Afraid that the cabinet will cut costs

Dijkgraaf: ‘Hands off investment in science’

Robbert Dijkgraaf met mbo-studenten
Robbert Dijkgraaf. Source: Twitter

“There are a lot of things the Netherlands does not have”, Dijkgraaf pointed out at Leiden University’s Night of Science and Society on Monday. “We don’t have cheap labour, or an abundance of space, or valuable natural resources that can be easily monetised. Our main natural resource is our knowledge, the one resource that grows when you use it. As far as I am concerned, investing in that is a no-brainer.”

The present government has earmarked an extra ten billion euros for education and research, to be spent over the next decade. But with a general election due next month, Dijkgraaf is concerned that “the seeds” his government has sown may soon be denied enough water and nutrients. “That would mean depriving the next generation of scientists of their opportunities and would cost the Netherlands its position at the forefront of education, science and innovation.”

In a TV interview on Sunday’s current affairs programme Buitenhof, Dijkgraaf issued a similar warning. Earlier he advised against a House of Representatives plan to redirect funding from the National Growth Fund to combat rising fuel prices for motorists. The Fund was set up to finance education and research aimed at strengthening the Dutch economy in the long term.