Impact means that our customers and partners use and implement the knowledge we develop in the best possible ways. We strive for maximum impact, especially in solving major societal challenges. Moreover, we want to increase our impact in the coming years. Not by wanting to do or know everything ourselves, but by developing integrated solutions together with other parties.
How do we create impact?
We focus on topics where we can really make a difference. Where we are distinctive. Subjects of sufficient scale, where TNO has a 'right to play', due to its knowledge and position. Which are of multidisciplinary nature and appeal to our skills. What we do, we do well, or we don't do it at all.
We create impact in many areas, but our contribution to solving major social issues is often difficult to measure. That is because the large-scale application often follows years later. In addition, innovation is not only the sum of our (partial) contributions, but also those of other parties.
Positive impact and sustainable development
Social challenges are increasingly being approached from the perspective of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). That is why we have made our contributions to SDGs transparent. In this way, we are committed to the global agenda for sustainable development and positive impact on society. Our model highlights the most relevant SDGs for TNO.
Are you curious about examples of our social contribution? Take a look at the highlighted SDGs and discover how we contribute to positive impact and sustainable development.
TNO accepted as a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact
We are pleased to inform that TNO has been accepted as a Signatory of the United Nations Global Compact. We warmly welcome TNO to a global network of over 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business participants that are committed to building a sustainable future.
The Sustainable Development Goals
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
SDG3: Good health and well-being
SDG3 is about ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone at all ages. Important pillars are the prevention of premature deaths from communicable and non-communicable diseases, and mental illness. Our Healthy Living unit focuses on four areas; Youth, Work, Biomedical Health and Digital Lifestyle. Other units, such as Energy Transition and Industry, take into account the impact of their work on public health.
Impact: The TNO corona rapid test
We developed a fast, cheap and reliable corona test that could detect the COVID-19 virus within an hour.
Impact: D-score: Dutch youth health care goes international
In order to prevent delayed development in children, we need a system that allows us to monitor their developmental progress. This is why we have developed the D-score. It now forms the scientific backbone for integrating the measurement data of child development from other countries.
Impact: Delta Diagnostics, Biosensors will save lives worldwide
TNO is well advanced in the development of a biosensor. This small device analyses a drop of blood to determine whether someone has, for example, been exposed to nerve gas, has an infectious disease, or has suffered a heart attack. Delta Diagnostic is our spin-off that is currently taking the sensor from the laboratory to the market.
SDG7: Affordable and clean energy
SDG 7 is about ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Our Energy Transition unit works together with knowledge institutes, companies and the government on a carbon-free energy policy in the Netherlands. We deliver innovations from a engineering, social and policy perspective.
Impact: Energy poverty
Support and acceptance in society are important elements for the success of the energy transition. We have published a white paper on energy poverty and how it can be measured, monitored and combated from a policy perspective.
Impact: The Haliade-X, world's largest wind turbine
We are an internationally respected player in the wind energy industry. This is why we have been closely involved in testing the GE Haliade-X, the world's largest wind turbine. A turbine of this size could provide enough energy for more than 16,000 households.
SDG8: Decent work and economic growth
The promotion of inclusive, sustainable economic growth and decent work is central to SDG8. On the one hand, this requires technological innovations to increase economic productivity. On the other hand, good working conditions and a safe working environment are important. Our Work & Health and Sustainable Productivity research groups are working on solutions and knowledge to enable people to work for as long as possible while also maintaining their health, engagement and productivity.
Impact: House of skills
The labour market is changing rapidly, creating a mismatch between supply and demand. Together with partners, we have developed House of Skills. This digital tool helps the move towards a flexible labour market with equal opportunities by focusing on skills rather than qualifications.
Impact: Creating solutions to tackle youth unemployment in Africa
We have addressed unemployment in the Netherlands and have taken our first steps towards applying our expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa, while forging new partnerships to increase employment opportunities for the region's young people and women.
Impact: Labour monitoring programme: Covid-19
The Dutch labour situation is constantly changing. We research these changes and their impact on productivity, innovation and employee health. During COVID-19 we will track the short- and long-term effects of the lockdown on the Dutch labour force.
Impact: Position Paper 'Exoskeletons for physically demanding work’
An exoskeleton is a new technology that can, for example, reduce physical strain on workers' arms and lower backs. We published a position paper on exoskeletons (pdf) (pdf) to provide an insight into the current state of this technology.
SDG9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG9 is about building a resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialisation, and encouraging innovation. Infrastructure - in terms of mobility, logistics and knowledge sharing - is fundamental to making progress on many of the other SDGs.
Our Mobility and Logistics expertise group aims to improve the well-being of society and the competitiveness of businesses by promoting the safety, efficiency and sustainability of mobility and logistics. Another important pillar of this SDG is modernising infrastructure and adapting industries to enable them to become sustainable. Our Energy Transition unit has developed four routes towards a sustainable and circular industry.
