The Netherlands Enabling Watertechnology (NEW) consortium, comprising Wetsus, the University of Groningen, Deltares and the Northern Netherlands Development Agency (NOM) has been awarded €8 million by the Dutch government to optimize knowledge transfer from water technology research to the market and society in order to speed up the transition towards a circular, sustainable and climate-neutral economy.
The NEW consortium stimulates start-ups and initiatives in the field of water technology. Its key themes include water treatment, water and resource reuse, the production and storage of energy from water and smarter management of the water system.
Water is a finite resource and without clean and safe water, we cannot live on Earth. Water also plays an important role in various sectors, such as agriculture and horticulture, food production, health, energy and chemistry. Climate change, pollution, waste and a strong increase in the use and the exhaustion of finite resources have led to many places in the world facing acute water shortages. As a result, in the decades to come, many economic sectors will have to transition to a circular and climate-neutral production cycle – one that does not exhaust or pollute fresh water supplies. This requires large-scale and affordable water technology innovations. This need for ground-breaking innovations provides opportunities for innovative Dutch start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The NEW plan rests on two pillars: knowledge transfer and funding. The NEW’s partners in knowledge transfer will scout promising knowledge-based start-ups, help them to develop faster and nominate the most promising start-ups for funding via the NEW fund. Without the financial support from the NEW fund, many good ideas in the field of water technology would never make it to the market. The NEW knowledge transfer plan, coordinated by Wetsus, represents the bundling together of the valorization power and ambitions of three international top institutes (Wetsus, the University of Groningen and Deltares). Their combined knowledge and broad expertise will allow the knowledge start-ups to develop stronger innovations. Combined with the NEW fund, managed by the NOM, this will lead to more promising knowledge start-ups and a faster transition from start-up to maturity.
Under the second tender of the Thematic Technology Transfer (TTT) grant scheme, a few dozen new knowledge-intensive companies can be supported in reaching their full potential in the years to come. This will happen on the basis of leading research by universities and other knowledge institutions, in collaboration with private investors. The NEW consortium is one of three consortiums to have been awarded €8 million each, as announced by Minister Van Engelshoven (of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) and State Secretary Keijzer (of the Ministry of Economic Affairs). The consortiums were selected by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
Wetsus is the European centre of excellence for water technology. Wetsus creates open innovation communities revolving around the NEW’s main theme, involving all relevant knowledge institutions, technology companies and public and private end-users, and has extensive experience with IP transfer and the scaling up and valorization of new technologies.
Deltares is a knowledge institute for applied research in the field of water and soil, and possesses unique research facilities and a wide network of public and private partners as well as knowledge partners in the Netherlands and abroad. Their main focus is the transfer of knowledge to governments, companies and, increasingly, to start-ups.
The University of Groningen represents a wide range of research disciplines that are relevant to the NEW, plays a leading role in the Enabling Water Technology sectors of Energy and Health and runs a successful valorization programme (Northern Knowledge) as well as the accelerator programme VentureLab North. In addition, the RUG Houdstermaatschappij (UG holding company) is involved in the NEW fund.
The NOM has more than 40 years of experience in investing in medium-sized enterprises. The NOM is currently managing €58.5 million worth of enterprises. Approximately 60% of their portfolio consists of companies in the start-up, pre-seed or seed phase. In addition, the NOM makes investments on behalf of various funds that it has successfully managed for years. A highly experienced team of investment professionals has been put together for the NEW fund.
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