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Key Enabling Technologies

Key Enabling Technologies

Digitisation and information technology are key drivers of innovation and economic growth in the Netherlands. Many major societal challenges, such as the energy transition, the circular economy and healthcare will require a lot of new technology in the short term. 

This page features the seven promising key enabling technologies of Top Sector ICT.


Frits Grotenhuis


Topsector ICT

Key enabling technologies (KETs) are specific technologies considered crucial for economic growth, competitiveness and innovation. Seven KETs have been identified within Top Sector ICT:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Science, data analytics and data spaces
  • Cybersecurity technologies
  • Software technologies and computing
  • Digital Connectivity Technologies
  • Digital Twinning and Immersive technologies
  • Neuromorphic technologies

The above technologies have in common that they develop themselves at lightning speed and have a wide range of applications. They are the backbone for innovation and growth, driving the development of new products, processes or services. In addition, KETs have a disruptive impact on existing industries and sectors, and there is a long-term impact on the way we live, work, learn and innovate. Finally, KETs often do not exist in isolation and there are connections with other technologies and disciplines.

Mission-oriented innovation

With the Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy (MTIB), the Dutch government is challenging business, science, civil society organisations and new players to work together on solutions to key issues. A total of five central missions have been defined:

  • Energy transition: The Netherlands climate neutral by 2050;
  • Circular economy: The Netherlands fully circular by 2050;
  • Health & Care: That people in the Netherlands live 5 years longer in good health and there are 30% fewer health disparities between socio-economic groups by 2040;
  • Agriculture, Water and Food: A vital countryside and resilient nature in a climate-proof Netherlands. Water and soil are guiding aspects, the agriculture and food system is sustainable and healthy, and the delta is safe;
  • Security: The Netherlands is secure and resilient against external threats and undermining crime, both in the physical environment and the digital domain.

Working on solutions to these issues is costly and time-consuming. Companies, scientists, the government and as many new challengers as possible are working together in public-private partnerships for this purpose. The approach taken by the Netherlands in this regard is unique in the world. Together, the parties will seek breakthrough innovations to develop solutions using the latest science and KETs.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long ceased to be science fiction. AI is everywhere and has a major impact on our daily lives. Just think of virtual assistants and chatbots, such as ChatGPT, Alexa...

More about Artificial Intelligence

Cyber security technologies

Cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to break into and undermine digitised society. If organisations are to continue to rely on secure and robust ICT systems, networks and...

More about Cybersecurity technologies

Data science, data analytics and data spaces

The amount of data we all produce is exploding as everything and everyone is online. Customer data, sales data, medical records, tax returns... all examples of the huge mountain of digital data we ...

More about Data science, data analytics and data spaces

Digital connectivity technologies

Communication networks are driving the digitisation of our society. They are contributing to economic growth in all sectors; from industry and energy to logistics and healthcare. AND they are a cru...

More about Digital Connectivity Technologies

Digital Twinning and Immersive technologies

One of the most exciting and promising developments in our ever-changing and digitising world is the combination of Digital Twinning and Immersive Technologies. This powerful combination has the po...

More on this

Neuromorphic technologies

Neuromorphic technologies are going to revolutionise the digital world. This key enabling technology, also known as cognitive computing, takes the architecture and computational power of ou...

More on this

Software technologies and computing

Software technologies, such as blockchain, cloud, edge, grid, high performance and mobile computing, are going to change the future. This key technology focuses on developing methods and te...

More about Blockchain


Each (top) sector has its own challenges in terms of digitisation and information technology, but there are also many cross-links. A successful application of an innovative solution in one sector can also be of value in other sectors. The aim of top sector ICT is to turn those cross-links into opportunities. Because if these opportunities are better exploited, we can make the best use of innovations in digitisation and information technology in the future too. This not only promotes economic growth in the Netherlands, but also offers solutions to major societal challenges.

More on Societal Challenges
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