List of projects National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Facilities 2013

The National Roadmap for Large-Scale Research Facilities programme encourages the establishment or improvement of large research facilities with which the Netherlands can assume an important position internationally.

Dutch contributions to the detector upgrades of the Large Hadron Collider experiments at CERN
KM3NeT: the next generation neutrino telescope:

The LHC is the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. The LHC experiments are expected to clarify some of mankind’s most intriguing mysteries:

  • What is the Universe made of?
  • How does it work?

Anticipated breakthroughs are: elementary-particle masses (Higgs); matter-antimatter asymmetry (CP-violation); and dark matter (supersymmetry). This proposal aims to get LHC-detector upgrades (including the Dutch grid-compute centre NL/Tier-1) on the National Roadmap, thereby securing the present excellent position of Dutch physicists to exploit the LHC discovery potential.

Proteins@Work; A large-scale proteomics research facility for the life sciences

Proteomics entails the large scale analysis of proteins and their interactions in relation to their biological function. Following technical and scientific breakthroughs, proteomics has matured, becoming integrated with genetic information and clinical data. The „Proteins@Work' proteomics facility will provide access to high level proteomics technology, equipment and expertise for the Dutch biological and biomedical communities. The facility will be crucial for Life Sciences and Health research and will contribute to the innovative climate in the Netherlands.


NL-OPENSCREEN makes small molecule screening available to Life Science researchers. This will considerably enhance the impact of biomedical research while it will give the commercialization of fundamental research results a major push. Traditional pharmaceutical industry invests less in the development of innovative medicines and this creates novel opportunities for basic Life Science researchers. NL-OPENSCREEN will provide the link that is currently missing in the Netherlands to turn basic research into novel therapies.

NL-BioImaging Advanced Microscopy

During the past 10 years a revolution took place in advanced microscopy. These developments enable scientists, for the first time, to directly see bio-molecules at work in single living cells. Major breakthroughs in life sciences can be expected based on the knowledge extracted from cells. NL BioImaging AM proposes to invest in a distributed advanced microscopy infrastructure in the Netherlands to consolidate and expand our international position. Our initiative is directly linked to and firmly embedded within the European ESFRI program Euro-BioImaging.

The Generations and Gender Programme: A Large-Scale, Longitudinal, Comparative Database for Social Science Analysis

The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) collects and distributes information on how relationships between the young and old and men and women in Europe are changing. This information is used to better understand the causes and consequences of inequalities between generations and genders. The current grant will be used to collect new information in the Netherlands, to improve the quality of the information that is collected across Europe, and to develop methods to reduce the costs of collecting that information.

Further implementation and development of the MESS Project

The MESS project facilitates data collection across disciplines in the social and life sciences. Core element is a representative Internet panel of 8,000 individuals. Data are collected monthly through surveys, experiments, and innovative devices, e.g. smartphones, biomarkers (measuring blood pressure, physical activity, etc.). A major part of the requested investment will be used to ensure the continued measurement of the longitudinal core study, include hard-to-reach groups, and implement new measurement approaches. Data are freely available for academic researchers.

An ultra-high field NMR facility for the Netherlands (uNMR-NL)

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) and Imaging (MRI) exploit the magnetic properties of atoms. NMR is applied to understand the causes of disease and to discover new medicines, to develop new battery and solar cell materials and to improve crop production and food quality. High sensitivity and resolution are essential and can be reached using strong magnets in the instruments. A facility will be set up featuring new magnets that are stronger than ever used before in NMR and MRI, opening entirely new avenues for research.

The European Marine Biological Resource Centre Netherlands; EMBRC-NL

The European Marine Biological Resource Center Netherlands will be a distributed national facility that provides access to marine organisms and model systems and their genomic information. It will be used by biologists in the Netherlands, Europe and elsewhere for fundamental marine research and exploration for applications in the areas of environment, life sciences, food and health. With this facility we will be able to complement and participate in the European Marine Biological Resource Centre if the ESFRI European roadmap 2010.

The SAFARI Imaging Spectrometer on the SPICA space observatory; revealing the origins of the universe, from planets to galaxies and beyond

The far-infrared imaging spectrograph SAFARI on the Japanese space telescope SPICA will provide the most sensitive view ever of the cool, obscured universe. SPICA and SAFARI will charter new territory by peering deep into the obscured centres of distant galaxies and by quantifying star formation over cosmic time, giving a better understanding of our own Milky Way. SAFARI will also map young planetary systems and provide answers to the formation history of our own solar system.

Systems Biology Natural Technology Facility

SYMBIONT is a facility to design microbiological processes to make fine and bulk chemicals and other products out of plants, algae, micro-organisms and residual organics. For this, a complex large-scale high-throughput microbiological facility will be built in Wageningen and Delft. Microbial reactors will be connected to a network of online analytical tools, in which talented researchers can design new efficient microbial processes. The scientific breakthroughs are new process principles for food, chemical and environmental industries relying on biomass as resource.

