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With support from the government, Dutch companies invested € 8.7 billion in innovations in 2023



New innovative technology is the answer to challenges in areas such as safety, care, sustainability, and digitalization. Innovation is also needed to cope with sharply increased international competition and to keep the Netherlands economically strong. Dutch companies invested a record amount (€ 8.7 billion) in this in 2023 with support from the Research and Development Promotion Act (WBSO). This is stated in the annual report published by outgoing Minister Micky Adriaansens (Economic Affairs and Climate).

Through the WBSO, companies can reduce part of their labor costs and other necessary expenses for research and development (R&D). The annual report “Focus on Research and Development” shows that the amount of innovation projects consists of €5 billion in labor costs and €3.7 billion in non-wage costs. The €8.7 billion is an increase of nearly €500 million from the previous record score in 2022 and at least €1 billion higher than in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Popular technologies in 2023 were artificial intelligence (AI), energy materials, hydrogen, semiconductors, and quantum.

Minister Micky Adriaansens (EZK): “Innovation is not a luxury, it is a necessity. To come up with solutions for the challenges in healthcare, for example, for new energy and cleaner industrial production. But also to remain relevant as a country. We need innovation to earn our living in the future. However, our private spending on research and development lags behind that of other countries. That has to improve. I continue to call on entrepreneurs to do more to innovate and also use the WBSO or other innovation schemes for this purpose.”

More supporting jobs

The work for which companies received WBSO involved nearly 94,000 full-time jobs, an increase of nearly 900 jobs from 2022. Of the just under 20,000 companies that used the WBSO in 2023, 97% are SMEs. Most companies are located in the Greater Amsterdam region (more than 1,900), followed by Brainport Eindhoven and Utrecht.

The Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) implements the WBSO scheme for the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The WBSO annual report provides practical examples and information.

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