10.1 Programming and KEM research

In order to clarify the possible role of KEMs in the missions, it is important to understand the nature and process of the development of new and further development of existing KEMs.

KEMs are often developed, tested and trialled in research at knowledge institutions. KEM development is - especially in the first step - the result of fundamental, methodological research, based on theoretical models and considerations. However, the practice in which KEMs are applied is unruly. This often creates variations on existing methods; the methods are further developed by using them in specific contexts. KEMs are therefore never ‘finished’ and must be continuously tested for (context-dependent) usability, effectiveness, validity, etc.

In contrast to technology, research into and further development of methods therefore preferably takes place in their application in concrete innovation processes. By studying the effect of the interventions that are realised with a specific KEM, insights are gained that help to validate the method, to better contextualise it and to combine methods.

KEMs build bridges between domains in order to arrive at integrated solutions. This cross-over nature of KEMs requires a multidisciplinary joining of forces in the field of KEM research and development. The complex and multidisciplinary issues posed by the missions therefore offer excellent opportunities to work on KEM development. This KEM research agenda is therefore intended as a basis for programming methodological issues within the KIAs of the mission themes. In research and innovation programmes, transition challenges will be central, in which existing methods are applied and thus further developed, or new strategies and methods are developed. The programmes can draw on this agenda and the research questions identified in it as the most urgent questions to address in the short term.

Working on this agenda has made it clear that in the Netherlands we have a number of strong research communities in the KEM categories covered in this agenda. These communities have organised themselves to a greater or lesser extent and also enjoy international prestige in their specific domain. Connecting these strong research groups to private parties offers interesting opportunities for tackling the missions and forming consortia for PPP projects.

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