Director Knowledge Programming, Government Relations and European Co-operation, TNO

Erik drop is director Knowledge Programming, Government Relations and European Co-operation at TNO (, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research.

With a career of over 25 years Erik is an expert in research & innovation policy and public-private partnerships in the Netherlands and in Europe.

As central contact point for the Dutch government (first through the ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate), Erik defines with government and other stakeholders the alignment of TNO’s portfolio, research themes and topics with the Dutch Innovation Policy (currently the “Mission-driven Innovation Policy”) and the European Research & Innovation Policy.

In this respect, engaging with and connecting to several stakeholders in the Dutch and European knowledge infrastructure is crucial: just to name a few the TO2 Federation of Dutch Applied Research Institutes, the Association of Dutch universities (UNL) and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), EARTO (European Association of Research & Technology Organizations).

Besides this Erik is responsible for coordinating the EU within TNO (TNO acquires approx. EUR 30 million per year of EU grants). Since 2017 Erik is also, on behalf of the Netherlands, member of the Board of Governors of the JRC (Joint Research Centre of the European Commission).

Erik studied Public Administration with a financial-economic focus at the University of Leiden, and started working for TNO in 1994 where he has had several posts within the organization.

Established by Dutch law, TNO receives a Research and Technology Organization (RTO) an annual research budget (approx. 250 mln euros) from Dutch government funding. Complementary to this TNO acquires the most of its research budget out of competitive funding and contract research for clients. Through this approx. 4000 researchers work at TNO on applied research creating societal and economic impact.