Strategic SME & smart industry connector

Smaller companies can achieve great things together – but only if they are able to find one another! You will enable high-tech SMEs, multinationals, TNO and governmental institutions to work side by side on creating flexible, green industry in the Netherl



Education type

university (wo)



Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


Apply now


What will you be doing?

You will play a key role in setting up and maintaining various smart industry field labs. There are currently around thirty of these labs in the Netherlands. In these labs, our researchers collaborate with a range of partners on industrial innovations, such as innovative satellites, lightning-fast quantum computers and bio aromatics for a greener chemical sector. To make sure that such field lab projects are successful and result in viable prototypes, highly involved collaboration with SMEs is absolutely crucial. You will be in charge of creating a network of small and medium-sized high-tech companies for whom it is vital to continue to innovate, but are unable to fund research on their own. You look for common denominators between them and unite parties in strategic partnerships.

Along with business developers and programme managers, you create attractive programmes that SMEs, multinationals like Philips and ASML, technical universities and the Ministry of Economic Affairs alike would all be happy to (financially) contribute to. Once a contract with a strategic partner has been established, you keep an eye on things. TNO maintains high standards, and the matters at hand often have an unprecedented degree of complexity. Therefore, it is crucial for us and our partners to be on the same page. It is your job to guide them as they navigate TNO’s world, strengthen partnerships and stimulate them to keep thinking of new innovations with us. You also keep an eye on the sale of strategic projects to make sure everything is done properly, and regularly sit down for progress meetings with the board and management.

You will work with all of our partners to create an ecosystem in which the kind of innovations that will set the tone for industry in the future can flourish – which is so important, particularly now. The many measures that have been implemented to combat Covid-19 have made it very clear how dependent the Netherlands is on foreign manufacturing, in a wide range of fields – and how vulnerable we are when these sources abroad are compromised. As strategic connector, you will get the opportunity to ensure that the Netherlands can rely on a more flexible manufacturing industry in the future.
Read more about TNO's Industry Unit 


What do we require of you?

You speak many languages, so to speak – that of the scientific community, small entrepreneurs, multinationals, industry associations and government agencies granting subsidies. Your ability to communicate with many different parties, combined with your entrepreneurial spirit and boldness will get you a long way in this role. Some other traits that will stand you in good stead include empathy, good strategic understanding and the ability to connect people. You have the rare gift of bringing very different companies in the SME realm together and enabling them to trust and invest in the future together.
What else should you have to offer?    
•    University graduate-level abilities
•    A demonstrable affinity with SMEs and smart industry
•    Experience with (collaboration with) the government and the scientific community would be preferable

People from a range of different backgrounds would be well suited to this position, so we ask that you use your cover letter to explain how you would go about fleshing out your role and how you would deploy any existing expertise you might have.

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation that functions as the bridge between the world of academia and the business realm. We translate research findings into straightforward applications and solutions to solve the problems the world will be encountering the day after tomorrow. We take the time to think calmly and properly about issues, and then once a project is completed, we start looking for more tools, models and recommendations that Dutch companies and organisations will benefit from in future. TNO has around 3,000 employees working within nine domains for a wide range of clients, such as government agencies, the SME sector, civil society organisations, larger companies and service providers.
Read more about TNO as an employer 

Within TNO, you will be working in the most enterprising unit of them all: Industry. Out of various sites throughout the Netherland, the 600 members of the Industry unit work on innovations to stimulate employment opportunities, wellbeing and welfare in the Netherlands. You’ll spend a lot of time on the road, working at many different TNO sites, mostly in Delft and Eindhoven. As such, you’ll soon become intimately acquainted with the wide range of characters and areas of expertise featured in our unit. However, one thing we all have in common is a positive, future-oriented attitude that makes for a very pleasant work environment.
Meet some of your future TNO colleagues

What can TNO offer you?

We offer you work that is both challenging and diverse, as well as plenty of opportunities; you’ll be largely in charge of your own career. In addition to a gross monthly salary that is indicative of your knowledge and level of experience, holiday pay and a thirteenth salary, you’ll get every opportunity to develop further and continue on into higher management. TNO also allows you to pick and choose from a ‘menu’ of employee benefits in line with your personal situation. Here are some more advantages to consider:
•    The prospect of a fixed contract if all goes well.
•    28 days of annual leave and 5 days of reduced working hours (in the case of a full-time contract).
•    Flexible working hours and the option of working from home, provided that your work that day permits it.
•    Fun outings and activities with co-workers from all units, so that you’ll quickly get to know lots of people from all over our organisation.
•    A travel allowance or a bicycle on loan.
•    A sound retirement plan.
•    An incredibly professional, inspiring work environment, with colleagues who are the top experts in their respective fields.
•    You will report directly to the unit’s managing director.
•    The option of participating in training courses or additional schooling, and visiting conferences.
•    Personal coaching, should you wish it.

Read all about the many employee benefits to choose from. 


Application process

You can apply till the 1st of June. The process comprises at least two (selection) rounds. After a positive selection, we will finish off the process by discussing terms and conditions of employment. We try to complete the interviews within 4 weeks.

 For this vacancy it is required that the AIVD issues a security clearance after conducting a security screening. Please visit for more information the AIVD website

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Recruiter: Paul Verschoor
Mobile phone: +31 (0)6-29236794

Hiring manager: Arnaud Jong, de

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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