Roller Coaster

“Here we go …” we said at the start of 2020. After signing the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant in November 2019, the societal theme coalition partners got in gear. The missions, impact pathways and theories of change served as their satnav for realising the transformative changes needed in health and care. The first ten to twenty years of this road ahead initially appeared

to be relatively straightforward. However, just a few months later, in the first quarter of this year, we collectively hit an obstacle called “COVID-19”. This terrible virus threatened to derail our efforts and has had a devastating impact on the lives of many people.

COVID-19 caused us severe headaches, as suddenly found ourselves continuously switching between the idealistic missions and the pandemic pressures. However, the Life Sciences and Health sector’s “shared challenges, smart solutions” motto once again proved its value, as the sector and all of its partners demonstrated considerable resilience both in the Netherlands and around the globe.

Our reputation of turning policies into impact, built up over the recent decades, was confirmed by more than 500 R&D projects starting up in record time to help tackle the vicious societal and economic influence of the virus.

In parallel, many essential projects and programmes in the context of the Dutch government's Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy received support to survive the crisis.

Initiating new projects, safeguarding those already up and running and maintaining pace on the missions felt like being on a roller coaster at times. A constant feeling far above the only short-lasting shock that for instance fans of the Dutch traditional Music Top 2000 experienced when they noticed that an unknown sing a song writer named Danny Vera took over the number one position traditionally filled by Queen's iconic Bohemian Rhapsody with a song named … Roller coaster.

500 R&D projects

help tackle the vicious societal and economic influence of the virus

And there is another roller coaster in sight. Parliamentary elections will be held in the Netherlands in March 2021 and everything is up for grabs. In this news Update we look back at the development and impact during the first years of the Top Sector policy and how the Dutch Cabinet gave more direction to the innovation policy with the implementation of the mission-driven policy. 

Politicians can take advantage of the booklet "From Policy to Impact" and news updates like this last one of 2020 to be perfectly informed for the elections. And we hope that all of you get inspired to join forces to seek solutions for the Health & Care challenges that play a role in many countries.

'Now, however, as the year draws to a close, everyone at the Top Sector office wishes you and all you love a safe Christmas period. Our hearts go out especially to those who suffered a loss of their loved ones.

We sincerely hope that the crazy highs and intense lows of the COVID-19 crisis will soon be behind us and that somewhere in 2021 we can say "Here we are …!". But then, face-to face.'

- Nico van Meeteren