Investment Agenda

‘The place to be for Food, Health and Energy in 2025.’ This is the mission that The Economic Board has formulated for the coming years in its Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025. This mission is given form and substance in direct collaboration with the business community, knowledge institutions and governments – the aptly named triple helix. The challenges of the partners require intensive collaboration. In order to achieve powerful, healthy economic growth, we are focusing on two iconic clusters: The first being Health, High-Tech, Food and the second Energy. Apart from these two iconic clusters, The Economic Board is working on five preconditional clusters: Smart Sustainability, Lobby, Acquisition, Job Market and Vibrant Region. With concrete projects and programmes, we give form and substance to the clusters. Projects can be supported in various ways. One of these is that they are put on the Investment Agenda.


In the Tactical Plan ‘Cluster Formation: creating work and worth!‘ (Dutch: ‘Clustervorming: werk en waarde maken!‘), a practical implementation of the Strategic Plan is articulated for the two iconic clusters and the preconditional cluster Smart Sustainability. We create focus and translate the mission and milestones from the Strategic Plan into a programmatic approach, aimed at supporting concrete initiatives, projects and programmes. This memorandum is intended as an (operational) link between the Strategic Plan, concrete projects, and the Investment Agenda. Please have a look at the public version of the Tactical Plan on the right-hand side of the page; the entire document can also be downloaded.

The clusters

Through the two iconic clusters, we are connecting economic opportunities, ideas, and projects in the Arnhem – Nijmegen – Wageningen area. These clusters connect parties and networks, and in that way create crossovers in knowledge and innovations. This knowledge and these innovations are helping to solve the societal tasks of the future and generate new business activity and employment. The five preconditional clusters support the two iconic clusters and contribute to the creation of advantageous condition and circumstances in the area.

Every cluster has the same structure and has a helix group, which is spearheaded by a civic entrepreneur who coordinates activities within the group and is the first point of contact for initiators. Each cluster also comprises a board member and other directors as ambassadors. The civic entrepreneur also has a central role towards ambassadors.

Submitting projects and programmes

To stimulate our economic cluster creation and in doing so reinforce the economic structure in the area, initiators can submit concrete (market) initiatives, projects, and programmes for which they would like to get support from The Economic Board. Initiators can come from diverse backgrounds: from business; knowledge institutions; wider society and societal organisations; or government. Especially initiators from the world of businesses, market operators, knowledge and societal institutions are stimulated to submit requests for innovative projects. There are various ways in which The Economic Board can support projects and, in doing so, further them. The types of support are related to the three main activities of The Economic Board: communicating, connecting, and boosting.

John van Sambeek

John van Sambeek

Civic entrepreneur cluster Health, High-Tech, Food

In his role as civic entrepreneur for The Economic Board, John van Sambeek focuses on the domains of Health, High-Tech and Food. He works on economic development and innovations from regional strength.
Jan Luijten

Jan Luijten

Civic entrepreneur cluster Smart Sustainability

Jan Luijten is connected to The Economic Board as a civic entrepreneur of the preconditional cluster Smart Sustainability. Furthermore, Jan is a senior advisor in sustainable development for the municipality of Nijmegen. He is familiar with the regional network around sustainability in the Arnhem – Nijmegen area.
Jeroen Herremans

Jeroen Herremans

Civic entrepreneur cluster Energy

Jeroen Herremans is the civic entrepreneur of the iconic cluster Energy. As the team captain, he works to promote the further development and up-scaling of an innovative energy cluster within the area.

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The primary goal is to strengthen the economic structure and innovative power of the area. Economic structural strengthening and innovation are (partly) serving large societal tasks. This is the reason why the further strengthening of the important sectors Health (health and healthcare), High-Tech (key technology), Food (nutrition) and Energy (transition) is paramount. These focus areas connect well with the set-up of the Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (Economische Zaken en Klimaat – EZK). This also allows us to connect to the societal tasks of the Arnhem – Nijmegen area, outlined in the Regional Agenda.

