Low research funds might drive scientific talent away

Talented scientists leave the Netherlands because research funds are low, says Rector Frans Baaijens from Eindhoven University of Technology. He says more money is needed to keep people here.The direct cause for the rector’s statements is last week’s news that Maaike Kroon, a promising professor separation technology, is moving to a university in Abu Dhabi. She gets ten million euros to set up her own laboratory and compose her own research group there. In a reaction to her decision, she said that she can get to work immediately there, instead of having to send research proposals to all kinds of grant committees.

Frank Baaijens says that unless the government raises research budgets, instead of cutting them, incidents like this will happen more often. Other countries, like Germany and Switzerland, have been giving more and more money to research in the past years. In The Netherlands, research budgets shrink. The ministry should take research more seriously, says Baaijens, because top talents like Kroon are important for the charisma of Dutch universities.

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