Internationalisation of applied research

Internationalisation of applied research from universities of applied sciences improves the quality and impact of research. In 2022, Regieorgaan SIA (the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA) started the pilot programme Towards Europe. One of the programme’s aims is to enable universities of applied sciences to better connect with the European research agenda.


Applied research in an international context

A question from professional practice is the starting point for applied research. International collaboration is needed or can be of (considerable) added value in finding answers to some of these questions. Researchers can then collaborate with other knowledge institutions, public organisations and companies outside of the Netherlands.

Regieorgaan SIA distinguishes 3 important aspects of internationalisation of research that can improve the quality and impact of applied research.

Knowledge sharing and the formation of networks

International collaboration yields a greater amount and variety of expertise and data, which enables researchers to answer their research questions better.

Talent development

International exchange of knowledge and expertise offers researchers from universities of applied sciences the possibility to enter new collaborations, share data and knowledge and set up new research projects.

International funding

By connecting with international and European networks, applied researchers can do research at a European and international level. And they can request funding for this. For example, by developing research projects with a European consortium and carrying these out within the Horizon Europe programme.

Towards Europe

Over the next few years, Europe will be the focus of the efforts of Regieorgaan SIA to internationalise applied research. European collaboration offers universities of applied sciences many opportunities and makes it possible to realise impact in their (own) region. Regieorgaan SIA has launched the pilot programme Towards Europe (Richting Europa) to make this objective concrete. This programme runs from 2021-2027.

Connection with European research and innovation

With the pilot programme Towards Europe, Regieorgaan SIA focuses on:

  • more connection with regional and thematic agendas for applied research within the European research and innovation strategy and with European societal challenges;
  • a better connection of universities of applied sciences, research lecturers and their research groups with European networks;
  • a further professionalisation of universities of applied sciences so that they can more easily connect with European programmes for research and innovation.

We will achieve this, for example, by offering European networking possibilities and workshops. In 2022, we launched the pilot grant scheme Towards Europe (NL). Universities of applied sciences can use the funding to further shape their own strategy and plans concerning European collaboration in research. In 2024, we initiated a new call within the pilot. This call focuses on network development.

In realising our international activities, we will connect with existing (regional) themes where universities of applied sciences are active, and with national policy, such as the Mission-Driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy (NL). These regional and national themes align with the European challenges as stated by the European Commission and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

An overview of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations. These goals are: 1. no poverty, 2. no hunger, 3. good health and well-being, 4. quality education, 5. gender equality, 6. clean water and sanitation, 7. affordable and clean energy, 8. decent work and economic growth, 9. industry, innovation and infrastructure, 10. reduced inequality, 11. sustainable cities and communities, 12. responsible consumption and production, 13. climate action, 14. life below water, 15. life on land, 16. peace, justice and strong institutions, 17. partnerships for the goals

Sustainable Development Goals

Cooperation partners

To encourage European collaboration and applied research in the Netherlands, we have joined forces with the universities of applied sciences, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, various government ministries, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and sister organisations and networks in Europe.


Keep an eye on this webpage for the latest developments concerning our plans and activities. And if you have any questions, please contact: