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New Babylon in The Hague, head office of TNO since 2015
|Motto||Innovation for life|
|Purpose||applied and contract research|
|Headquarters||The Hague, Netherlands|
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO; English: Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) is an independent research organisation in the Netherlands that focuses on applied science.
The organisation also conducts contract research, offers specialist consulting services, and grants licences for patents and specialist software. TNO tests and certifies products and services, and issues an independent evaluation of quality. Moreover, TNO sets up new companies to market innovations.
TNO was established by law in 1932 to support companies and governments with innovative, practicable knowledge. As a statutory organisation, TNO has an independent position that allows to give objective, scientifically founded judgments. It is similar to the German Fraunhofer Society and, to a lesser degree, CSIRO in Australia. Furthermore, TNO also held 10% of the Austrian research centre Joanneum Research from 2004 to 2014.
TNO fulfils the role of innovator on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, and the Geological Survey of the Netherlands. In these cases, TNO is entrusted with government responsibilities related to defence and security, workforce participation and the Geological Survey.
TNO's strategy is based on technological advances and trends in society. The work of TNO is focused on 9 domains which are in line with the challenges and goals of the national economic policy, based on so-called Top Sectors, and with social issues relevant to The Netherlands and Europe.
TNO is a not-for-profit knowledge organisation. In order to ensure continuity the organisation generates a modest profit in order to fund investments, ensure continuity in knowledge development and a sustainable and healthy financial position.
The Early Research Programmes and Shared Innovation Programmes are always funded in part with public funds. The knowledge created in this way is subsequently further developed as part of public-private research with partners; this process is also referred to as "shared-innovation". In addition research results are further developed and applied in contract research, which is fully funded by TNO's customers. Through this process, TNO claims, it brings research closer to the market and actively transfers it through spin-outs and licenses.
TNO is headquartered in The Hague. Other locations include: Delft, Rijswijk, Leiden, Groningen, Helmond, Soesterberg, Utrecht, Zeist and Eindhoven. TNO also has international branch offices in Shin-Yokohama (Japan), Toronto (Canada), Brussels (Belgium), Doha (Qatar), Singapore and Aruba. The locations Hoofddorp and Enschede were closed in 2014.
During World War II, the organisation grew from having an insignificant role to a controlling role in a number of large institutes under the occupation of the Nazis. The Director was Hugo Rudolph Kruyt. As a rector of the University of Utrecht he fired the Jewish professors Ornstein, Roos and Wolff and the Jewish student assistants Fisher, Katz, Pais and Van der Hoeven. He was member of the board of the AKU, which was controlled by the Germans.
In 2006 TNO-ITSEF, a subsidiary organisation of TNO, was criticized for resisting publication of its test reports regarding widely used voting computers in the Netherlands. In the same year a Swiss research group refuted a widely publicized TNO report claiming UMTS radiation is a health hazard. The organisation also received criticism after the evacuation of 200 residents of an Amsterdam housing estate over fears of its structural integrity when the construction had been technically approved by TNO only five months earlier.
In 2018 TNO was criticized for their report about the fireworks disaster in Enschede on 13 May 2000, being accused of committing fraud to disguise the cause of the disaster, according to an investigation by Paul van Buitenen.