Companies and knowledge institutes need each other
Contrary to what is sometimes thought, innovation is not the same as conducting research. Research may lead to innovation, but seldom linearly, with the knowledge institute in the role of the sender of information and the industry in the role of receiver. In reality, both need each other and learn from each other. This interaction is of vital importance for both knowledge institutes and companies. Innova Connect stimulates the mutual exchange between companies and knowledge institutes, with a keen eye and respect for everyone’s interests.

Inspiration and implementation
Innovation is closely connected with creativity. Creating something new, that does not yet exist, requires a healthy dose of imagination. To allow new ideas to bubble up, time is needed; and space to be able to do something with these new ideas. There is often a lack of attention for one of the two: due to the hustle and bustle of daily business, there is no time to think about innovations; or enthusiastic ideas are generated but never turned into reality. Wherever your innovation process may falter, Innova Connect offers practical solutions.

Encounter between disciplines
There is something unpredictable about Innovation. Because most innovations arise at the intersection of different disciplines, many discoveries are the result of chance encounters. However, coincidence can be helped by arranging such encounters. Innova Connect offers this in the form of matchmaking, innovation inspiration sessions, and networking events.

Cooperation requires trust
An encounter is not yet cooperation, and cooperation is not synonymous with innovation. Parties that want to work together should not get in each other’s way, have something to offer each other, and above all be able to trust each other. The latter also applies to us: when you do business with Innova Connect, you must be able to trust us that we understand the problem at hand, that we handle it carefully, and that we take constructive steps from which all parties benefit. Innova Connect offers that guarantee.

Above all, innovation implies action. Bringing parties together is just the beginning. The challenge is to have parties work together successfully. In order to create innovations with positive societal impact. That is the mission of Innova Connect!


Clements Stolk

Clemens Stolk, founder
After graduating from Wageningen University, Clemens gained experience in science (Wageningen University, 1997-2002), business (trade association Plantum, 2002-2008), and consultancy (consultancy firm Schuttelaar & Partners, 2008-2014). In Innova Connect (2014) these three lines have come together.

Since 2014, Clemens has carried out assignments for more than 30 organizations in the Netherlands and abroad, always at the intersection of science and society. Clemens is energized by helping to increase the societal impact of science and technology. After all, it is Clemens’ conviction that innovation is badly needed, given the sustainability challenges we face as a society.

Stefan van der Heijden

Stefan van der Heijden, associate partner
Stefan has extensive experience in leading agricultural and horticultural companies, where he served as R&D director (Royal Van Zanten, 2017-2021; Eurofins Agro, 2016-2017), global research director and member of the Board of Directors (Barenbrug Group, 2004-2015), or as Research Director and Member of the Board of Directors (Cebeco Seeds Group, 1998-2004).

Throughout his career, Stefan has operated successfully at the interface between research and practice. Stefan has also been very active in policymaking, especially with regard to research and knowledge development. Until recently, he was a board member of Foundation TKI Horticulture & Propagation Materials and of relevant committees at trade association Plantum.  In addition, he has served as a member of the Supervisory Board and scientific advisor at the Institute for Pig Genetics (IPG) and Topigs from 2001 to 2016. Stefan has a very extensive international network within both plant sciences and agribusiness. Since 2015, Stefan has also been active as an agribusiness consultant.


We have no vacancies at the moment. Does our vision appeal to you, and would you like to make a contribution to Innova Connect? Then we would like to get in touch with you. In that case, please send your CV and motivation letter to There may be a vacancy in the near future.

Others about us

  • Eliezer Edelstein, BiomicAgritech
    BiomicAgritech has developed a new method for growing trellised vegetables. Clemens and Stefan from Innova Connect assisted and guided us in examining and introducing the method to the Netherlands. For a startup, it is very difficult to find mentors who do their job willingly and for a reasonable price. In Clemens and Stefan from Innova Connect we have found not only excellent mentors but mainly friends.
  • Michiel Roelse, operational director TKI Horticulture & Propagation Materials
    Innova Connect has carried out various assignments for Topsector Horticulture & Propagation Materials in an excellent manner, including a scientific analysis of the project portfolio, an evaluation of a large breeding program, and an impact assessment, with always concrete, useful results. Innova Connect is also an important player in our Impact2025 program (event programming, innovation brokerage). The contacts with Clemens and Stefan are always pleasant and professional and we look forward to further cooperation.
  • Prof. dr. ir. Wim van der Putten, NIOO-KNAW
    I needed support to link my research ideas to potential private partners and felt I was narrowing down too much. Clemens helped me in widening the scope, connecting to a substantial variety of potential partners, identifying their research needs, and translating those into a proposal that was complete and submitted well in time.
  • Sander van Golberdinge, Grodan
    Since 2016, Innova Connect has repeatedly delved into the scientific literature for Grodan on specific topics about which we wanted to know more. Innova Connect always quickly provided us with an accessible overview of the facts, the significance of these facts for us, and opportunities for further innovation.