Top Sector Alliance for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) Water Technology

Innovating through public-private partnerships

TKI Water Technology focuses on innovation themes in the areas of resource efficiency, smart water systems and sustainable cities. KWR organises demand-driven research projects within these themes in partnerships with public sector end-users (water companies, waterboards and municipalities), industrial end-users and businesses (suppliers, engineering consultancies). This promotes efficient knowledge development and the application of innovations in the field of water technology.

TKI Water Technology

Through the Top Sector Alliances for Knowledge and Innovation (TKIs) the Dutch government stimulates the demand-driven development and application of knowledge and innovation. The TKI scheme has been in force since 2012 and is part of the top sector policy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Partnerships between the business community, research institutions and end-users lie at the heart of the initiative. The top sectors refer to those knowledge areas in which the Netherlands excels, both socially and economically.

Water is one of the designated top sectors. Years of investment in Dutch knowledge development has resulted in a high-quality knowledge infrastructure in the field of water. This knowledge also presents opportunities for our economy. The aspiration is to double the added value of the water sector by 2020. TKI Water Technology, which is one of the three programmes within the Water & Maritime Top Sector, focuses on clean, high-quality water with due regard to the living environment. It brings together, strengthens, binds and supports the Dutch water technology sector.

These are TKI Water Technology’s three innovation themes:

  • Resource efficiency: the quest for a more circular economy through more efficient management of natural resources by closing resource loops.
  • Smart water systems: the application of innovative ICT technologies to maximise efficiency and effectiveness of water (treatment) technologies.
  • Sustainable cities: the design of sustainable cities founded on the Urban Water Cycle concept, innovative infrastructure and smart asset management.

Demand-driven research for the water cycle

Since 2013 KWR has launched about 20 TKI projects every year. We help give the innovations shape, working with SMEs and the water sector as ‘launching customers’. Private businesses, as well as research organisations, play a fundamental role in the partnership projects, in which research is conducted on the basis of shared funding and risks. We are supported in our activities by our own Advisory Council for TKI Water Technology, which consists mainly of outside experts.

Our research projects are directed primarily at practical applications. These mostly involve ‘industrial collaboration projects’ and ‘experimental development’ in accordance with the TKI regulation. The business partners are responsible, respectively, for one-half or three-quarters of the project’s financing (cash or in-kind), while the remainder is covered by the TKI premium.

Businesses that would like to receive TKI support for their research and innovation investments through KWR are invited to contact us. We then jointly develop suitable collaboration projects and innovation activities. KWR bears the main responsibility for the project plans, working of course closely with the businesses and other project partners concerned.

Promoting efficient knowledge development and innovation

By promoting demand-driven, efficient knowledge development and application of innovations in water technology, commercial products can be brought to market faster and be more accessible to end-users domestically and internationally. The collaboration that TKI Water Technology strives for has a number of benefits. The synergies within the ‘golden triangle’ of business, science and government stimulate an effective use of resources and strengthen the export prospects of Dutch businesses.