Collaboration and competition ensure high-quality Dutch research
The Dutch universities work closely with each other, the business community and the government. This is evident, for example, from the numerous publications the universities have written in collaboration with researchers from the business community, the number of patent applications submitted by universities, the amount of income generated by contract research funding, and the number of knowledge-intensive startups founded by university staff and students. The universities also participate in broad, social coalitions such as the AI Coalition, together with government partners, businesses and civic organisations. There is also an international playing field, in which talent plays a major role, which is reflected in the many types of rankings published annually too. They are usually based on data that can easily be compared internationally, such as publication data. The Dutch universities are endeavouring to change the dialogue on this at an international level and have therefore launched the Recognition and Rewards programme
The research is of high quality
The high quality of the research conducted by Dutch universities is reflected in the outcomes of competitions for international research funds, in which the quality of Dutch research proposals is consistently rated very highly. The citation impact scores of publications and the positions in the international rankings also show that Dutch research is of high quality. A university's position in the international rankings is an indicator of research quality. The Dutch universities perform well in both the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking and ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
Although not a perfect indicator, international scientific influence is often measured by the number of times a publication is cited, also referred to as the 'citation impact score'. The underlying premise is that scientists are considered likely to cite research that is of high quality or innovative. The graph indicates the share of a country's publications that ranks among the top 10% of most cited publications worldwide.
International collaboration is essential
International collaboration in research is essential because it enables us to undertake larger research projects together with our international partners and allows teams featuring top talent from across the globe to work together. The recent 'photo' of a black hole is one such example. Dutch researchers had a leading role in the international team that made that photo possible. Such collaborations are important for science and the societal solutions to which science contributes.
Dutch scientists jointly publish research with colleagues from all over the world. The map below shows that they collaborate with researchers from the United States and the European Union the most. Emerging economies are also becoming increasingly important in scientific collaboration.
There is a strong correlation between the level of international collaboration and the number of highly cited articles. The Netherlands has achieved a high score for both indicators. Of all publications produced by Dutch universities, 58% are the result of collaborations with foreign universities and 14% rank among the top 10% worldwide. Consequently, the Netherlands performs far above average, making it one of the top five performers. If the diagram is broken down into the various scientific disciplines, a similar picture emerges. All Dutch universities perform far above average.
Collaboration with burinesses is intensifying
Alongside education and research, the Dutch universities have a third core task: knowledge exploitation by society. The collaboration with organisations and businesses has intensified in the past few decades and is often embedded in regional ecosystems or clusters. The conditions for public-private partnerships are not inherently good: a complex interplay of factors determines whether the collaboration between universities and businesses will work. It takes time to build an ecosystem. In this process universities function as the mainstay because they can provide a structure and environment for many years where innovation is stimulated and young talent is nurtured.