ZonMw policy is governed by six priorities that direct the way we programme knowledge development.
ZonMw has defined 14 large, long-term programme clusters: clusters within which, over a series of years, we carry out programmes that are well attuned to one another. This prevents the fragmentation of research funds and brings more coherence to knowledge development and provides better opportunities for implementing the results in policy and practice.
ZonMw is closely involved in the programming and implementation of international research programmes. International collaboration makes it possible to use scarce resources such as money, knowledge and experience in the best possible way. Moreover, many countries are dealing with the same public health issues.
Independent, impartial research and speculative, ground-breaking research lead to radical innovations in health care. ZonMw therefore makes adequate resources available for this research, including through our ‘open science’ programme.
In 2015 everyone in the Netherlands – civilians, researchers, companies, and social organisations – was invited to present a question to the scientific community. These questions were then translated into 16 so-called ‘roadmaps’, a collection of questions having the same theme, and this was the foundation of the National Science Agenda. Its aim is to increase the societal impact of science. Three of the 16 routes are concerned wholly with health and health care, while issues of health care, welfare and health play an important role in many of the questions in other roadmaps. Our programming is designed to fit with these roadmaps.
Patients get to discuss the design of research programmes with ZonMw and also have a voice in the assessment of research proposals. We involve other groups too, such as doctors and nurses, in this selection procedure. We stimulate professional groups, such as doctors’ associations, to set up so-called ‘knowledge agendas’ to which we can align our programmes. Lastly, for local organisations such as city councils we are keen to take on the role of ‘knowledge programmer’: the party that identifies the knowledge needed in a particular (geographical) area, and works out how this knowledge can be acquired.
There are several ways in which we strengthen the impact of the research we fund: