TO2 institutes launch impact report 2021

December 15, 2021

The TO2 institutes TNO, WUR, Deltares, NLR and MARIN, publish their impact report this week. The magazine, produced in close cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, details how the various institutes conducted their research and how their solutions contribute to a sustainable, clean, healthy and safe future for the Netherlands.

A significant portion of the research is government-funded and frequently co-funded by the end-users. Therefore, the TO2 institutes involved are eager to share the achieved results in this easy-to-read magazine.

The articles follow the four societal topics defined by the mission-driven Top Sector and Innovation policy: Energy transition and sustainability, Agriculture, Water and Food, Health and Health Care, and Security.

In the preface, Focco Vijselaar, Director General of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, states: ‘Once again the institutes demonstrated how relevant their work is for society, despite the rather intense year. Their expertise is developed not only within their own domain but also through interdisciplinary collective research programmes. This enables more extensive research that yields broader solutions.’

Examples of real impact in this report include floating flexible islands at sea, closed cycles in greenhouse agriculture, accelerated development of medication and a supercomputer for all.

WUR’s contributions include:

Closing cycles in greenhouse agriculture:

Brussels and The Hague want all greenhouse fruit and vegetable cultivation to be circular. How can this be achieved? The greenhouse horticulture sector is an innovative sector that produces high-quality vegetables, plants and fruits and uses resources extremely efficiently. Wageningen researchers mapped the material flows in the horticulture sector and identified opportunities to (further) close these cycles. Their recommendation includes collaboration with other sectors such as aquaculture and pig farming.

Alternatives to animal testing:

For many years, animal testing was the singular accepted method to determine whether crustaceans such as mussels and oysters contained toxins. Researchers would inject an extract of the crustaceans into a mouse or rat and see whether the animal survived. The Dutch government aims to be a world leader in animal-free innovations in 2025. Wageningen researchers developed several alternatives to animal testing in food safety research.