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Providing a global stage for Dutch Science based startups

We are excited to announce that the applications for the 4th edition of the Academic Startup Competition are open!

The Academic Startup Competition is the place to be for Dutch academic entrepreneurs to compete for a spot in the top 20 of the most promising upcoming science based startups in the Netherlands 23/24. By winning the competition you will be provided access to various peer-2-peer sessions with investors, experienced founders and experts. You will receive a national stage through media coverage and networking events. Also, you will be invited to join us at global networking events such as Hello Tomorrow in Paris and travel with us to the USA.  

So are you an academic spin-off or do you have a strong partnership with any of the Dutch research institutes? Do you have at least two founders and raised initial funding? Do you have a strong technical foundation or are you a social based science disrupting outdated systemic processes?

Find out if you are one of the Dutch top 20 most promising academic startups of 23/24 and apply now, before November 10th 2023.

The ASC Timeline

The winners of 2022

Eligibility Criteria

  • You are a registered commercial or impact startup originated from scientific knowledge connected to Dutch Universities, University Medical Centers or Research Institutes
  • Founders have not won the Academic Startup Competition Award in previous editions
  • Your startup registration at the C.o.C. is between 0-3 years
  • Based on a new technology, a scientific discovery, a complex engineering process or a new disruptive systemic process
  • Addressing an industrial, societal or environmental unmet need or creating a new market within the 8 defined technology domains (see impact domains)
  • Composed of a team of at least 2 members
  • Not a subsidiary or spin-off of an existing company

Focus Impact Domains of the ASC

Within the Academic Startup Competition we are mainly interested in startups with solutions falling in one of eight impact domains. The competition itself will not have a specific domain focus. We will support you on topics that are interesting for all founders, irrespective of the domain you are in. For more focussed missions for each of these domains, please have a look at the website of the Dutch EZK.

Overall Focus Impact Domains Participants

Health & Wellbeing – Empowering Lives Through Innovation: 

Are you the visionary mind behind cutting-edge solutions that revolutionize healthcare? Do you have the power to transform lives? Join the ASC! We are looking for innovators whose  innovative ideas could redefine patient care, advance medical technologies, and improve overall well-being. Be the hero who brings about medical breakthroughs, ensuring healthier and happier lives for people around the world. Your startup could hold the key to a brighter, healthier future.

Agriculture, Food & Water – Nourishing the World with Innovation: 

Are you the changemaker striving to address the global challenges of food security and sustainability? Are you the hero who shapes the future of nourishment?  Join the ASC! We are looking for innovators In the Agriculture, Food & Water sector. Your revolutionary ideas could optimize farming practices, ensure water conservation, and foster a resilient food supply chain. Join us to create a world where everyone has access to safe, nutritious food, and where your innovation saves the day for both people and the planet.

Energy Transition – Powering Change with Sustainable Innovation: 

Are you the trailblazer leading the charge towards a cleaner, greener future? Are you the hero who drives the transformation to sustainable energy sources? Join the ASC! We are looking for heroes in the energy transition field!  Your visionary ideas could accelerate the shift to renewable technologies, combat climate change, and ensure energy access for all. Join us to reshape the energy landscape and be the driving force behind a more sustainable and vibrant world. Your startup could be the beacon of light in the transition to a brighter tomorrow.

Sustainability Transition – Leading the Change Towards a Sustainable Future: 

Are you the driving force behind creating a world that thrives on sustainability? Are you the hero who champions clean, carbon-neutral, circular, and climate-conscious practices? Does your solution makes this world clean, green and circular? Join the ASC! We are looking for innovators driving the sustainability transition! Your innovative ideas could redefine industries, combat climate change, and reshape the way we live! Be the change-maker who sparks a transformation towards a more sustainable, greener future for all. Your startup could be the beacon of hope in the journey towards a planet-friendly tomorrow.

Secure Society – Safeguarding Tomorrow’s Frontiers: 

Are you the guardian of digital and physical security? Are you the protector of personal and corporate safety? Join the ASC! We are looking for innovators In the Secure Society sector. You can be the hero who protects our interconnected world. Your groundbreaking solutions could defend against cyber threats, ensure digital privacy, and enhance physical safety. Join us to create a safer future where individuals, organizations, and societies thrive without fear. Your startup could be the fortress that secures the foundation of modern society.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusive Society – Forging a Harmonious Tomorrow: 

Are you the advocate for an inclusive and equitable society? Are you the one who steps up for inequality? Join the ASC! We are looking for innovators with solutions focussing on Equality, Diversity, and making a more Inclusive Society, and become the hero who fosters unity and empowerment. Your transformative initiatives could break barriers, bridge gaps, and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Be the catalyst who creates a world where diversity is celebrated and opportunities are accessible to all. Your startup could drive the change towards a society that embraces and uplifts every individual.

Smart Industry (4.0) – Shaping the Future of Industry: 

Are you the innovator who envisions a smarter and more efficient industrial landscape? Join the ASC! we are looking for innovators focussing on Smart Industry (4.0) and become the hero who pioneers the next industrial revolution. Your groundbreaking solutions could optimize production processes, increase flexibility, and foster sustainability in value chains. Be the trailblazer who transforms industries and leads the way to a more technologically advanced and environmentally conscious future. Your startup could be the cornerstone of industry evolution.


Smart Urbanisation / Cities – Building Tomorrow’s Urban Landscapes: 

Are you the architect of smart, connected, and sustainable cities? Join the ASC! Within the domain of Smart Urbanisation , you can be the hero who shapes urban landscapes for the better. Your visionary ideas could enhance urban mobility, improve infrastructure, and create livable spaces for all residents. Join us in creating cities that are technologically advanced, environmentally friendly, and cater to the needs of diverse communities. Your startup could be the blueprint for smarter, more resilient urban living.



Have a look at the Grand Finale of the Academic Startup Competition 2022.


Curious what others gained out of the competition? Watch their stories and an impression of the 2020 edition.

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