Contents Npuls

Want to know what Npuls is about? Read all about the objectives, timeline, focus areas and what Npuls means for you as a learner, education professional or for your educational institution.

These are the objectives of Npuls


  • develop a toolkit, including common facilities, standards, portals, network facilities, process agreements, and implementation supportto facilitattthe agile organisation of educational provision   
  • develop a set of tools, including standards, agreements, and licensing models, as part of the sector-wide ttechnological infrastructure, and implementation support for the sector-wide flexible and accessible provision of digital educational resources
  • facilitate sector-wide cooperation to realise and monitor the cohesion between technical solutions used in education (a joint Technology Infrastructure)  
  • develop a working and ‘active’ Knowledge Infrastructure for sharing and making evidence-informed knowledge about digitisation in education available 
  • conduct research and collect knowledge on the possibilities and effects of digitisation and digital transformation in education  
  • develop a toolkit for enhancing digital skills of learners and lecturers 
  • explore collaborative principles, knowledge and practices in areas that can further improve education now and in the future 

What does the timeframe look like?

Npuls runs over an eight-year period (2023 – 2031). It consists of a start-up phase, a phase 1 (2023 – 2025) and a phase 2 (2025 – 2031). See below what the provisional timeframe looks like for each year.

2022 2023 2024 2025 – 2031
Start-up phase

Award of National Growth Fund grant

Preparation and set-up of the quartermaster phase

Initial exploration for focus areas by experts in coordination teams

– Recruitment and appointment of a programme director and chairman
– Preparation of pilot hubs
– Draft activity plans for programme hubs ready

Fase 0.5: Extension of start-up phase

– Start of official steering committee
– Launch of the new name for the programme, from Digitalisation Impulse Education to Npuls
– Further preparation of the transformation hubs, pilot hubs, ICT infrastructure and knowledge infrastructure by temporary coordinators and project leaders
– Further preparation of the scheme for Centres for Teaching & Learning (CTLs) and research by the Knowledge Infrastructure coordination team
– Recruitment of programme managers and leads for the various programme components
– Start-up of the set-up of advisory groups with learners, lecturers and ICT expertise

Fase 1: Implementation

– Official start of the programme
– Start of implementation of infrastructures
– Start of transformation hubs and pilot hubs
– Announcement procedure, criteria and planning for grant programme Centres for Teaching & Learning (CTLs)
– Launch of research in the transformation hubs and in the knowledge infrastructure component

Open round 1 application for grant scheme CTLs via grant office

Submitting application for Round 1 grant for CTLs

– Allocation of grants (round 1) to educational institutions for CTLs

– Start-up of Centers for Teaching & Learning (awarded in round 1) in educational institutions
– Open round 2 application for subsidy scheme Centers for Teaching & Learning
– Evaluation of functioning, cooperation, coherence and agility of all components
– Evaluation of achieved results of Phase 1 and plans to launch new transformation hubs
– Preparation of plan Phase 2 (2025-2030)

January 2025:
– Submit proposal for Phase 2 to Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Growth Fund

February 2025:
– Award grants (Round 2) to educational institutions for the purpose of Centres for Teaching & Learning

Phase 2 (2025-2031)

In this phase, the organisation and design of the programme will be adjusted where necessary, based on the experience and evaluation of phase 1.
After four years and after eight years, an impact measurement will be carried out by an external agency in addition to an evaluation.

Core per focus area in a paragraph

  • Knowledge hub learning & innovation: A shared knowledge infrastructure plays an important role in the dissemination and utilisation of knowledge in education. This allows us to share valuable insights and experiences with each other and proceed evidence-informed in digital transformation.  
  • Technological infrastructure: With a technological infrastructure, we shape the joint technology landscape in Dutch public further education. We are building a high-quality sectoral technological infrastructure. This will ensure easy and efficient collaboration between institutions and with the labour market, as well as giving substance to the Lifelong Learning Programme.  
  • Agile and efficiently organised education: working towards an agile and efficiently organised education system. A system that cleverly facilitates a wide variety of learning paths and responds quickly and adaptively to the wishes of the learner, the labour market, and social transitions – for both the initial student and the lifelong learner.  
  • Digital educational resources: The Digital Learning Resources Hub ensures that learners and instructors have access to an optimal mix of open, semi-open and purchased digital educational resources.  
  • EdTech: The EdTech pilot hub aims to develop a fully-fledged national EdTech ecosystem. An ecosystem in which educational institutions are independent, supply and demand are matched and EdTech innovations are sustainably secured.   
  • XR: The impact of XR on education is promising. The XR pilot hub is committed to a national technological and knowledge infrastructure, creating XR content that can be used between institutions and jointly defining preconditions to support institutions with the deployment of XR.  
  • Data & AI: The Data and AI pilot hub aims to improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of education (policy) through the responsible use of education data. This will enable learners to smoothly follow their education with personalised guidance and education-on-demand. 

What does this mean for …

Npuls is moving the education sector. This movement is initiating a transformation that should lead to an even better education sector for all involved.

The learner

The education sector focuses on providing education to all learners. That may be a student who has just completed secondary education, but also a professional who has been working for years and needs training of is opting for a career change. Everyone can follow a high-quality, up-to-date pathway that suits their own needs. For some, this may be a learning pathway aimed at obtaining a diploma or degree, while for others it may be a pathway linked to a specific element of the professional context.

