In 2008 representatives from leading Dutch industry laboratories and academic analytical science and technology groups at universities recognized three major concerns for future innovation and economic growth in The Netherlands: (1) a trend towards application-driven and sector-specific analytical R&D at Dutch universities and a concurrent decline of highly innovative fundamental analytical research, (2) increasingly difficult recruitment, due to a lack of high-quality researchers and technicians at PhD, MSc and BSc (HBO) levels, and (3) the limited sharing of and access to rare, high-end analytical instrumentation. The sense of urgency for COmprehensive Analytical Science and Technology (COAST) was evident.
In the following, critical, step a group of ~60 large industrial companies, SMEs, institutes and university groups committed the initial funding for the development of the COAST Business Plan. This facilitated the formal established and registration of TI-COAST, Top Institute for Comprehensive Analytical Science and Technology, shortly COAST, as an independent foundation in December 2008. The COAST business plan was presented in September 2009 to the national co-ordination body for chemistry (‘RegieGroep Chemie’, RGC). Following the support by the RCG, the Ministry of economic affairs and the national science foundation NWO granted the TA-COAST R&D program. This was the first step in the realization of the COAST business plan.
Since 2011 COAST has been organizing and coordinating public-private research and innovation programs and extracurricular education programs for talented students. Form the start, COAST also co-founds and participates in projects that set out to develop unique high-end analytical research facilities.