Netherlands Solid Earth Observatory (NSEO)

The mission of the Netherland Solid Earth Observatory (NSEO) is to undertake scientific research that serves societal needs for supply of natural resources, and for protection and warning against natural disasters on a national to global scale. NSEO research is directly relevant to the stability and safe utilisation of the Dutch subsurface, addressing natural and human induced earthquakes, sea level change, geothermal energy, subsurface storage of gas and CO2, (nuclear) waste disposal, and the future construction of large (subsurface) infrastructure.


ICOS-NL will monitor the Greenhouse Gas Balance of the Netherlands with unprecedented resolution using advanced measurements and computer models. Within the European ICOS infrastructure, ICOS-NL will provide the Carbon Data Portal, which will use advanced eScience data technology to distribute the European measurement data and value-adding products. This open infrastructure will enable fast progress in the field of greenhouse-gas science. Fast progress is needed to better understand Climate Change and its interactions with human society and the Earth system.

Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis

The Netherlands is uniquely positioned to excel in systematic and biodiversity research. The Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis houses the world's fifth natural history collection dedicated to unraveling and understanding the Tree of Life, and to educating people about our environment, illustrating this vibrant research area. We will upgrade our DNA barcoding efforts on the native wildlife and advance our state-of-the-art sequencing endeavors towards understanding the genetic basis of traits useful for societal issues, such as food and human health.

Mouse Clinic for Cancer and Aging research (MCCA) (online april 2014)

The ageing population in developed countries leads to rapid increase in cancer incidence and other aging-related disorders. To accelerate cancer and aging research and to contribute to the theme of ‘healthy aging’, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and the European Research Institute for the Biology of Aging (ERIBA) have established a Mouse Clinic for Cancer and Aging research (MCCA). The MCCA will accelerate development of realistic mouse models that may be used for developing new therapies against cancer and aging-related diseases.


LifeWatch enables scientists to answer fundamental questions on the functioning and resilience of ecosystems and develops knowledge and innovative solutions for professionals active in the planning and management of our living environment. LifeWatch is a European infrastructure for biodiversity research that allows integration of data from (inter-)national research projects, monitoring data of governmental agencies, and modern observation methods (satellites, sensor networks, DNA sequencing). The Netherlands leads and hosts the LifeWatch Research and Innovation Center (

Netherlands Center for Nanoscopy (NeCEN)

The Netherlands Centre for Electron Nanoscopy (NeCEN) is the national research facility for high resolution cryo-transmission electronmicroscopy in the Netherlands. It provides the means to resolve and characterise the detailed structures of life. NWO and EFRO (European Regional Development Fund) have both contributed to NeCEN's financing. Both organisations aim to stimulate the production, dissemination, and use of scientific knowledge and other scientific interactions. NWO provides the necessary, independent peer review of research proposals which require beam time at NeCEN, in order to provide equal access for proposals of the highest scientific quality.

CLARIAH - Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities

Rapid digitization of massive quantities of formerly analogue sources (text, images and audio visuals) for research is revolutionizing the humanities. Top-quality humanities scholarship of today and tomorrow is therefore only possible with the use of sophisticated ICT tools. CLARIAH aims to offer humanities scholars, from literary researchers to historians and from archeologists to linguists, a ‘Common Lab’ that provides them access to large collections of digital resources and innovative user-friendly processing tools, thus enabling them to carry out ground-breaking research.

High Field Magnet Laboratory An international research facility for Science in High Magnetic Fields in the Netherlands

The High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) in Nijmegen produces the highest continuous magnetic fields. HFML is very successful with innovative research on new materials like Nobel prize winning graphene, attracts many excellent researchers to the Netherlands, and stimulates innovation. The materials of tomorrow are tested in the highest available magnetic fields of today! HFML provides a unique tool to do research on new materials, and give the Netherlands a unique opportunity to establish a prestigious international facility within its borders.

Next steps for the National e-Infrastructure for Research

In every research field, there is a rapidly increasing demand for highly advanced ICT facilities, as well as the supporting scientific methods and tools to enable their use. In its 2008 Roadmap proposal to NWO, Towards a National ICT Research Infrastructure, SURF therefore proposed to create a national ICT infrastructure for research (or e-Infrastructure), providing advanced technical facilities, generic services for research, and associated user support. Since then, SURF and its partners have made significant progress in creating the e-Infrastructure. However, demand is also increasing and there is an urgent need for additional investments in a supercomputer (capability computing), grid computing (capacity computing), and data storage.

