The Green Life Sciences research cluster closely collaborates with the Dutch Horticulture & Starting Materials sector. Our state-of-the-art facilities are highly instrumental in these collaborations. Many of our talented MSc and PhD students continue their career within this highly innovative sector.
The Dutch Horticulture & Starting Materials is a broad sector ranging from flowers and bulbs to fruit and vegetables and plants and trees. Adding to this are the 'starting materials': seeds, seedlings and young plants.
The sector ranks among the top in the world in terms of entrepreneurship, innovation, knowledge, and craftsmanship. For example, Dutch breeding companies reinvest approximately 15% of their annual revenues in R&D, making this one of the most knowledge intensive industries in The Netherlands.
The Dutch government has therefore recognized the sector 'Horticulture & Starting Materials' as a 'Top sector': one of nine research and economic areas in which The Netherlands is particularly strong.
A special focus in the cooperation of the Green Life Sciences research cluster with industry lies in the region North of Amsterdam which is home to dozens of companies specializing in plant breeding, production and sale of high-quality seeds and basic plant material. The cluster of businesses joined forces in 2008 to form the foundation Seed Valley.
The sector rapidly incorporates new technologies and innovative ideas in R&D programmes. A noteworthy collaborative example of this is the Dutch research program Green defence Against Pests (GAP) that aims to provide genetic solutions and identify natural defense mechanisms as alternative for insecticides, many of which will be banned by EU regulations to protect the environment and groundwater by 2020. The programme is coordinated by GLS principal investigator Michel Haring.
The engagement of the Plant Breeding industry in the Green Life Sciences research is also evident from the appointment of two special chairs: