Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dutch Budget $504 Million for Nanotechnology, Green Technology, Carbon Capture and Medical Research

On December 18, the Dutch government provided $504 million (350 million euros) from the Economic Structure Enhancing Fund (FES) to six projects in the sectors of food, chemicals, health, education, energy and nanotechnology. The Cabinet has agreed to this proposal by Minister Van der Hoeven of Economic Affairs, also on behalf of Finance Minister Bos. Projects are intended to ensure that the Dutch economy  benefits from long term structural strengthening. The projects include contributing to new business and hence employment in the Netherlands.

The Dutch cabinet awarded a budget of $180 million (125 million euro) to the technology program “Towards a sustainable open innovation ecosystem.”  With this project, new applications in nano-and micro technology are investigated and developed into products for businesses. Future products may include "laboratory on a chip 'for medical diagnostics that offer faster diagnosis in the hospital  and at home. Nanotechnology will also allow greater efficiency of solar cells, improved sanitation, and quality of packaged food in the package itself.

Life Sciences & Health receives a contribution of $116 million (81 million euros) including for drug in viral infectious diseases and genetic brain diseases and research for the development of diagnostic technology. These include research into vaccines for respiratory infections and to treat paraplegic patients. The aim of this study is that its results with new medical products can be developed that will improve the quality of life.

There are $57 million (40 million euros) to the Innovation Food & Nutrition Research into nutrition and health. This is essential to develop foods that contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, reducing obesity, and improved resistance to aging. The study also contributes to improving the composition of foods in reducing sugar, salt and saturated fats.

The project Vversterk receiving almost $50 million (35 million euros). This allows the quality of early childhood education be strengthened. BE-Basic from the FES receives $86 million (60 million euros). With this money come experiments with bacteria, fungi and yeasts (white biotechnology) for sustainable industrial production of chemicals, materials, fuel and energy from plant remains.  So not only going to fuel the car of agricultural waste, but also for example the bumper, the seat and dashboard.. Such biofuels and biochemicals ensure that eventually could replace petroleum as feedstock.

The Cato-2 energy project receives $14.4 million (10 million euros).  This project contributes to further knowledge and application needed for CO2 capture and storage (CCS) in the Netherlands on a large scale after 2020 to demonstrate and commercialize. This is necessary in the coming decades to meet the climate goals for the Netherlands.

AMOLF has contributed 13 projects proposals to this program for a total amount of $4.3 (3 million euro). This program will enable AMOLF to strengthen its activities in nano/biosciences as well as renewable energy.

This program represents the “High Tech Systems and Materials (HTS&M)” division of a larger initiative funded by the “Fund for  Strengthening Economic structure (FES)” that receives a total amount of $503 million (350 million euro) for strengthening the Dutch knowledge and technology infrastructure. The new program is built on the “National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) drafted by, among others, AMOLF director Albert Polman, Dave Blank (Twente University) and Reinder Coehoorn (Philips Research) several years ago.

FOM Institute AMOLF is located in Science Park Amsterdam. It is one of the research laboratories of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), the physics division of the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO). AMOLF employs about 130 research staff and 50 support staff. AMOLF's yearly budget is $17.2 million (12 million euro).  AMOLF's carries out research in two main directions: Physics of Biomolecular systems and Nanophotonics. The research is organized within three research Departments: Biomolecular Systems, Molecular Nanophysics and the Center for Nanophotonics that work closely together.

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