Amsterdam streets ahead on research

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The City of Amsterdam is building its future on a foundation of research to create a sustainable knowledge economy, according to a new report.

Mapping Research and Innovation: Understanding Amsterdam’s Competitive Advantage, developed by Elsevier in partnership with the Urban Innovation Network, explores the importance of aligning research with city development policies and provides a macro picture of Amsterdam’s research base.

The report identifies Amsterdam’s specific strengths:

  • Medical research: Amsterdam ranked first and second respectively in terms of relative volume and impact of medical research;
  • Oncology and clinical neurology: Amsterdam has an indisputable strength in medicine; among the eleven cities under comparison, the city’s research community produced 3,693 publications over the past 10 years in oncology, 18 per cent more than the number two ranked city, Stockholm. In clinical neurology Amsterdam's impact was more than twice the world average;
  • Commercialisation of immunology and microbiology: research conducted in these areas is incorporated in patents at a rate of six times above the world average. This indicates that Amsterdam’s research in these areas is leading in terms of global innovation; and
  • Strong growth in computer science: Amsterdam has a growing comparative advantage in computer science. Its output in this field grew by nine per cent per year over the past decade and doubled between 2004 and 2013. This growth trend suggests Amsterdam is developing a world-class base of computer science researchers.

This report draws on Elsevier’s data from Scopus, the world’s largest abstract and citation database, and SciVal analytics to measure and analyse the city’s competitiveness across multiple dimensions. Using Amsterdam as an extended case study, the report provides a holistic view of the city’s research strengths and its efficiency of knowledge transfer and research commercialisation.

The report analyses Amsterdam’s research strengths and benchmarks its performance against 10 other European cities of comparable size and standing, namely: Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, Madrid, Manchester, Stockholm and Vienna. Amsterdam has a strong claim to being one of the top knowledge cities in Europe. Among the peer cities examined its research output per capita is second only to Copenhagen, while the relative impact of its research is the highest. This enables Amsterdam to attract both young knowledge workers that want to live in a highly educated, collegial city and companies seeking to employ such talent.
Kajsa Ollongren, alderperson at the City of Amsterdam, said: 'The report confirms that Amsterdam has an innovative ecosystem which creates jobs, attracts talent, and feeds entrepreneurship. Our ambition is to further develop the city by attracting even more international talent. I’m confident we can rely on our network of world-leading universities, corporate research, and the right infrastructure. Understanding our world-leading strengths will help us develop sustainable and intelligent development strategies to establish a strong foundation for Amsterdam’s future growth.'
'These are challenging times for cities as they look to differentiate themselves in a competitive environment under tough economic conditions,' said Nick Fowler, managing director for research management at Elsevier. 'Our case study of Amsterdam provides many valuable insights for city planners, policy makers, real estate investors, developers and employers. Elsevier’s big data technology enables us to provide these unique insights into the underlying talent and knowledge that are the fabric of a city.'