Early historyIn 2008 representatives from leading Dutch industry laboratories and academic analytical science and technology groups at universities recognized three major concerns for future innovation and economic growth in The Netherlands: (1) a trend towards application-driven and sector-specific analytical R&D at Dutch universities and a concurrent decline of highly innovative fundamental analytical research, (2) increasingly difficult recruitment, due to a lack of high-quality researchers and technicians at PhD, MSc and BSc (HBO) levels, and (3) the limited sharing of and access to rare, high-end analytical instrumentation. The sense of urgency for COmprehensive Analytical Science and Technology (COAST) was evident.
In the following, critical, step a group of ~60 large industrial companies, SMEs, institutes and university groups committed the initial funding for the development of the COAST Business Plan. This facilitated the formal established and registration of TI-COAST as an independent foundation in December 2008. The COAST business plan was presented in September 2009 to the national co-ordination body for chemistry (‘RegieGroep Chemie’, RGC). Following the support by the RCG, the Ministry of economic affairs and the national science foundation NWO granted the TA-COAST R&D program. This was the first step in the realization of the COAST business plan.
Present StatusThe lean-and-mean organization structure of TI-COAST is exclusively funded by its participants, who contribute an annual membership fee. In doing so, they emphasize their strong commitment to the COAST mission. Today, COAST is recognized as the analytical-science-and-technology partner and executes its integrated strategic agenda of R&D, education and infrastructure. This is illustrated by the following.
- In the national Sector Plan on Physics and Chemistry (SNS 2010), COAST is the designated co-ordinating body for analytical chemistry in The Netherlands.
- In the NWO Technology Area for Sustainable Chemistry (TASC) program and its successing program, COAST is the assigned Program Committee of the R&D program ‘(P)TA-COAST’.
- COAST is co-founder of and partner in the national Analytical Science Talent Program (ASTP) for top talent HLO students, co-ordinated by HAN (‘Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen’).
- COAST is co-founder of and partner in the national MSc+ program for top talent MSc students in analytical sciences, co-ordinated by the UvA/VU.
- COAST is partner in the national post-graduate education program on analytical sciences (ANAC).
- COAST is partner in the national uNMR-NL facility and assigned to co-ordinate industry access to this unique high-end NMR facility which will be established at Utrecht University during the coming years.