Global health R&D is almost entirely directed towards product development partnerships; vaccine R&D is a key focus area

In 2015, the Netherlands provided US$4.9 million for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), referred to as ‘global R&D’ in this profile. 1  This makes the Netherlands a small donor to global health R&D; the country spends 0.000016% of GDP on global health R&D. Reported financing by the Netherlands to global health R&D overall has been declining since 2007. The total funding levels in 2015 were 16% of those in 2007.

In 2015, Dutch global health R&D focused on HIV/AIDS (US$1.9 million, or 39% of its total funding), helminths (worms & flukes; US$0.9 million, 17%), tuberculosis (US$0.8 million, 16%), and kinetoplastids (US$0.8 million, 16%). The majority (84%) of funding (US$4 million) was directed towards product development partnerships (PDPs), while the remaining 16% went to academic and other research institutions. Almost half of all funding (US$2.2 million) was directed towards vaccine research.

The Netherlands focuses its support to global health R&D on PDPs, as they contribute to the country’s policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as well as the development agenda ‘from aid to trade’, and the ‘roadmap neglected diseases’. This roadmap is part of the ‘Topsector Life Sciences & Health’, one of nine ‘Topsectors’ identified by the government in which the Dutch private sector and research centers aim to excel internationally. By 2025, the Dutch government wants the Dutch private sector working in life sciences and health to spend more than 10% of its revenue on R&D. ‘Solutions to neglected and poverty-related diseases’ is one of the ten roadmaps within the ‘Topsector Life Sciences and Health’.

Currently the Netherlands channels its global health R&D through the PDP III Fund. PDP I and II had total budgets of €150 million or US$200 million between 2006 and 2014. The PDP III fund has a total budget of €86 million (US$114 million) for 2016 to 2020. The Netherlands aims to contribute to innovation in the areas of health care products and technologies specifically targeting diseases and conditions related to poverty and SRHR. The fund focuses on the development and availability of affordable and effective medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and innovative products for neglected diseases with the aim to combat poverty and inequality. Six organizations (TB Alliance, IAVI, DNDi, MMV, IPM, and FIND) have been selected to receive funding from PDP III.

In addition, the Life Science & Health for Development Fund (LS&H4D) funds the development of innovative health technologies that provide solutions to poverty-related diseases and SRHR, with a total budget of €2.7 million (US$3.6 million) for 2014 to 2016.

MFA sets strategy; Netherlands Enterprise agency manages funds related to global health R&D

According to G-Finder data, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), specifically the Directorate-General of Development Cooperation (DGIS), is the largest funder of global health R&D, channeling 84% of total health R&D in 2015. The remaining 16% of global health R&D funding is channeled through the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NOW). Within DGIS, the Social Development Department (DSO) develops policies related to global health. Within DSO, the Health and AIDS Division (DSO/GA) is responsible for the PDP funds. DSO/GA reviews proposals together with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The MFA commissioned RVO, which is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to manage the PDP III and LS&H4D funds on its behalf.