Collaboration with TNO

Creating innovations is a matter of working together, and that requires partners. That is why, every year, we team up with some 3,000 large multinationals, SMEs, universities and public-sector organisations within and outside the Netherlands to tackle challenges.

How we work

Knowledge development is a joint endeavour. That is something we notice every day at TNO. That is why companies, public-sector bodies and other organisations frequently work with us. And we are keen to work with these parties. The collaboration takes many forms, such as projects on commission, public private partnerships, technology transfer, partnerships via associations and Joint Innovation Centres (JIC's). Interested in finding out how we can work with you?

Projects on commission

If there is something you would like to have researched for your company, public-sector organisation or foundation, you can commission a research project. We will make agreements with you about the work, the cost, and the exclusivity of the results.

Public-private partnerships

Companies and public-sector and social organisations can also work with us in public-private partnerships, which can take the form of a short-term project or a long-term program.


TNO Fast Track is TNO's platform for start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs, i.e. entrepreneurs. TNO Fast Track offers quick access to TNO's knowledge, facilities and network.

Technology Transfer

Technology Transfer, an important part of the valorization process, involves transferring technology to the market by establishing new companies (spin-offs), or by licensing existing companies. This is how TNO innovations are transformed into products, into economic activity and into high-quality jobs.


Research and innovation do not stop at national borders. We can only strengthen the knowledge base of the Netherlands if we work closely with leading international knowledge partners, companies and governments.

Overview of all project categories, their characteristics and conditions

This table contains an overview of all project categories, their characteristics and conditions
Project categories Characteristics Typical conditions Examples
Assignment TNO is 100% funded by customers
  • TNO project costs 100% covered by customer
  • Short lead time from contact to contract
  • IP to be agreed upon between TNO and customer
  • Direct bi-lateral assignments
  • Shared innovations (research together with a group of partners), e.g. LCET
  • TNO SME platform (see
Public Private Partnership TNO is mixed funded by public funds and by customers

Public funding:

  • External programs (e.g. EU, NGF, EFRO) without private contributions to TNO
  • Internal programs (e.g. TKI, SME, ERP) with possible private contributions to TNO

Public funding from external programs conditions:

  • Customers may receive public funds for involvement
  • Funds can only be obtained through a non-guaranteed tender system
  • Contract lead time: 6 months to 3 years (average over 1 year)
  • Strict KPI monitoring and reporting for partners

Mixed funding models conditions:

  • Topic alignment with innovation agenda and specific public funds
  • IP conditions: broad knowledge dissemination required
  • TRL limitations: maximum TRL 6 to avoid state aid issues
  • TNO SME platform (see
  • Public funds available in various categories:
    - Regional or national level
    - European level:
      Horizon Europe
      Digital Europe
  • For more information, visit Subsibie- en financieringswijzer (, in Dutch)
Technology Transfer Depending on type of service Support services for licensing TNO technology, participation in start/scale-ups and creation of TNO spin-offs Tech Transfer
Partnerships via associations TNO arranges its own funding
  • Open collaboration, often with focus on standardisation
  • Conditions vary per association
  • IDTA, EU Robotics, Gaia-X, IDSA, Open Industry 4.0, NLAIC, etc.
  • Other RTOs via EARTO (Imec, Fraunhofer, FlandersMake, etc.)
Partnerships via Joint Innovation Centres (JICs) Depending on type of JIC Depending on type of JIC, see for more information the specific JIC Holst Centre, ESI, Solliance Solar, i-Botics, QuTech, Dutch Optics Centre, etc.