SPRONG Groen subsidy awarded to Centre of Expertise Groen


The Centre of Expertise Groen (hereafter: CoE Groen) was awarded the SPRONG Groen subsidy. The CoE Groen is very pleased with the award, which will give applied research a significant boost. The financial guarantee will enable the CoE Groen to gain momentum, leading to a sharper focus, bundling of strengths and expertise and improving quality.

The CoE Groen was launched in 2019. The award of the subsidy means that even more impact can be expected on the major societal challenges within the green domain.

The CoE Groen is the collaborative alliance of the four green universities of applied sciences: Aeres University of Applied Sciences, HAS University of Applied Sciences, Inholland University of Applied Sciences and VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL), in close collaboration with other key stakeholders. In the past eight years, the four green universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands have successfully partnered in programmes with focuses on applied research and professional practice in six Centres of Expertise and with various impact applied research groups. This collaboration will be extended and intensified in the CoE Groen. The award of the SPRONG Groen subsidy guarantees a solid foundation for the expansion of the research infrastructure and execution of various research projects.


The green sector faces a number of major challenges in the coming decades. Climate change, biodiversity, the circular economy, healthy and safe food and a healthy living environment require a systemic transition. This demands changes in thinking and behaviour, the use of new technologies and new forms of collaboration. An integral, multidisciplinary, multi-level and cross-sectoral approach is required in order to develop the associated innovative knowledge. The robust basic infrastructure of the CoE Groen is fully geared to this.

Mission of CoE Groen

The CoE Groen is closely linked to professional practice and the environment. The CoE Groen stands for cooperation across the full breadth of sectors within the green domain, from primary agriculture and food processing to nature and the living environment. The CoE Groen works vertically in the green knowledge silo, with intermediate vocational education (MBO), higher vocational education (HBO) and university education (WO). We collaborate with other disciplines and parties to develop applicable solutions for professional practice and to contribute to up-to-date and attractive education.

The CoE Groen ensures a structural contribution through applied research:

  • the realisation of circular agriculture, with the Netherlands as a trailblazer;
  • the development of sustainable production chains, with significant emission reductions;
  • a richer and more diverse nature, restoring biodiversity and landscape;
  • sufficient, healthy and safe food for everyone;
  • a healthy and liveable environment for humans, animals and plants, in the city and the countryside. 


The SPRONG (Stimulering van PRaktijkgerichte ONderzoeksGroepen (Stimulating Applied Research Groups)) scheme of SIA is aimed at strengthening the position of applied research at universities of applied sciences. The universities of applied sciences are part of the national and international playing field in which various parties generate and apply knowledge. In this way, SPRONG enables universities of applied sciences to make a significant contribution to social issues within the mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy through their applied research. The SPRONG Groen application from the CoE Groen relates primarily to the Knowledge and Innovation Agenda (KIA): Agriculture, Water, Food.

Image: The CoE Groen has four expertise clusters. This is where the societal Knowledge and Innovation challenges in the KIA 'Agriculture, Water, Food' and the seven themes of the CoE Groen meet the societal demand and supply of expertise.