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Dutch universities plan to train enterprising top talent

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Young scientists aiming to start a business will soon be getting some help in the form of a two-year contract with a university. The goal is to prepare them for a future as an entrepreneur.

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The Dutch universities have recently unveiled ‘Faculty of Impact’, the first national postdoc programme with a focus on entrepreneurship. Until 2025, three groups consisting of ten recently graduated PhDs will be given two years to develop their idea for a business.

They will sign a two-year contract with a university and will be given coaching and training courses in the field of entrepreneurship, intellectual property and investments. They will not be required to teach or publish articles, but will be given full access to the labs. By the end of their second year, the result should be a specific product plus the required capital.

Risky business
Universities will join forces with the Dutch Research Council to hammer out the details of the programme, which is set to be launched in September. The goal is to attract scientists with ideas that investors are currently still viewing as risky business but that have tremendous potential for society.

“We have observed that a lot of great ideas are being shelved because the market is not ready for them”, explains chairman of the board at VU Amsterdam, Mirjam van Praag, in the FD. “Without our help, nothing will change. Because of this unique focus, the programme does not compete with existing university start-up organisations.”

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