Advisory report: STI Diplomacy - Advancing the internationalisation of Science, Technology and Innovation

The Netherlands is losing ground to its neighbours in its support of the internationalisation of science, technology and innovation (‘STI diplomacy’). This will hamper the competitiveness of the Netherlands, as it will become more difficult to attract and retain talent, while R&D will more and more shift to other countries. Therefore, in its advisory report “STI Diplomacy”, AWTI calls upon the Dutch government to strengthen its STI diplomacy by establishing a clear strategy and expanding the instruments and available budget. The advisory report was presented to the Dutch Cabinet on May 16, 2017.

For this advisory report, AWTI analysed how the Netherlands and a number of comparable countries organise their STI diplomacy and what results they achieve. Specific, in-depth background studies were made about attracting foreign R&D investment and STI diplomacy in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Switzerland and the UK spend, like Germany, per inhabitant more than double the amount the Netherlands spends. In addition, these countries operate with clear objectives, multiyear plans and a broad range of policy instruments. “If the Netherlands fails to respond to what our competitors do to support the internationalisation of their STI, it will definitely endanger the Dutch economic position,” concludes AWTI Chairman Uri Rosenthal.

“The Netherlands lacks national coordination and a strategy,” adds AWTI Council Member Martin Schuurmans. “The available resources and instruments are limited. Science, technology and innovation develop on a global scale. For a country like the Netherlands, that thrives on its knowledge and innovation base, it is imperative to present itself internationally as a ‘knowledge and innovation country’ and to support that by strengthening its STI diplomacy.”