In the Netherlands, policy makers have frequently addressed
the ‘gap’ between the excellent standing of Dutch fundamental research and the perceived inability to translate that into money making activities. For some time now a new approach has been proclaimed, called “Van kennis en kunde naar kassa” (“From knowledge and expertise to the cash register”, perfectly fitting in the traditional Dutch ‘merchant spirit’).
FOM’s (Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter) primary focus is and always will be curiosity driven research, pushing the boundaries of fundamental knowledge. The vision of P2IP is that today’s basic research drives industrial innovations 10-20 years from now. Although curiosity is the main motivation, FOM acknowledges the increased importance of industrial applicability and societal gains from basic research. The past years the awareness has definitely grown within FOM to seize opportunities for making the connection between research activities and industrial, societal or other scientific domains. The term used for this is valorisation: the translation of knowledge into technology in order to create commercially viable products or services.
Two research institutes of FOM are AMOLF and Nikhef (the National Institute for Subatomic Physics).
Early 2011, Nikhef’s management inspired by discussions with its valorisation partner, 1&12 Investment Partners (1&12 IP), around the start-up of Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) felt that a position as share holder might be advantageous. Especially in the starting phase it is important for the research institution and the investor to collaborate and to help build the team that is needed to successfully market the technology. This has resulted in the establishment of an investment company, called Particle Physics Inside Products (P2IP BV) on a 50–50 (FOM and 1&12 IP) basis.
During 2011 P2IP has taken shares in two Nikhef start-ups, Sensiflex BV and ASI BV. Nikhef employees are allowed to buy a limited amount of certificates of shares (to prevent a conflict of interest) in the start-up.
In 2012 the start-up Omics2Image B.V. was established in collaboration with the mass spectrometry group at AMOLF.