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Definitions for Science in Figures

In our data publications, fact sheets and articles we use several terms and acronyms. Below we give the definitions of each term.

Accrual based accounting system

A system to draft the budget, where the costs for items with a longer lifetime are spread over the years of the lifespan of the item. See also: cash based accounting system.

Assistant professor

Assistant professor (lecturer / researcher) employed by the university (tenured staff)

Associate professor

Associate professor (senior lecturer / senior researcher) employed by the university (tenured staff).

Cash based accounting system

A system to draw up the budget, whereby all expenses paid in a certain period (mostly a year), are included as expenditures in the budget for that year (the year in which the expense was paid). See also: accrual based accounting system.


A reference to a scientific publication.

Citation impact

The citation-impact score indicates the extent to which scientific publications are referred to (cited). The more frequently a publication is cited, the higher its impact is considered to be. The citation impact is relative to the world-wide average citation impact = 1.00.

Collaboration of innovative companies

Collaboration of innovative companies refers to business enterprises which actively and in collaboration with other companies and institutes (partners) aim to develop technologically new or improved products, services or processes, either in a formal partnership or not.


A scientific publication which has been produced by collaborating authors from different organisations. A national co-publication implies that researchers from diverse sectors have been involved (universities, institutes or business enterprises). An international co-publication implies that authors from different countries have collaborated to produce the publication.

Dissertation (PhD)

A publication based on which a PhD has been obtained (PhD-thesis).

Doctorate holder (PhD)

A person who has obtained a PhD degree for successfully completing a PhD-thesis, supervised by one or more promoters.

Field normalised citation impact

Citation impact score which is standardised (weighted) for the scientific area (field),  because the citation pattern differs per scientific field. 

Fiscal support

Indirect financial support by means of tax benefits (for example, expenses which can be deducted from the income tax base).

Foreign scientific personnel

Scientific personnel whose nationality is not Dutch. See also: Scientific personnel.

Framework programme

A framework programme is the most important instrument of the European Union for financing research and innovation. The current Framework programme is Horizon 2020.

Full professor

Full professor employed by the university.


Gross domestic product. A measure for the size of the economy, calculated by the sum of the value added by business enterprises, households and government bodies to the goods and services which they use to produce their products.


Entails the creation of new or demonstrably improved products, processes, marketing and organisation, which add value to markets, government and society.  (Bron: European Commission, 2013, "Innovation Union").

Innovative enterprise

A business enterprises which in the period under consideration implements technological innovation projects or which has – whether or not successfully – implemented these. Technological innovation concerns product innovation as well as process innovation.

International institute

International scientific research institute, such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) and European Space Agency (ESA)

Research capacity

Scientific personnel, in full time equivalent (fte).


Researchers are professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge. They conduct research and improve or develop concepts, theories, models, techniques instrumentation, software or operational methods.

Research institute

Organisation focusing on the development of science, implementation of scientific research, or both. A research institute may also be denoted as centre of expertise, knowledge centre or institute, or research centre.

Patent (EPO)

Patent request filed at the European Patent Office (EPO). Patent requests are only approved if these are new, imply an innovative leap forward and are industrially implementable.


Employees who have an employment agreement or contract  with the university which contains the obligation to obtain a PhD degree (Doctor of Philosophy).


A publication based on which a PhD degree has been obtained (also: dissertation).


Private Non-Profit organisations. Primarily charitable institutes, established in the Netherlands, which raise funds and in particular act as financers of research.


See: Research and development


The personnel for implementing the organisation’s own R&D, expressed in the number of people employed and full time equivalent (fte).

Research and development (R&D)

Activity which is aimed at originality and innovation. R&D consists of the creative, systematic and planned search for solutions to practical problems (including strategic and basic research).

Research institute

(Semi-) government institute which performs R&D as main activity or important secondary activity. A substantial part of the work is financed or commissioned by  government and/or government to a large extent influences the functioning of the institute.

Scientific personnel

All academic and research personnel who have a permanent or temporary contract or agreement for a described and fixed working time with the university concerned. Volunteers, interns/trainees, student assistants and honorary/unpaid appointments are excluded.

Scientific publication

A peer reviewed article which is published in a scientific journal. During the peer review the article is tested against specific quality standards and requirements.  


Personal grant (obtained from the Vernieuwingsimpuls, a talent programme) for researchers who recently obtained their PhD degree.


A competitive programme which aims to provide personal research grants to talented and creative researchers.


Personal grant (obtained from the Vernieuwingsimpuls, a talent programme) for excellent, very experienced researchers who have successfully developed an innovative research group.


Personal grant (obtained from the Vernieuwingsimpuls, a talent programme) focused on researchers who have gained several years of experience in research at postdoc level since obtaining their PhD degree.


First funding flow = Direct funding from the government (general university funds).


Second funding flow = Research council funding.


Third funding flow = Contract research funding from different sources (private and public).

Acronyms related to the Dutch universities


  • LEI Leiden University
  • UU University Utrecht
  • RUG University of Groningen
  • EUR Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • UM University Maastricht
  • UvA University of Amsterdam
  • VU Free University of Amsterdam
  • RU Radboud University Nijmegen
  • TiU Tilburg University
  • TUD Delft University of Technology
  • TUE Eindhoven University of Technology
  • UT University of Twente
  • WUR Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • OU Open University of the Netherlands

Funding flows

  • WP 1First funding flow / Direct funding from the government (General University Funds)
  • WP 2Second funding flow / Research council funding
  • WP 3Third funding flow / Contract research funding from different sources

Fields of science

  • AGRI Agricultural sciences
  • SCI Natural sciences
  • ENG Engineering
  • HEALTH Health sciences
  • ECON Economics
  • LAW Law
  • BEHAV Behavioural sciences
  • HUM Humanities
  • OTH Other

Acronyms of countries

  • AUS Australia
  • AUT Austria
  • BEL Belgium
  • CAN Canada
  • CHE Switzerland
  • CHN  China
  • CZE Czech Republic
  • DEU Germany
  • DNK Denmark
  • ESP Spain
  • FIN Finland
  • FRA France
  • GBR (UK) United Kingdom
  • GRC Greece
  • IRL Ireland
  • ISL Iceland
  • ITA Italy
  • JPN Japan
  • KOR Korea
  • LUX Luxembourg
  • NLD Netherlands
  • NOR Norway
  • POL Poland
  • PRT Portugal
  • SVK Slovakia
  • SVN Slovenia
  • SWE Sweden
  • USA United States