Good research facilities are essential for top research. High-value equipment and research facilities are the source of new science. Once such facilities are present, they often turn out to function as flywheels for new and interesting research topics. Therefore NWO structurally invests in high-value equipment and data collections.
In addition, the NWO institutes make their instruments, facilities and laboratories available for research performed by colleagues both at home and abroad. With this approach, NWO strengthens the infrastructure of scientific institutions in the Netherlands.
NWO invests considerably in research facilities from a national and international perspective. For this, such questions as 'which facilities does the Netherlands require?' and ‘what sort of access to facilities abroad is essential to Dutch science?’ are paramount. In various roles, NWO enables access to advanced facilities: as a research council, as the manager of eight national research institutes and as an adviser in national and international strategic choices. NWO focuses on Dutch participation in very large-scale international facilities.
NWO institutes as gateways
The NWO institutes facilitate research by colleagues at home and abroad by developing instruments and by making facilities available. This may involve observatories with unique telescopes, a laboratory for research at the nanometre scale, a climatological chamber for oceanic research, or unique research material concerning criminality. The institutes play an important role as gateways to international research facilities.
Equipment and data collections
NWO also makes money available to universities, research institutes and libraries so that they can purchase or develop high-value equipment themselves and so that they can set up, link and enrich data collections. Important funding instruments for this include the National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Facilities and NWO Investment Grant Large and NWO Investment Grant Medium.
The Permanent National Committee for Large-scale Scientific Infrastructure
The permanent national committee for large-scale scientific infrastructure is housed at NWO. The committee's assignment is to draw up a landscape analysis of the available research facilities and the need for these. The availability of facilities abroad is considered emphatically. In addition, the committee will draw up the National Roadmap for Large-scale Research Facilities using broadly supported strategic frameworks. This roadmap consists of existing facilities and new requirements for facilities of considerable importance to Dutch science. As such it forms the framework for the allocation of resources that NWO has available for large-scale research facilities.