TNO as an international partner

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. The know-how we develop for or with partners abroad also benefits the Dutch business community and helps to resolve issues in our own society.

European projects

The European collaborative research in which TNO engages takes many forms. Find out more about recent projects that support and advance the European innovation strategy, the Dutch economy and TNO’s position.

TNO and internationalisation

We're active worldwide. This international vision is in line with our mission: to contribute to solving societal issues through innovation and strengthening the competitiveness of the business community.

Internationally distinctive

Globalization means that companies today look all over the world for employees, business partners and know-how. They also often choose research parties in an international context. In order to compete internationally as a frontrunner in research and innovation, our knowledge base must also be recognized internationally as being both outstanding and distinctive.

Cooperation within Europe

From digitalisation to climate change, from geopolitical developments to corona virus, cooperation is the key to finding solutions that enable a better, safer and more connected world. This is why we also engage in collaborative European research to enable social and economic impact.

Priorities of the European Commission

The European Commission has its own priorities regarding research and innovation. These include the European Green Deal, a digital future and an economy that works for people. Research and innovation at EU level can affect the lives of millions of people. Moreover, European research and innovation with European values at its heart can play a leading role on the world stage.

Benefits of European research

We see European research as an important 'multiplier'. While local developments can help us progress step-by-step, EU-level partnerships offer many new opportunities, such as:

  • shared knowledge development
  • a challenging and inspiring working environment for TNO employees
  • competitive funding
  • new networks and the impacts that contribute to our ability to maintain a world-class knowledge base for the Dutch economy and society

Our role is to support and facilitate the involvement of Dutch industry partners, especially SMEs, in the European research and innovation arena.

Contributing to European research and innovation

We are active at every level of project development within the EU. From policy discussions in Brussels and the development of EU project frameworks, to the implementation of cross-border cooperation for stronger social development.


We are actively contributing to the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Horizon 2020. In particular, through our European partnerships. Together with EARTO and Neth-ER, we contribute to discussions on how research, development and innovation in the new Horizon Europe research programme (2021-2027) can achieve the greatest possible impact. This is how we strengthen not only the EU-wide innovation proposals, but also our own innovation strategy and the Dutch economy. At the same time we secure our position as a leader in mission-oriented policy: approaching innovation from the perspective of the societal challenges it addresses, rather than from a position of 'technology push'.

Innovation with impact

In addition to Horizon Europe, we work on structured and programmed cooperation with European partners. We do this in field labs, joint innovation centres (JIC), innovation hubs, consortia that implement European framework programme projects, and public-private partnerships. We find that this, in combination with our own projects, is the best way to tackle major innovation challenges.

We remain a 'thought leader' at the forefront of EU cooperation projects. In this way, our impact on industry and society remains powerful, relevant and sustainable, and enables us to continue to strengthen our own strategic direction and that of the EU in unison.

Read more about our European projects


Multidisciplinary teams

Our approach to innovation is systematic and holistic. It is more than 'technology for technology's sake'. We examine all aspects of our lives, including the ethical and social questions about how technology is implemented and used. This is done together with multidisciplinary teams. We strive to achieve comprehensive solutions that take into account human factors, business and social needs, and public policies.