Directors ENS domain and SSH domain and institutes organisation announced

15 June 2016

With effect from 1 January 2017, Arian Steenbruggen, Dirk-Jan den Boer and Christa Hooijer will be the directors of the Exact and Natural Sciences (ENS) domain, the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) domain and the institutes organisation respectively, of the new NWO. The intended director for the Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW) domain will be announced later at the end of June because the candidate is currently on holiday. The new directors from outside of the organisation will be employed from 1 October 2016 onwards so that they can be involved in the further shaping of the transition and the structure of the new organisation.

Dr G. (Arian) Steenbruggen (1969) will be the new director of the Exact and Natural Sciences (ENS) domain. Since 2012 she has been head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the Environmental Science Group (ESG) of Wageningen UR. In this position she is responsible for the operational and strategic management of the 20 research groups, laboratories and the support facilities. Prior to that (since 2009) she was the head of the Soil Science Centre, at that time one of the five centres of the ESG.

Arian is hardly an unfamiliar face at NWO. Between 1997 and 2004 she worked within the Earth and Life Sciences Division as a senior policy officer. She then transferred to Utrecht University where she was first managing director of the Darwin Centre for Biogeology and later head of research of the Faculty of Geosciences.

After her degrees in environmental sciences, geology and geochemistry she gained her doctorate from the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University for her thesis entitled 'Properties and applications of zeolitized fly ash'.

Outside of her work she is or has been a member of many boards and committees. She is a member of the supervisory board of Stichting Openbaar Onderwijs Houten, was treasurer of the KNGMG, member of the Houten branch board of the Dutch Cancer Society, and for several years she was the chair of a sports club. In addition to this she is active as a role model for VHTO, the Dutch National Expert Organisation on Girls/ Women and Science/Technology, which seeks to increase the participation of girls and women in science technology and ICT.

Dr D.J. (Dirk-Jan) den Boer (1963) will lead the new Social Sciences and Humanities domain. He is currently the operational director of the Faculty of Law at the University of Amsterdam. In recent years his job has focussed on the preparations for a reorganisation. Before his move to the University of Amsterdam, Dirk-Jan was operational director of the Social Sciences Group at Wageningen UR since 2012 and between 2007 and 2012 he was director of the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University. There he was responsible for maintaining the primary process of research and education. He paid particular attention to various operational processes such as accommodation, ICT, finances, HRM, communication, and management and policy support.

Dirk-Jan studied social psychology at the University of Groningen and gained his doctorate in social sciences at the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (now Maastricht University).

He was and is still active in various board positions of organisations related to his own study or the life phases of his children.

Dr C.L.A. (Christa) Hooijer (1972) will from 1 January onwards be the director of the new institutes organisation of NWO and will work on its further design and organisation. Christa is currently the interim director of the FOM Foundation and director of the NWO Division for Physics. Between 2013 and 2015 she was the interim director of the NWO Division for Physics. Between 2000 and 2013 Christa held various positions as programme coordinator at the FOM Foundation. She supported first AMOLF and later Nikhef at a strategic level. She was also responsible for various funding instruments and for FOM congresses. She participated in internal operational management meetings within FOM and NWO from her position in the Research Policy Department of FOM.

Christa studied applied physics at the University of Twente and gained her doctorate in 2001 from VU University Amsterdam for her thesis entitled “Spontaneous emission in dielectric structures”.

She is director of the supervisory board of the Deventer Montessori schools and also goalkeeper of Veterinnen A of the Deventer Hockey Club.

New NWO: new organisation and new governance

With effect from 1 January 2017, the nine divisions that NWO currently consists of will be clustered into four domains, and the number of boards within NWO will be reduced. At the top of the organisation there will be a new Executive Board that will consist of the director, a member for operations and finance, and four scientific members who will also be the directors of the domain boards. The Executive Board will be responsible for the integral strategy and programming of the domains and allocating the budget across the domains. The Executive Board will also determine the long-term basic budgets for the institutes. These changes will enable NWO to position itself more strategically, to increase its decisiveness and organisational capabilities, to deploy funds more flexibly, and to increasingly work with a single coherent programming.


Source: NWO