HEIs in the Netherlands to foster entrepreneurship and innovation and the public policies supporting them. As part of the review process, a team of international experts under the leadership of the OECD have visited nine Dutch Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), University of Amsterdam (UvA), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA), HAN UAS, Maastricht University, Rotterdam Erasmus University, Rotterdam UAS, Twente University, Utrecht University.
The report is presented by Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven; OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi; and Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director for Innovation, International Cooperation and Sport in the Directorate-General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport of the European Commission.
The report proposes several recommendations to both the higher education institutions and to the Dutch authorities, notably:
- to guarantee the sustainability of funding and structures that have been created to support the Valorisation Programme;
- to do more research on the impact of entrepreneurship education on students and start-ups;
- to support university staff to participate in valorisation activities and recognise this participation and performance in job descriptions, promotion procedures etc. As part of a collective action that can promote a cultural shift within the higher education institution;
- to enhance participation of students in valorisation activities and support them in managing study requirements and pursuing a start-up.