The ‘horticulture innovation system’ challenge solicits white papers on the topic of ensuring that the Dutch horticulture innovation system remains future-proof, and takes into account the impact of emerging technologies in that trajectory. Winners will be given the opportunity to see their contribution made public through the communication media of Topsector Horticulture & Starting Materials.

Subject of the challenge

The world is changing faster than ever. Mega trends such as the environment (sustainability), growing competition, changing consumer behavior, shortages in natural resources, industrial digitization, energy transition and the labor market influence the sector directly and indirectly. If the Dutch horticultural sector wants to maintain its leading position in the future, it must continue to innovate in order to be able to respond quickly to these enormous changes.

But what does that future look like for horticulture? Is it "business as usual" or does the sector have to choose one or more specific domains in which it wants to excel? And how do you determine where you are going to invest in as a sector and / or entrepreneur and which technology plays a key role in this? Are sustainability and circularity important for this? The White Paper Challenge is for individuals or teams of researchers, professors, students, entrepreneurs, etc. who can answer all these questions.

In short: does the Dutch Horticulture & Starting Materials sector want to lead the world across the entire breadth of the agricultural sector, or do we choose specific domains? And on the basis of which criteria are decisions taken, for example, about investments, and how do you define the desired success (read result)? Which technologies play a key role in this or not? To what extent do sustainability and circularity play a role?

The jury

The jury is led by Jan van den Ende, professor of Horticultural Innovation and professor at the Rotterdam School of Management. "The direction in which horticulture is currently developing is essential for the future position of the entire sector. The input from original thinkers from inside or outside the sector can inspire entrepreneurs in their innovation."


 Submission period begins:   1 July 2019
 Submission period ends:  30 September 2019
 Evaluation begins:   1 October 2019
 Evaluation ends:  14 October 2019
 Winners notified:  26 October 2019
 Winners Announced:  1 November 2019

The Prize

The winner is will be rewarded with an amount of € 1,500.

How to enter

An essay may have a maximum of 10 A4 pages. Send your contribution to before September 30th, 2019.

More information

Go directly to the announcement and conditions of the White Paper Challenge:
White Paper Challenge Top Sector Horticulture & Starting Materials

Rules & Selection

The White Paper, not longer than ten (10) pages in length, should educates its audience on improving the Dutch horticulture innovation system, how this challenge can be addressed and what are directions for solutions for the horticulture sector. Dutch as well as English papers will be considered for evaluation. The paper should:

  • Describe the value of the direct-to-consumer approaches to the horticulture sector, and include how changing consumer behavior drives technological innovations;
  • Identify potential gaps and opportunities;
  • Discuss the effectiveness of the solution and the solutions ability to function in the 'real world';
  • This discussion may include implementation and potential performance issues, and cost;
  • implications. Risk analysis and mitigation would be appropriate to include here as wel.