National Growth Fund finances 'sustainable growth'

Multi-million-euro investments in four projects involving UM

The National Growth Fund is to provide a major financial injection into four projects in which Maastricht University is involved. Exactly how large the investment will be depends on the funding breakdown to be decided later.

With the National Growth Fund, the Dutch government has earmarked €20 billion between 2021 and 2025 for projects designed to ensure long-term economic growth. These are targeted investments focusing on areas which offer the greatest opportunities for structural and sustainable economic growth. These are knowledge development and research, development and innovation.

The investments are made in a number of rounds. At the proposal of the advisory committee, a total of 18 projects were honoured in the third round on Friday. Among them were the following four projects involving UM and/or MUMC+:

In order for the Netherlands to make the transition to using climate-neutral materials, five new production chains of an industrial scale will be developed in the coming years. The ambition: to realise and accelerate a new industry for bio-based plastic materials and products in the Netherlands.

The proposal was submitted by a coalition of Groene Chemie, Nieuwe Economie and Topconsortium TKI Biobased Economy, led by Arnold Stokking, managing director of Brightsite.

This proposal aims to "scale up the Dutch valorisation system" by working with public and private partners to realise five new valorisation boosts. When it comes to knowledge creation, the Netherlands ranks among the top 3 in Europe, but the translation of this new knowledge into social and economic added value could be a lot better.

The Deltaplan Valorisation proposal is run by the national KTO network and UNL with the involvement of all knowledge institutions in the Netherlands, including UM and MUMC+.

This involves a public/private institute for microbiome research with a groundbreaking focus: the interactions between many microbiomes in soils, water, plants, animals and humans, together forming part of a larger whole, the "holomicrobiome. Microbiomes are the rich communities of billions of bacteria, fungi and viruses that surround us. They have major effects on human, animal, plant and environmental health. Whereas microbiome research currently focuses on individual microbiomes (such as those in a human's gut or on the root of a plant), the new institute will chart and define a complete holomicrobiome: that of the Dutch food system, which ranges from agricultural fields, wastewater and crops to farm animals, food and consumers.

All knowledge institutions in the Netherlands that conduct research on microbiomes are involved in this initiative, including UM through NUTRIM.


This is a 10-year trajectory for primary, secondary, and vocational secondary education. It aims to strengthen the quality of teachers and increase the attractiveness of this profession.

UM is involved in this application through UNL.

The National Growth Fund has reserved a budget of over one hundred to several hundred million euros for each of these projects. The exact amount of the investments will be announced later.

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