The Dutch government will invest nearly 4.5 million euros over the next six years to improve South Limburg’s valorisation infrastructure. Valorisation is the process of marketing knowledge and stimulating economic incentives and other knowledge and innovation activities. The grant was awarded to the ‘South Limburg Valorisation Programme: Business and Knowledge 2013–2018’, with Maastricht University at the helm. This consortium also includes the Maastricht Academic Hospital, Hogeschool Zuyd, Liof and Chemelot Campus BV. Together, they will spend the next few years developing better and faster ways to translate knowledge into practical market applications that can benefit the Limburg knowledge economy.
Several parties have invested heavily in the Limburg knowledge economy over the last few years. Holdings were established to translate scientific research into marketable products, entrepreneurial training programmes were developed, and new campuses were opened that allow academic institutions to collaborate with the business community, the government and other organisations. The demand for comprehensive, innovative and rapid initiatives like these is expected to increase in the near future. These initiatives include more knowledge circulation among parties, more market-oriented thinking among researchers, more support for business plans and more start-up capital for young entrepreneurs. These should ultimately contribute to the establishment of South Limburg as a future-proof knowledge economy with cutting-edge job opportunities.
The activities of the South Limburg Valorisation Programme have been grouped into four core areas:
- Enhancing and improving entrepreneurial education
- Improving the circulation of knowledge between companies and academic institutions
- Professionalising the primary valorisation process ‘from idea to BV’
- Transforming campuses into growth facilities
The project was granted a budget of over 17 million euros for the 2013–2018 period. More than 12.5 million euros was reserved for consortium partners, affiliated companies and institutions to cover start-up loans, patent applications, feasibility studies and personnel costs for new and existing staff members. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation financed the remaining 4.5 million euros in the form of a grant.
The programme is supported by regional and local governments, companies, industry organisations and other parties including the Province of Limburg, Limburg Economic Development (LED), DSM, KPMG, Deloitte, Rabobank, Westelijke Mijnstreek, MKB Limburg, the Limburg Employers’ Association (LWV), Synthens, the Limburg Chamber of Commerce, the Research & Development Department at the Catholic University of Leuven and RWTH Aachen.
Source: Maastricht University press release, 18 January 2013