Utrecht University to participate in Royal NIOZ

13 January 2015

Utrecht University and NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, an institute of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), are going to intensify their collaboration on teaching and research in the fields of water and climate. In addition, Utrecht University is going to contribute 2.4 million euros annually to NIOZ. On 13 January, NWO, NIOZ and Utrecht University signed the collaboration agreement.

The NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is the national oceanographic institution for the Netherlands.

Marjan Oudeman, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University, is pleased with the close collaboration: ‘It enhances the knowledge infrastructure in this field in the Netherlands. Participation in Royal NIOZ is an enormous boost for the body and international appeal of Utrecht research in the field of Sustainability, but also in other main areas of research, such as Future Deltas and Future Food. We can create a strong, international profile by combining our expertise. Jos Engelen, NWO chairman, says that ‘this collaboration shows that NWO institutes, such as NIOZ, can help universities to position themselves internationally in fields such as water and climate that are important to society’. NIOZ director Henk Brinkhuis says: ‘NIOZ will be able to develop important, new fields of marine science thanks to the university’s annual contribution. This will help NIOZ to enhance its national and independent role as an NWO institute’.

Excellent Education and Research

Utrecht University stands out as an international research university in fields including the strategic theme Sustainability. This involves leading research into fields such as climate and marine ecosystems. The university also offers various BSc and MSc programmes in these fields, and earlier this year it even started a new interdisciplinary programme, Marine Sciences, unique to the Netherlands. NIOZ is the Dutch oceanographic institute, managing the national research facilities for seagoing research. It has an internationally leading position in the field of marine sciences and it conducts both fundamental and applied research in order to acquire knowledge about estuaries, seas, and oceans. NIOZ offers teaching facilities and a stimulating environment for talented students from Utrecht University, whilst expertise from Utrecht enhances NIOZ research.

Photograph: (from left to right) Jos Engelen, NWO chairman, Marjan Oudeman, President of the Executive Board of Utrecht University, and Harry Baayen, chairman of the NIOZ board.

Strengthening Long-Term Collaboration

The two knowledge institutions have been collaborating in the fields of marine and climate sciences over 25 years. This collaboration will now be given a big boost so that top scientists and research groups from NIOZ and Utrecht University can use each other’s labs and other facilities. A number of NIOZ top scientists also hold chairs at Utrecht University, including Prof. Jaap Sinninghe Damsté, a Spinoza Prize laureate who in 2014 won the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences. Last year, a team of scientists from both Utrecht and NIOZ was awarded a 28-million-euro grant as part of the Gravitation Programme by Minister Bussemaker for the Netherlands Earth System Science Centre. NIOZ is one the eight NWO institutes.

Source: NWO