Wageningen UR and TNO cluster research capacity

Two coherent innovation programmes to be undertaken at partners’ current locations in Wageningen and Zeist

From 1 January 2015 TNO and Wageningen UR will be clustering their knowledge and expertise in the field of food, nutrition and biobased research. This will not only add value for business, industry and government but each partner will also benefit from the other’s complementary expertise, thereby creating one of the world’s biggest alliances in these fields over the next few years.

This collaborative partnership came out of the Grand Design of the Top Sector Agri&Food signed earlier this month by the executive boards of Wageningen UR and TNO, the Food & Nutrition Top Institute and the TKI Agri & Food. The Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, supports this initiative.

Towards integration

The intensive collaboration between the TNO research groups in Zeist and the Food & Biobased Research institute of Wageningen UR will get under way in 2015 with the start of two coherent innovation programmes – ‘Customised processed food for quality and health’ and ‘Biorefinery for raw material availability and flexibility’ – that will be undertaken at the two partners’ current locations in Wageningen and Zeist. However, from the end of 2017 the respective groups will cluster physically at one location in Wageningen, thereby creating a joint organisation with an aligned research portfolio in these fields of research. The collaboration will be open to other parties in the form of open innovation and PPP (public-private partnership).


The collaboration and clustering of complementary expertise and facilities boost the possibilities for TNO and Wageningen UR to work with market players to reinforce the position of the Netherlands in terms of food, nutrition and biobased research. The alliance is geared to all the players in the domain, both industry and government, at home and abroad. In 2015 the partnership will explore the possibility to expand its range to include other related research fields such as food safety and authenticity.

Grand Design

The aim of the Grand Design is to establish an attractive international knowledge infrastructure for food, nutrition and biobased research and innovation on the basis of input from industry, research institutions and government.

Quote Martin Kropff (Member of the Wageningen UR Executive Board): “Food, nutrition and biobased research is a key pillar for Wageningen UR. We expect collaboration with TNO to help expand our joint position In the market. The campus of Wageningen UR is a meeting place for researchers of companies and knowledge institutions as well as for students and staff of the university, and it offers an excellent environment for the new partnership.”

Quote Jos Keurentjes (Chief Scientific Officer TNO): “The future of innovation lies in ecosystems where partners in fundamental knowledge and the application of knowledge collaborate with market players in open innovation. The focus and scale of the new partnership with Wageningen UR promises a strong future.”

Emmo Meijer (Chair of TKI Agri&Food) who was involved via the Agri & Food Top Sector in the creation of the partnership: “For the market it is essential that the new partnership between Wageningen UR and TNO generates the best research, has the right facilities and is open to all forms of interaction. Our Agro-Food companies need constant access to the best knowledge to develop new innovations for the consumer.”


TNO, press release, 2014-11-19.


Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs
TKI Agri & Food
Wageningen University


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