The training options, such as diploma or degree-based pathways, short courses and flexible options, are world-class and constantly evolving. As a result, all education on offer is always up-to-date and diverse, and it is tailored to rapidly changing (digital) developments in society and the labour market.

When choosing and following education, every learner has easy access to the range of education offered by institutions. This includes programmes, parts of programmes, and separate tracks. It is also clear to everyone what their options are for flexible implementation of education. Learners can easily search the range of education on offer and register for educational units. They aren’t restricted to studying one (entire) programme or enrol at only one institution. There are no administrative barriers and institutions use safe and reliable technology facilities.

Lecturers and supervisors have up-to-date expertise on (digital) developments and are –themselves- digitally literate. This enables them to offer education on the functional and critical digital skills learners need in their daily lives and career.

The education sector is a collaborative system of institutions jointly facilitating lifelong development. Everyone has a personal learning record with their learning outcomes that is maintained for life.

The educational professional

The quality of education is in the hands of lecturers (teams). They have substantive and pedagogical-didactical responsibility for developing, renewing, and providing education, and for guiding and coaching learners. They renew education continuously and they do so based on knowledge from research and best practices. As a sector, we continuously exchange knowledge about developments in education, the labour market, and society.

Lecturers are offered support and professionalisation through their own institution’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). This gives them access to the broad knowledge network of vocational and education training schools, universities of Applied sciences and research universities. This knowledge is effective because we develop it in the practice of education, labour market, and society with all public and private parties involved.

Besides lecturers, many other professionals are also part of the education sector, such as those responsible for information management, educational organisation, or library facilities. These colleagues also contribute to collaborations in the sector, laying the foundations for solutions that can be used throughout the sector.

The institution

Vocational and education training schools, universities of applied sciences, and research universities are themselves responsible for both teaching and educational organisation and the design of processes of their own institution.

Thanks to the work of the transformation hubs, the institutions have developed strong cooperation. This cooperation is anchored in a sector-wide knowledge and Technology Infrastructure. Every vocational and education training school, university of applied sciences and research university participates in these infrastructures in some way.

Each institution can make use of the knowledge we jointly develop as a sector and each institution ensures that it is well connected within the sector. Thus, processes at an institution are aligned with the sector-wide processes.

All institutions organise their own support and professionalisation of lecturers and staff. In doing so, each institution links up with the sector-wide national knowledge infrastructure that facilitates cooperation and exchange between institutions and keeps developing in that cooperation. Each institution has a Centre for Teaching and Learning that actively contributes to the continuous professionalisation of lecturers.

Such a national infrastructure has also been realised for technology facilities. Each institution has connected its own technology infrastructure to a sector-wide infrastructure, within which national facilities are offered, such as digital identities and safe and secure data exchange. This national infrastructure is a secure and sovereign infrastructure that complies with public values.

By agreeing on sector-wide standards together, we ensure adjustments in the institution’s own processes are easy to realise. Thus, institutions can enter into partnerships more easily. New developments can be quickly integrated and market players can easily join the sector-wide infrastructure. Cooperation and exchange with primary and secondary education is also made easy because the sectors partly use a joint infrastructure. We will also soon be able to cooperate easily at European level. The Netherlands is still fulfilling the guiding role in this area.


Administrators ensure their institution is continuously connected to the entire sector. The sector infrastructures for knowledge and technology are a joint responsibility of all institutions, with SURF taking responsibility for the realisation and management of the technology infrastructure. We have made agreements on how the sectoral knowledge infrastructure will continue to be managed after Npuls ends. The sectoral infrastructures ensure institutions can continue to work on necessary developments, responding to the requirements of the labour market and society, whilst continuing to offer high quality education.

The (role of the) forerunners

Getting on with digitisation and the Acceleration Plan for Educational Innovation with IT are the forerunners of Npuls. Npuls builds on the results of both programmes. What exactly did these programmes entail? let us explain.  

Doorpakken op Digitalisering
Lecturers, staff members and administrators of mbo schools worked together for three years within the national programme Doorpakken op Digitalisering (2019-2022), lecturers, staff members and administrators worked together for three years on digitisation issues that contribute to even better mbo education. The partners of Doorpakken op Digitalisering were Kennisnet, SURF, MBO Raad, SBB, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.   

With all the knowledge gained in the theme teams of Doorpakken op digitalisering and products developed, we can take the next steps for Vocational and Education Training schools, so that we continue to work on digitalisation to organise education in a future-oriented and flexible way. This is something Npuls can build on.  

Want to know what the programme has produced? Check (Dutch only), where you will find all the results of Doorpakken op digitalisering.   

Acceleration plan 
39 research universities and universities of applied sciences worked together from 2019 to 2022 on opportunities that digitisation offers for higher education in the Netherlands. The Acceleration Plan was a collaboration of the Universities of the Netherlands, Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, and SURF.   

In the Acceleration Plan, members worked together in ten teams and working groups on tools, studies, toolkits, projects, and pilots. Some of these pilots continue in Npuls, including the Micocredentials pilot, the Student Mobility pilot, Startup in Residence and the edusources pilot.  

With all the knowledge gained on educational innovation in higher education, we can move forward within Npuls to boost digital transformation in higher education. Would you like to know what the teams produced in these four years? Go to or view the infographic with the results of four years of innovation listed.   

 Curious about the people behind the Acceleration Plan, and how they experienced four years of acceleration? Check out the glossy (Dutch only). 

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