NLR’s new Fibre Placement machine for manufacturing composite parts

The Dutch government has recently designated nine so-called ‘top sectors’ of the Dutch economy. These are sectors in which the Netherlands occupies a leading position worldwide. Companies and research organizations in the nine top sectors have begun collaborating in so-called ‘Top Knowledge & Innovation Consortiums’ (TKIs). For this purpose, the government, the private sector and knowledge institutes are investing in Private-Public Partnerships (PPPs). The top consortium for High-Tech Systems & Materials (HTSM) is of particular importance to NLR. The Logistics top sector is also relevant to NLR. As the premier centre of excellence for aerospace knowledge in the Netherlands, NLR has been closely involved in setting up the HTSM TKI. NLR has now aligned its research programme with the top sectors policy.

Roadmaps for HTSM top sector
NLR’s aerospace ambitions for the HTSM top sector have been laid down in two roadmaps: Aeronautics Manufacturing & Maintenance (AM&M), and Space. NLR is also contributing to a number of other roadmaps, namely those for High-Tech Materials, Automotive and Semiconductor Equipment.

The AM&M roadmap encompasses five innovation themes:

1. Aerostructures 2. Engine Subsystems & Components 3. Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) 4. Aircraft Systems 5. Future Concepts

The Space roadmap comprises three programmes:

1. High-Tech Space Instrumentation 2. High-Tech Space Systems & Components 3. Space Applications & Services

Private-Public Partnerships
The top consortiums are based on the principle of Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The Dutch government has decided to promote such partnerships by adding a 25% subsidy (in 2013) to private parties’ cash investments in collaborative projects undertaken together with research organizations. This subsidy is not paid out to the company but to the consortium, and is earmarked for investment in additional research and innovation. An application for a €28.1 million subsidy for the HTSM top sector has been submitted to NL Agency, based on the €110.5 million estimated in 2013 for private-sector contributions to collaborative projects. For the AM&M roadmap, the total private-sector contribution to PPP projects involving NLR is estimated at approx. €1.4 million. The total private-sector contribution for the Space roadmap is estimated at approx. €0.6 million.

NLR scheme for PPP projects
In late 2012 NLR set up a scheme for PPP projects, in part to ensure uniform implementation of the government’s new TKI subsidy scheme. The NLR scheme for PPP projects is aimed at private-sector companies as well as consortiums comprising private-sector companies and research organizations. The principle is that a company or consortium contributes practical knowledge and #indicates its needs with respect to specific innovations, so that NLR can prioritize particular areas for knowledge development. In return for a financial contribution to the research costs, the company or consortium obtains the right of first use for the knowledge developed as part of the project. The parties may also agree that exclusive usage rights will be granted to the company or consortium. As the research activities draw closer to the market introduction stage, the percentage of the research costs to be financed by the private sector increases in accordance with the TKI subsidy scheme.

NLR expects to have compiled a list of specific future PPP projects by the second quarter of 2013. This list will be carefully geared to the needs and challenges of the Dutch private sector. SMEs interested in collaborating with NLR under the scheme for PPP projects are invited to contact NLR.