The secondary goal is to strengthen the (inter)national front-runner position of the Arnhem – Nijmegen – Wageningen area. The Arnhem – Nijmegen – Wageningen area is going to be the circular top region in the Netherlands and Europe. Through the clusters, we are investing in (inter)national collaboration. Lobbying activities, which are focused on the ministries and Brussels, are improved in direct partnership with the Arnhem – Nijmegen area and the Province of Gelderland. This is not an objective in itself, but it does contribute to the sustainable, healthy development of the area.

The idea is to gain the ‘mainport status’ designation from the State, under the name ‘Lifeport’. A mainport is recognised as an ‘economic hub of national importance’. Through the international platform The Life Net, a marketing and promotion toolbox is being created that helps our international talents, professionals and entrepreneurs find their way in our area.

Work process

Through the helix groups, The Economic Board translates societal tasks into market propositions and business cases whose main goal is to attract co-financing.

A rough sketch of the work process:

  • Step 1: sign up initiative, directly with TEB or through a helix group or civic entrepreneur
  • Step 2: civic entrepreneur performs first check on criteria and takes care of project fiche
  • Step 3: civic entrepreneur present projects to helix group
  • Step 4: helix group weighs and assesses projects
  • Step 5: input from helix groups is presented to Economic Board
  • Step 6: after the Board issues a positive opinion, projects qualify for support, co-financing and/or inclusion in the Investment Agenda


With concrete projects and programmes, form and substance are given to the clusters. We use a compass for globally assessing initiatives and projects.

  • Strategic impact: proposals respond to the strategic spearheads of every cluster and impact the economic structural strengthening of the area.
  • Societally relevant: proposals contribute to societal missions and public goals and tasks.
  • Knowledge crossovers: proposals pursue the organisation of the knowledge exchange with other projects or initiatives within the cluster, or between clusters.
  • Triple-helix collaboration: proposals preferentially allows for collaboration between business, knowledge institutions and governments, but can also take shape bilaterally.
  • Relation to education: proposals facilitate the interplay between education and business, aimed at better alignment of mid-level and higher professional education (MBO and HBO), and university education (WO) with the job market.
  • Co-financing: proposals are generally executed with co-financing.

What’s in it for me?

There are various ways in which The Economic Board can support projects and, in doing so, further them. The types of support are related to the three main activities of The Economic Board: communicating, connecting, and boosting. Boosting projects often has to do with money. Many projects require financing.

In this context, we are talking about financial means applied on top of the means of (other) initiators: co-financing ‘on top of’. The Economic Board does not have the means to provide co-financing itself but can support initiators in gaining co-financing from triple-helix partners.

When assessing the financing need of projects, five levels are differentiated:

  1. Knowledge: idea and concept development and syndication
  2. Innovation: exploration, design, basic engineering, and attainability
  3. Testing and prototyping: prototypes, testing grounds, detailed engineering
  4. Scaling up: unprofitable top in business case/market launch
  5. Operations: management, maintenance, evaluation

Contribution to Regional Agenda

For the collaboration with municipalities from the Arnhem – Nijmegen area and with the Province of Gelderland, the vision ‘Green Metropolis Region’ (Dutch: ‘Groene Metropoolregio’) and the agenda ‘Contours for the Regional Agenda’ (Dutch: ‘Contouren voor de Regionale Agenda’) are leading for proper articulation with the clusters. In this agenda, five strategic societal tasks are outlined, on which municipalities are working together among themselves, as well as with the provincial authority.

In the infographic ‘Flow chart regional agenda’ (Dutch: ‘Stroomschema regionale agenda’) a visual representation is given of the position of the Tactical Plan and the cluster within the wider regional collaboration and how they add to the joint Regional Agenda.

Read more about the Strengthening Process for Regional Collaboration of the regional municipalities here

Flow chart regional agenda
Flow chart regional agenda (in Dutch)