Continue the User Support for Space Research programme as it provides high-quality results and is being implemented well. This is the conclusion of an external evaluation committee for the 2012–2016 period.
The User Support for Space Research programme, carried out by NSO on behalf of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), encourages the use of scientific infrastructure in space for the purpose of high-quality research. The committee assessed the results achieved so far, made recommendations for the future and advised on aspects concerning implementation of the programme.
The programme results are of a high quality and the committee was also positive about the way in which the programme is being implemented. The evaluation committee recommended maintaining a good balance between fundamental and applied research. Applying the knowledge developed to benefit societal issues is very important and certainly desirable, but should not be the main aim of the programme.
Given the developments taking place, it was also recommended to increase the budget. The Earth observation and planetary research sectors are growing, the amount of satellite data available is showing a significant increase, and there is a growing need to obtain scientific, societal and economic returns on investments in the space industry.
The evaluatierapport (in Dutch) for the 2012–2016 period has been sent to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, which is funding the programme.