Towards a consolidated Dutch Biobanking Hub, integrating the Dutch Biobanking Infrastructure in the European ESFRI Roadmap

There is a growing recognition that in order to respond to modern-day issues like ageing and wide-spread diseases, far more knowledge of what causes diseases and what may help prevent or treat them is necessary. Biobanks, large collections of for instance data, tissue and blood, are the foundation for research that may enhance our quality of life in years to come. BBMRI-NL, String of Pearls Initiative and LifeLines aim to build and expand an infrastructure of accessible, compatible biobanks.

SHARE - Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe

Population aging is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. The SHARE project collects data to understand the situation of the elderly. SHARE has already been fielded in four waves. In this proposal, we apply for funding six additional waves. This allows for greatly extended possibilities to evaluate how the elderly are affected by policy reforms that address problems related to ageing. The statistical possibilities to make reliable conclusions will be greatly enhanced compared to the current situation.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a large, distributed and highly innovative radio-telescope that will allow astronomers to probe the early phases of the universe, and to gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. The Netherlands is one of the initiators of the SKA and has been leading the R&D in aperture array technology, where many small antennas and smart computers replace large traditional dishes. This technology was first used in the LOFAR telescope and is also due to be deployed on the WSRT-APERTIF system.

EATRIS-NL: Shaping the Netherlands' Infrastructure for Translational Biomedical Research

The shift towards personalized medicine requires better translation of fundamental insights in the molecular biology of disease into impactful healthcare solutions. EATRIS-NL focuses on imaging infrastructure for early detection, better prognosis and prediction, and more efficient drug development and treatment. This research is multi-disciplinary and builds on existing strengths of Dutch translational imaging networks, aiming to bring them to the next level of excellence. Funds will be allocated for high-end open access infrastructure for the scientific community and third parties.

Population Imaging Infrastructure in the Netherlands (EPI2): A node of EuroBioImaging

Population imaging is large-scale acquisition and analysis of medical images in large human cohorts. It aims to find new imaging markers that can predict later development of disease and can be used for prevention. The Netherlands is strong in population imaging and should take the lead in the European Population Imaging Infrastructure (EPI2). For this, we will create a unique infrastructure of dedicated, state-of-the-art population imaging facilities and data-processing capacity, enhancing the Dutch science position and benefitting industry and society.

Netherlands Silicon Solar Cell Laboratory; Exploring the frontiers of silicon photovoltaics

Photovoltaics (PV), the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity, is a key technology for our future, clean, independent and sustainable energy system. It offers the possibilities of low-cost, environmentally friendly energy production, and almost unlimited energy potential. In the past 20 years, the Netherlands has acquired a prominent global position in this highly competitive field of technology. To strengthen this position and benefit economically from the rapid growth of the global PV sector, ECN, FOM-AMOLF and TUD-DIMES have teamed up to initiate a national laboratory for silicon photovoltaics that will carry out an integrated research program focusing on breakthrough improvements of silicon solar cells. This facility (total investment €19.910.000) covers the entire knowledge chain from fundamental research to technology development. It will provide the research base for 100 scientists at the partner institutes and a large number of external users. Technology development will be carried out together with the Dutch PV equipment industry and with Dutch solar cell and module manufacturers.

European Social Survey in the Netherlands (ESS-NL)

The European Social Survey (ESS) is a world-class resource for researchers, politicians, policy analysts and the public. Since 2001-2002, the ESS has measured changes in social attitudes and behavior in more than 30 countries. Using cutting-edge approaches to comparative research and training of researchers, it produces biennial data of pan-European relevance. Researchers from the Netherlands have been at the forefront of the ESS from the very beginning. The ESS has established itself as an indispensable infrastructure for social and political research.


NanoLabNL is the national large-scale facility for nanotechnological research offering the use of its facilities and expertise to universities, research institutes, start-up companies and industry at four locations in the Netherlands. The NanoLabNL locations in Twente, Delft, Eindhoven and Groningen complement one another in their fields of activity and expertise, and offer the widest possible spectrum of nanotechnology facilities for use by researchers in the Netherlands. Each of the NanoLabNL locations offers a range of basic and expert techniques.

KM3NeT: The next generation neutrino telescope

The prime objective of this proposal is the scientific capitalization of the next generation neutrino telescope: KM3NeT. Unlike traditional telescopes, KM3NeT will detect neutrinos and not light. The detection of neutrinos from the cosmos will break new grounds in the study of various frontier questions in science such as those related to the origin of cosmic rays, the mechanism of astrophysical particle acceleration and the birth of relativistic jets in the Universe.

Instrumentation for the E-ELT

Technological developments enable astronomers to build the ~40-m diameter European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). It will produce super sharp images, comparable to image an astronaut on the Moon. Dutch astronomers together with national technology institutes and industry will take the leading role in the development, design and construction of METIS, an innovative mid-infrared imager and spectrometer for the E-ELT. Astronomers will use it to unravel the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars and planets from the early Universe until today.