Mission and vision

14 March 2024

TNO, as a trusted, independent, and pioneering applied science and technology organisation, plays a multifaceted role. Read our mission and vision.

Our mission

TNO’s mission is to create impactful innovations for the sustainable wellbeing and prosperity of society.

Our vision

Innovation is crucial in realising a secure, sustainable, healthy and digital society

As we navigate the first half of the 21st century, we encounter several significant challenges. To shape a better future, society must limit climate change while also adapting to it. Our economy needs to foster innovation and competitiveness, while embracing sustainability, including circular practices. Our population is ageing, and we all want to lead longer, more prosperous, healthy lives – at work and at home. In a changing geopolitical landscape, marked by rising military conflicts and a greater emphasis on strategic autonomy, people are seeking greater security.

Simultaneously, as societies grow more complex, there is a growing demand for reliable information to inform evidence-based policymaking and effective governance. We must harness the full potential of digitalisation and information technology to achieve these goals.

Innovation only has impact if applied at large scale

Technical novelties and scientific insights only have a significant impact on society and economic development if they are used, at scale, in the real world. Not every ingenious invention or insight meets a significant need or can feasibly be produced or adopted on a large scale. Therefore, a keen understanding of customer needs, international supply chains, and the broader landscape of national, European, and global market trends is vital. As global investments in research and development (R&D) surge, and value chains span multiple borders, the innovation arena is transcending national boundaries.

Unique right to play in promising fields to secure comparative advantages

It is increasingly becoming a fiercely competitive landscape, in which TNO has to articulate its right to play in each of the fields in which it is active. Just like any other region, country, or organisation, the Netherlands in general, and TNO in particular, must amplify their collective innovation efforts. This means leveraging our unique strengths in specific fields—those that hold the most promise—to secure sustainable competitive advantages and establish strategic footholds (control points) within global value chains.

TNO as leading innovator

TNO, as a trusted, independent, and pioneering applied science and technology organisation, plays a multifaceted role. We innovate, investigate, and orchestrate, collaborating closely with governments, universities and the private sector. We inform government on policies and empower evidence-based decision-making through rigorous investigations, cutting-edge scientific insights, and reliable measurements. By building national and international consortia and ecosystems, we drive technological and methodological breakthroughs that help to realise a secure, sustainable, healthy, and digital society, and strengthen the earning power of the Dutch economy.

More investment in R&D necessary

TNO aims to help elevate the cumulative innovation effort in the Netherlands towards R&D investment of at least 3% of GDP, an increase of 30% (more than € 6.7 billion) compared to 2022, mainly from private contributions. Therefore, we also have to increase TNO’s innovation effort, as a core part of the Dutch innovation ecosystem. To maximise the impact of our innovative efforts, we concentrate on fields where we truly excel—where we lead the way in innovation—and where our contributions therefore have the most impact.

We base our decisions in this regard on a thorough grasp of societal and market needs, a realistic assessment of emerging value chains and industrial hubs in the Netherlands, as well as the international competitive landscape. These factors co-determine the success or failure of an innovative effort. We remain committed until technical and social inventions evolve into successful innovations.

More focused and responsive organisation, where people can flourish and work together

Together, we will forge a more focused and responsive organisation: one that thrives on collaboration and agility, where our employees can flourish, and where they feel empowered to create truly impactful innovations that contribute to the sustainable well-being and prosperity of society.

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