Impact: 5G network
We have one of the first 5G test networks in Europe. By using this network's advanced capabilities, we are able to support the innovation ambitions of the telecom industry and other markets.
Impact: Stepwise and FRESME Projects
The STEPWISE and FReSMe projects are aimed at demonstrating advanced CO2 removal technology for the iron and steel industry, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of steel production.
The ORCA EU project focuses on hybrid trucks which emit 40 percent less carbon dioxide, while being no more expensive than traditional trucks.
Impact: Smart data factory for logistics
Together with a number of partners, we are developing the Smart Data Factory for logistics. This defines how logistics information can be exchanged digitally and used globally in a standardised, secure and reliable manner.
SDG11: Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable growth is a major challenge for the cities of the future. Resilient cities should provide opportunities for all, with access to adequate housing, basic services, transport and housing, while reducing environmental impact. We are very well placed to meet this challenge, as our various expertise groups possess in-depth knowledge that can be combined with integrated solutions and innovations.
Impact: Tropomi satellite
In collaboration with partners, we have developed the TROPOMI satellite. This satellite maps air pollution extremely accurately down to city level. The information can be used by authorities to determine whether environmental regulations are being complied with.
Impact: Sustainable urban mobility and accessibility
We offer cities an integrated set of tools to improve their accessibility, health and economic vitality. By integrating operational monitoring with tactical and strategic decision making, SUAM provides effective solutions for decision-makers.
Impact: Smart mobility
Together with the Province of Noord-Holland, we have published the paper "The social value of Smart Mobility (pdf) (pdf)". In this paper, we explain how Smart Mobility can contribute to better accessibility, and how it affects health and reduces carbon emissions.
Impact: Cold bricks Malawi
Deforestation is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing Malawi. Together with partners, we have developed Cold Bricks, which do not require heat or firing and therefore reduce environmental impact. With this technology, we also stimulate local entrepreneurship, especially among women.
SDG16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG16 is about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, and ensuring access to justice for all. In our Defence, Safety and Security expertise group, we apply our knowledge and technology for the safety and security of society. By combining technological and behavioural innovations, we protect those who protect us.
Impact: DNS ninja and trust tester
Knowledge development and innovation in the field of cyber security is badly needed to stay ahead of cyber criminals and to deal with emerging digital threats. DNS Ninja and TrustTester are two examples of the many technologies we have developed in this field.
Impact: Subversion lab
Behavioural science is an important asset in fighting crime. Our scientists support government agencies to collaborate more effectively in detecting and tackling crime.
SDG17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
TNO innovates in low- and middle-income countries with the aim of improving the lives of 2 billion people living below the poverty line (World Bank, 2021). In close collaboration with partners, we develop and launch groundbreaking technologies and scale them up using a robust business model. Our inclusive innovations lead to entrepreneurship, employment and sustainable access to affordable services for the most vulnerable. That is entrepreneurship with impact!
Impact: Innovation for development
Four billion people live below the poverty line, mostly in developing countries. This comprises a huge consumer market, and a potential for manufacturers for whom businesses are developing business propositions. It also provides opportunities to improve local entrepreneurship and reduce poverty. TNO creates impact in low-income groups. In public-private partnerships we develop innovations with financial and social impact.
Impact: Horizon 2020
We are a key participant in the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 'Horizon 2020'.
You can read about how AI is educated in Chapter 1. How can we make clear to AI which goals we want to pursue as humans? Andhow can we ensure intelligent systems will always function in service of society?
Innovation with AI
What does that world look like in concrete terms? Using numerous examples, TNO has created a prognosis for the future in Chapter 2. Regarding construction, for example, in which AI will be used to check the quality, safety, and energy efficiency of buildings before they are actually built. Or healthcare, where robots will partly take over caregivers’ tasks and AI will be able to autonomously develop medicines.
Innovating with innovation AI
How AI will change research itself is explained in Chapter 3. For example, what role will AI be permitted to play in knowledge sharing? And what will happen when we make machines work with insurmountably large data sets?
David Deutsch on the development and application of AI
Peter Werkhoven, chief scientific officer at TNO, joins physicist, Oxford professor, and pioneer in the field of quantum computing, David Deutsch, for a virtual discussion. Deutsch set out his vision in 1997 in the book, The Fabric of Reality. Together, they talk about the significance of quantum computing for the development and application of AI. Will AI ever be able to generate ‘explained knowledge’ or learn about ethics from humans?
Rob de Wijk on the rise of AI in geopolitical context
Anne Fleur van Veenstra, director of science at TNO’s SA&P unit, interviews Rob de Wijk, emeritus professor of international relations in Leiden and founder of The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Rob is also a much sought-after expert who appears on radio and television programmes. What does the rise of AI mean geopolitically and in armed conflicts?