The Netherlands is known for the invention of the microscope, the development of the first artificial kidney and the discovery of immune therapy and is home to one of the happiest and friendliest people in the world. With the history of the struggle to control water, the Dutch have gained a long-standing reputation for their open and welcoming attitude to collaboration and knowledge exchange, resulting in social and economic impact. The strength and efficacy of public-private partnerships is a reflection of to this.
Carmen van Vilsteren, Chair of Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH): ‘From idea to implementation is a lengthy and difficult process in the LSH sector. However, the Dutch are willing to commit to long term partnerships with multiple stakeholders to really make an impact on patients’ lives and on society as a whole.’
In the context of the mission-driven top sectors and innovation policy, five missions will drive collaboration on a new approach to the theme Health & Care. ‘By directing innovation, these missions help to align many initiatives’, says Van Vilsteren. ‘New large national partnerships will be established based on the RegMed XB and Oncode Institute model to bring social and technological innovations faster, better and to more patients.’
However, as many other countries face the same challenges as the Dutch, we open our doors to work together to strengthen the development of healthcare solutions. During the COVID-19 crisis this open climate proves to be very pivotal.
‘The relocation of the European Medicines Agency to The Netherlands will – hopefully - boost our innovative ecosystem where public and private parties work together to create social and economic impact across borders,’ according to Clémence Ross-van Dorp, Ambassador of the Action Programme “New Opportunities for Top Sector Life Sciences & Health”.
‘With the Action Programme we want to make a strong national proposition to further stimulate the Dutch LSH ecosystem. To realise this, we highlight what we are good in and what we have to improve on in the chain from fundamental research to implementation. And we use this to enhance the collaboration across borders to create international impact.’
For successful implementation of the missions, we need to open our doors for the end user. Van Vilsteren explains: ‘By involving the end user as a coalition partner in the early stages of the innovation process the cost effectiveness and happiness of the patient will increase.’
Ross-van Dorp adds: ‘On the other hand, the end user needs to open their doors for research to shift from evidence-based healthcare solutions to society-based healthcare solutions. This requires a new approach to Health & Care where the focus is not on collaboration but on creating impact together.'
A healthier Netherlands... that is what we want to achieve. With children who make a good start and benefit from it all their lives. With active adults who are ready to retire. And with older people who have many healthy years of life and participate in society for as long as possible.
"The Netherlands healthy and well", however, is not yet self-evident. The number of people with one or more chronic conditions is increasing, partly due to the ageing of the population. With unchanged policy, the need for healthcare professionals increases, while the labour market becomes tighter. Meanwhile, healthcare costs keep on rising.
These missions present tremendous opportunities to direct innovation aimed at multiple social and technological challenges. Furthermore, they set the path to realising transformation. In the coming years, a multifaceted coalition of citizens, companies, researchers and the government will work closely together on a new approach to health and care. A Knowledge and Innovation Agenda (KIA) has been drawn up to describe the ambitions and goals of the Health & Care missions within the field of these public-private partnerships.
In line with the KIA 2020-2023, a corresponding Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) 2020-2023 has been drawn up.
The KIC brings together the investments in innovation from more than 2,200 companies as well as knowledge institutions and government bodies. From the total of 4.9 billion euros allocated, 1.06 billion euros has been allocated to health and care, of which 525,800 million euros are from private funding and 534,801 million euros from public funding.
The coalition has taken its societal responsibility and through the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport’s missions, the KIA and the subsequent KIC, it offers Dutch society an optimistic proposition, while at the same time providing economic opportunities.