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Netherlands - ARD country profile

Netherlands - ARD country profile

Netherlands - ARD country profile

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports overseas cooperation and international research, while the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation (EL&I) funds Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) in the Netherlands, with the majority of research being carried out at Wageningen University and Research Centre (UR).

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Key ARD objectives

  • Dutch ARD's leading principles are to follow an agenda driven by demand from the South and to implement participatory approaches such as participatory action research, multi-stakeholder processes and social learning.
  • National research priorities follow primarily from international agreements and conventions such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Convention on Biological Diversity, in combination with Dutch development cooperation policy.
  • The Ministry of EL&I's policy-supporting knowledge domain “International Cooperation” aims to contribute to economic development, poverty reduction and sustainable use of natural resources in developing countries.


The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) funds the core of the Dutch ARD effort at Wageningen UR. This funding is split equally between fundamental research at the university, guided by scientific considerations, and applied research at the institutes guided by the Ministry’s policies. Internationally, cooperative ARD efforts are supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) separately funds further research through the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)'s WOTRO Science for Global Development.

For all three ministries, research is ultimately demand-driven; Dutch ARD strives to respond to the needs of the South, and the Ministry's policy is informed by its own research program on International Cooperation, which focuses on economic development, poverty reduction and sustainable use of natural resources in developing countries.

Main ARD budget and beneficiaries for 2010


Ministry of Foreign Affairs €15,000,000
Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation (EL&I) €7,000,000
Ministry of Education, Culture & Science (OCW) €4,000,000


CGIAR €13,000,000
Wageningen UR €5,000,000
WOTRO Science for Global Development €4,000,000
Other €6,000,000

ARD landscape

Within the Netherlands, most ARD takes place at Wageningen UR. Wageningen UR's total budget from the Ministry of EL&I was €317 million in 2010, half of which went to the university and half to its applied research institutes. The university's research is driven by scientific considerations, while the agendas of the applied research institutes are driven by the Ministry’s policies.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BuZa-DGIS) funds research and capacity building programmes and provides about €13 million in annual core funding to CGIAR institutes. It also supports international education and fellowship programmes, vital for student researchers in many countries.

The Ministry of EL&I also coordinates and funds the European Research Area for ARD (ERA-ARD). Through this network, agencies in 17 member countries cooperate to align research agendas and co-fund projects to synergise Europe’s impact with respect to the Millennium Development Goals.

Main ARD programmes

  • Under the Ministry of EL&I, fundamental ARD takes place at Wageningen UR, while applied ARD takes place at the relevant applied research institutes. The university and institutes work closely in five areas: agrotechnology and food, animal, environmental, plant and social sciences.
  • The Ministry of EL&I's research and capacity building cluster “International Cooperation” contributes to the roles of the Ministry in international frameworks outside of the EU and OECD. The basic premise is for more sustainable agriculture and food production in the context of a growing global population. The budget of this cluster is about €5 million per year.
  • Besides its core funding to CGIAR centres, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spends more than €200 million per year in the themes of Environment and Water and Sustainable Water Management. Many projects in the 20 target countries have an ARD focus.
  • The Ministry of OCW funds further research through NWO's WOTRO Science for Global Development. WOTRO's ARD themes include Global Food Systems, focusing on the worldwide connection and interdependency of the food supply.


Responsive to global needs, Dutch ARD will continue to be shaped by international policy, Dutch development cooperation, and demand from the South. The Netherlands will further this ever-changing agenda by strengthening links with other ARD actors through the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and regional fora; by building capacity and institutions at home and in the South; and by seeking more interactive means of upscaling that go beyond extension to the co-production of knowledge.

This country profile has been commissioned by EIARD (the permanent ARD coordination platform between the European Commission, Member States of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland) as part of a series providing an overview of policies and support for agricultural research for development by EIARD member countries. EIARD is not responsible for any omissions and inaccuracies contained within this document and the information is only correct up to the date of publishing (August 2011).