Contours new NWO announced

14 April 2015

NWO will become more effective, respond more flexibly to developments in science and will strengthen collaboration within science and with society. Today NWO announced the contours of its new governance and organisation. The organisation will have a more efficient structure: the current science divisions and foundations will be clustered into four domains. In the new structure decision taking will concentrated in an Executive Board. Four active scientists will be part of this board and they will also be the chairs of the four domain boards. The new structure is vital step for realising the NWO strategy 2015-2018 that was announced on 13 April 2015.

Effective and flexible NWO

There will be four domains: natural sciences, technical and applied sciences, social sciences and humanities, and health research and medical sciences. Each domain will be managed by active and prominent scientists. The four chairs of the domain boards will be part of the Executive Board which will also have a full-time chair and a director of finances/operations. The management of the NWO institutes will be brought together in a separate management organisation. The office organisation will be linked to the domains and disciplines and at the same time provide space for cross-fertilisation and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Scientists and stakeholders from society will receive more influence on the strategy and policy of NWO via an Advisory Board. Through this NWO will gain in flexibility by better anticipating and responding to developments in science, policy and society. With this new structure NWO will be able to more efficiently realise its core tasks: facilitating quality and innovation in curiosity-driven and thematic scientific research within all disciplines. At the same time the connections among researchers and with the business community and society will be strengthened. 'I am very pleased that within NWO we have achieved agreement about these main contours within a period of two months. With this new governance and organisation NWO can contribute to keeping the Netherlands at the scientific top', says Jos Engelen, chair of the Governing Board of NWO.

Structural connections with active science

In November 2014 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science published the ‘2025 Vision for Science - choices for the future. After the publication of the Vision for Science, concerns arose within the scientific community that NWO would become a bureaucratic entity without direct managerial influence from active scientists. With the structure that has now been announced, the current managers within the NWO organisation feel that a good balance has been achieved between centralised coordination, collaboration and the specific needs of the disciplines. In an initial information meeting, NWO has informed the employees of the various NWO units about the new organisation. Today, the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Sander Dekker, sent the memorandum with the contours for the new organisation to the Dutch House of Representatives.

Structure follows vision and strategy

In the Vision for Science, the Dutch cabinet states that the basic position of Dutch science is good and that the Netherlands may be proud of its science sector and its scientists. However, more collaboration and connections are needed to remain at the scientific top and to further increase the contribution of science to society. This principle has guided the realisation of the NWO strategy 2015-2018 and in turn the new governance and organisation of NWO.

The memorandum about the change to the governance and organisation of NWO can be found on the NWO website.


About NWO

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research is one of the most important science-funding bodies in the Netherlands and ensures quality and innovation in science. Each year NWO invests more than 650 million euros in curiosity-driven research and research related to societal challenges. NWO selects and funds research proposals based on the advice of Dutch and international experts from science and society. NWO encourages national and international collaboration, invests in large-scale research facilities, promotes knowledge utilisation, and manages research institutes. NWO funds more than 5600 research projects at universities and knowledge institutions.

Source: NWO

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