Science budget breakdown

30 October 2015 - The numbers

The newspaper NRC has the scoop: what amount of money is spent on scientific research in The Netherlands and as a public translation service here are the numbers. The total expenses for higher education have increased from just under 2 billion Euro in 1990 to just over 3 billion in 2015 given a population of 17 million. If the euro-inflation-effect (that destroyed Dutch buying power and is denied to exist by the Dutch government) is taken into account the 2015 value is over 4 billion. The taxpayer takes care of 3 billion, the remainder is shared by businesses, non-profits (mostly the expenses made by students) and countries abroad (? but thanks!). The number of researchers (in fte) increased from 13 to 19 thousand. In terms of expenses per capita the country today takes position 6 after countries like Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden (The UK is listed at number 13, the US is not listed). In short, Dutch researchers have really nothing to complain.

Things get interesting when considering the available budget per researcher split by research field. Now it becomes apparent that all fields have gained a lot - agriculture, languages, health - in particular (+25% starting from 150 thousand Euro ), except for one: the natural sciences (chemists!) which have actually seen a decline by 15%. How is that? The article is accompanied by interviews, one with a smart-material researcher chasing after artificial muscles. Sorry your funding has been declining every year for a long time. Another one is with a book scientist (yes, they do exist) specialized in the layout of eleventh century books for some reason. Congratulations, your budget seems to increase every year.

Any hope for chemists then? Try to incorporate a book-language-health theme in your next grant application. Free NRC tip!