Ask the Community: How do you collaborate with the Ministry of Defence?

A highlight of the May edition of the NL Space Campus Network & Drinks was the “Ask the Community”, where Hugo Leyte from FRONT and Richard van der Vegt from MIND – COMMIT shared their insights on collaborating with the Ministry of Defence for technology startups.

Hugo Leyte (FRONT) addressed the participants with a powerful message: β€œI understand that many of you working in science, especially in space, have chosen your roles to make the world a better place. With the involvement of the Department of Defence, there may be some perceived conflicts with that mission. But I assure you we pursue the same values and goals. With the global situation changing rapidly, we need to work together, and the sense of urgency is enormous. Given this urgency, everyone at the Department of Defence is working to intensify collaboration with the commercial sector, which includes all of you and the scientific community. We’re doing this in many ways simultaneously.”

Two key points that were highlighted in his message:

  1. The Ministry of Defence is a large organization and works in various regions of the Netherlands. Therefore, there are many opportunities with different locations and collaborators. They already have two instruments in place, such as the development agencies and the provinces. These, along with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, can help you intensify collaboration. So, seek out employees and these instruments to start collaborating.
  2. A second route is scoutingβ€”finding new opportunities or threats we need to act on. With a large organisation like the Ministry of Defence, with so many people and specialists, finding the right experts can be challenging, so we also reach out to find interesting new and innovative technologies.

Hugo mentioned: β€œI invite you all to contact Richard, others, or me directly. We are in a short time, but starting a collaboration with Defence in a couple of weeks isn’t easy. Please be patient and take your time but do reach out to us and assist us in our mission’’.

You can reach out to Richard or Hugo by email. Their address is and

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